Red Bull referred to stewards over engine maps

2012 German Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012The legality of Red Bull’s cars is in question ahead of the German Grand Prix.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer said the team may be using an unapproved engine torque map to “artificially alter the aerodynamic characteristics” of their cars.

In a statement released ahead of today’s race Bauer said: “Having examined the engine base torque map of car numbers one and two it became apparent that the maximum torque output of both engines is significantly less than the mid rpm range than previously seen for these engines at other events.

“In my opinion this is therefore in break of article 5.5.3 of the 2012 Formula One Technical Regulations as the engines are able to deliver more torque at a given engine speed in the mid rpm rang.

“Furthermore this new torque map will artificially alter the aerodynamic characteristics of both cars with is also in contravention of TD 036-11.

“I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”

Article 5.5.3 of the Technical Regulations states:

“The maximum accelerator pedal travel position must correspond to an engine torque demand equal to or greater than the maximum engine torque at the measured engine speed.

“The minimum accelerator pedal travel position must correspond to an engine torque demand equal to or lower than 0Nm.”

Sebastian Vettel starts today’s race from second place, Mark Webber eighth.

Update: No penalty for Red Bull over engine map

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114 comments on Red Bull referred to stewards over engine maps

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  1. Alfie (@alfie) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:24

    Interesting, interesting..

    also, confusing, confusing..can anyone explain it in a simpler way?

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:32

      I think basically, the ‘unapproved’ engine maