Webber refutes “illegal car” claims

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Montreal. 2012Mark Webber strongly rebuffed claims he and team mate Sebastian Vettel won races with an “illegal” car.

Since Webber’s win in the Monaco Grand Prix the FIA has declared the hole in its floor in front of the rear wheels does not comply with the rules. Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix with the car in the same configuration.

Speaking during today’s Canadian Grand Prix press conference at Webber said: “In relation to winning races with an illegal car, I’m happy to be called lots of things and I’m happy to have criticism about my driving and lots of stuff but I will not take criticism in that respect.

“It really pisses me off to be honest because the car has passed every single technical regulation after the race.

“All of the teams that were against it did not make any protest after Monaco. The car passed the test after Bahrain, the car passed the test after Monaco, and now there has been a clarification on the rule.

“And the rule now is different. We had a car which was legal for the first part of the season. And now the rule has been changed and we’ll start again. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Webber added the team was already planning to remove the hole regardless of the FIA ruling after Canada in Valencia:

“I would not know if the floor is changed or unchanged. So we’re very optimistic the change won’t make much difference at all.

“You won’t believe us but we had some changes for Valencia anyway which included no hole, irrespective of the rule change, so that’s what we were doing.”

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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52 comments on Webber refutes “illegal car” claims

  1. Bernification (@bernification) said on 7th June 2012, 23:56

    I’m not sure here, but I thought a clarification means that the rules were oblique to a point that they needed further explanation- if so, Marks statement is at best disingenuous.
    Had a few teams done the same, then possibly, there may be a case to say that the regulations were too ambiguous, but the fact that everyone else who tried that solution also knew they had to add a slot to comply makes me believe that Adrian has pushed it as far as he can, and got caught out.

    The FIA statement points this out
    “It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas,” the FIA directive declared.

    “We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.

    “If they were permitted the opening part of the second paragraph of Article 3.12.5 (which was added to the regulations at the same time as Articles 3.12.9 and 3.12.10 for 2011) would be superfluous.”

    It’s almost like they are getting the willfull idiot Louis Theroux to interpret the rules.

    Louis- It doesn’t say no guns on the front of the car, errrrm, why do you think that is?

    RBR- Well, if there not EXPRESSLY forbidden…..

    The mass damper was a whole different kettle of fish- during the FIAt ferrari pact for total domination.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 8th June 2012, 0:58

      The mass damper was a whole different kettle of fish- during the FIAt ferrari pact for total domination.

      Actually, the FIA have a habit of changing rules or banning most innovations, regardless of who benefits.

  2. Stretch (@stretch) said on 8th June 2012, 4:55

    I watched this just before- Mark talks about the car here (in his “international” accent) if anyone’s interested:

  3. runforitscooby (@runforitscooby) said on 8th June 2012, 5:28

    It’s great that Mark defended his hole, the scrutineers saw his hole and allowed his hole to be what it is…a hole. Now if Red Bull found a loop hole and created this hole and the hole was deemed legal by the powers that be, I say let the hole do its job and that is being a hole. I’m guessing Finger Boy also had a hole but no one, on the whole is talking about the Vettel hole, if he has a hole he definitely has a finger to plug the above-mentioned hole. Let’s move on from the holes and if anyone else needs a hole ask F1 if their hole is ok before creating a hole. Wholly **** I’m so over holes.

  4. Gerry de C said on 8th June 2012, 7:07

    Ok Ok, grant you the car was deemed ‘LEGAL’ by the FIA for the preceeding races. However, thank God they have owned up now, early in the season and declared the ‘holes’ to be ‘ILLEGAL’ otherwise Red Bull would be romping ahead for the rest of the season with an ‘unfair’ advantage. I’ts amazing that the other constructors didn’t continue to make a fuss!. After all they were correct in their assumptions!!

  5. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 8th June 2012, 11:16

    It’s not quite as cut and dry as Mark is making out here. The rules haven’t changed, simply that the FIA has issued a clarification to say that what Red Bull were doing was wrong. Effectively, Red Bull were using a tricksy interpretation of the rules to create what was in effect an enclosed hole in a part of the car where the rules say there shouldn’t be one. This interpretation was apparently accepted by the FIA, and not simply unnoticed – it has been mentioned several times that the FIA were aware of the interpretation which seemingly allowed this. It also seems that when other teams tried to do the same thing, they were told no. Hence why the likes of Sauber and Ferrari are using slots rather than holes.

    Now, Mark is right in one sense. Red Bull didn’t win races because they had an illegal car. The performance difference between using a fully enclosed hole, and using a slot, is so tiny that it almost can’t be measured. Their performance in those races did not come from this hole, and they wouldn’t likely have gone any slower without it. However, despite it not giving a significant performance advantage, there is still a good reason to protest, and ensure that the interpretation is denied; specifically because if that interpretation can be applied to that part of the car, then it could equally be applied to other places, such as other areas of the floor. If that loophole were allowed, then there could be the potential to open up areas allowing for something similar to a double diffusor again. That, obviously, can’t be allowed, and I wonder if this was more a case of Red Bull ‘testing the water’ to see if their interpretation would be accepted.

    From a competitive perspective, of course, to protest their victories would be churlish and petty, and only damage the reputation of the team protesting. But to say that the car was legal, and that the rules were changed to make it illegal, is not true. And this is where it gets a bit messy, because potentially, even though the eligibility to be classified in individual races can’t be disputed as such, other teams do still have the ability to appeal the legality of the cars for those events. And they’d probably have a fair chance of succeeding. Hopefully nobody will, but I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of ‘holegate’.

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