No penalty for Red Bull over engine map

2012 German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012Red Bull will not be penalised over their engine torque maps ahead of the German Grand Prix.

“The stewards received a report from the FIA technical delegate, along with specific ECU data from Red Bull Racing cars one and two. The stewards met with the team representatives and the representative of the engine supplier Renault.

“While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not break the text of article 5.5.3 of the Formula One Technical Regulations and therefore decide to take no further action.”

The decision confirms both Red Bull drivers will start the race with Sebastian Vettel second and Mark Webber eighth on the grid.

2012 German Grand Prix

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80 comments on No penalty for Red Bull over engine map

  1. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:13

    Wow, just wow. FIA are incompetent fools. Still not as ridiculous as their decision on Michelin midway 2003 but this obviously shows that Red Bull get away with a lot. I hope to god Alonso wins the championship this year, today it’s became obvious Red Bull don’t deserve it.

  2. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:17

    It is in breach of the technical regulations the FIA wanted to write, not the one they’ve actually written. Conclusion: It is not a breach of any technical regulation.
    It might be in the future though after a clarification..

    A stupid comparison would be the FIA writing you’re not allowed to drive 80mph in the pitlane during a GP weekend, and for Red Bull to serve a drive-through penalty blasting through the pits at 160mph, saying but “we didn’t drive 80mph” and the FIA saying “but we wanted to say you weren’t allowed to drive 80mph or faster.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:20

      The FIA can only prosecute teams based on the rules that have been written.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:30

        So if a word for word regulation states: Drivers may not exceed 80 MPH in the pitlane, and a driver blasts through the pit at 160 MPH – He hasn’t broken any rules, so he shouldn’t be punished, right?

        • toddjamin (@toddjamin) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:44

          That makes zero sense. “not exceeding” means you cannot go above. and all your other posts are conspiracy theories.
          There would be no progress in the sport if it weren’t for finding loopholes and pushing boundaries, and all teams have gotten punished and gotten away with it in the past. we all know Newey and his team are exceptional, and that’s why red bull get away with it more, cos that team thinks it out better.
          I hate the chat of people like Eddie Jordan proclaiming that this “isn’t formula 1″ due to aerodynamic trickery. but the whole point of f1 is pushing the envelope in whichever way they can, and right now, the easiest and most economical way of making an advantage is through aero, whereas in the early 2000s it may have been tyres, and in the 80s it may have been engines.
          and if you think for a second that classic designers like Colin Chapman and the like didn’t exploit rules then you are kidding yourself.

      • Franton said on 22nd July 2012, 12:42

        You are so wrong on that score PM I don’t know where to start …

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:47

          No, he’s absolutely correct. The letter of the rules is literally the only thing the teams have to comply with. This has always been part of the sport, and I always find it incredulous the way that people will allow their opinions on whether or not this is correct, to be influenced by their own personal feelings about a particular team.

          Some people talk about the spirit of the regulations, yet regulations don’t have spirits, and it’s nonsense to expect people to have to second guess what the FIA meant by writing specific rules. If the car does not breach the literal written letter of the regulation, then it is categorically NOT illegal.

          • toddjamin (@toddjamin) said on 22nd July 2012, 13:08


          • Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 13:16

            Lower levels of Motorsport have ‘spirits’ and ‘ethos’ so why not the ‘pinnacle’ level? And I realise it’s a business not a sport.

          • Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 15:21

            And to hear Christian Horner complaining that Hamilton unlapping himself wasn’t ‘sporting’ (but is totally within the rules) in a post race interview defies belief!! And as for Vettel’s slippery paint / avoid crash explanation…

  3. footymad253 (@footymad253) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:18

    Doesn’t surprise me, stewards are pretty useless to be honest IMO, silly little penalties for drivers and then something “big” and they do nothing, Vettel’s home race, as he is “Golden Boy” can’t do anything! Yet again they get away, like the flexing wings in 2010 and last year aswell, they get away with EVERYTHING, disgrace to be honest.

    • Jen Campbell (@12popsicles) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:24

      But they didnt get away with the holes in the rear of the floor, had to plug them up before Valencia weekend.
      Not to mention the flexi-wings from last year.
      Many things have been outlawed from all teams, some are just more publicized than others.

      I, tbh, like people taking advantage of loopholes. The rules are there to be followed and, technically, Red Bull are following them. Kudos to them for finding a loophole. If other teams did it, like say Caterham, most people wouldnt have an issue with it as they arent in the fight for the championship. But because it involves a high profile team/drivers, loyalties and favouritism comes into peoples opinions and the hatred starts. (Btw, not having a go at people, everyone is entitled to their own opinion! This is just mine. :D)

    • toddjamin (@toddjamin) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:46

      grg! it doesnt matter if the wings flexxed in the race, they passed the deflection tests! thats all that mattered.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:24

        The problem is that the tests should have been altered to make flex wings impossible. Just as they did several times for other teams who were caught with flexing wings.

  4. Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 12:24

    I was in 1st corner grandstand in Bahrain & heard Vettels car make a mid-corner noise suspiciously like traction control. Wonder if apparent Vettel / Webber disparity in performance earlier this year was due to different engine maps being used?

    • Jen Campbell (@12popsicles) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:26

      All cars sounded similar to me at Albert Park. Sounded very similar to the off-throttle stuff from last year.

      • Drop Valencia! said on 22nd July 2012, 12:56

        off throttle blowing is still 100% legal, the red bulls cold blow to cool the valves to improve engine life, have done for years, that’s why they couldn’t ban it in 2011. You can’t hot blow, and you can’t make specific maps to blow, the last bit is what they nearly got introble for, but they must have a cover such as engine reliability.

        • Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 13:13

          But what I heard was just Vettel. Why not Webber & the other Renault engines?

          • Drop Valencia! said on 22nd July 2012, 15:33

            Good question, I have heared both Red Bulls doing it but not all the time, can’t say i have noticed with the other Renaults…..

  5. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:26

    Hard to see how anyone can criticise this decision without access to the specific technical data which was under investigation. A simple example, but the rules say that the engine must give 0nm of torque when the throttle pedal is not pressed, and 100% of the available torque when the throttle pedal is fully depressed. This implies a linear relationship between the throttle pedal position and the amount of torque delivered (i.e 75% pedal gives 75% torque, and so on) however it doesn’t explicitly state this. So you could imagine a map which delivers the above requirements, but at 99% throttle movement it delivers say, 80% throttle from the engine. This is probably against what the rules were intended to stamp out, but according to the literal wording of the rules, it would be legal. That being the case, the justification from Red Bull would be irrelevant, since it wouldn’t be illegal in the first place. Yes, there may well be reason enough to at least investigate it, but the outcome would be that the map was legal.

    That’s one example, but there are potentially lots of ways that the map could deliver the effects described in Jo Bauer’s initial statement, but not actually be in breach of article 5.5.3. That being the case, this decision is the correct one from the FIA, and to suggest otherwise rather implies a bit of impartiality on the part of the person passing comment.

    • Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 12:35

      (Not in any way saying what happened was right but) which rule explicitly says you can’t photocopy a rival teams documents?

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:43

        I don’t have a copy of the rulebook to hand, but the sporting regulations do state that the teams must design and develop their own car. In that situation I believe it was shown that there was potential that the developments of the McLaren could be traced directly to the possession of these documents, specifically because of communications sent internally at McLaren discussing the weight distribution of the Ferrari and how they might relate to their own car. This clearly showed that the development path of the McLaren was influenced by the possession of technical information about the Ferrari which they couldn’t have had access to otherwise. Interestingly, I don’t believe that possession of that documentation was, in itself, enough to penalise them. However it was illegal in the wider context of breach on intellectual property laws.

        However, none of that relates in any way to a technical investigation into the engine maps on the Red Bull ECU.

        • Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 13:08

          I was trying to illustrate that you shouldn’t have to rely on an explicit set of rules (as it’s impossible to write such a document) but instead on the more general ‘sporting’ approach from the teams. Unfortunately, despite their public image some teams are clearly ruthlessly focused on winning at all costs. Stewards should apply rules and ethos.

  6. katederby (@katederby) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:26

    Until the FIA can find people of the calibre of the team’s engineers then this will always happen. That’s not to attack anyone at the FIA but it’s near impossible to make a water tight regulation.

  7. Toncho said on 22nd July 2012, 14:25

    I expect rule clarification or free lunch for everyone for the next race.

  8. panache (@panache) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:24

    Interesting. I noticed during practice that the RB’s exhausts sounded much more like last year than usual when off throttle and speculated they might be doing something dodgy. Surely other teams and the FIA also picked up on this. I do wonder if these engine maps would even have been checked if there were not obvious signs of something different.

    Not surprising from Red Bull as they have repeatedly taken the spirit of the regulations to the absolute limit and relied on issues of semantics to talk their way out of being punished for it.

    Are there not any existing directives or precedence to punish teams for breaking the spirit of the regulations or is too much of a grey area?

  9. insider said on 22nd July 2012, 16:10

    Seems like the FIA thinks drivers can only use two throttle positions, either on or off, prior to this race they’ve been totally unaware there are other positions in-between, fortunately jo our intrepid sleuth did such a good job that he uncovered the incredible truth inside red bulls ECU, there are more than two positions on a throttle !
    Furthermore, you could exploit this fact to allow the engine to deliver less torque than available (because you know it won’t go down the track anyway) while sending more air through the exhaust pipes. What a shame!!

    Thumbs up to jo !
    Black flag for the stewards who apparently refuses to accept the fact that it may exist because the rules does not mention it.

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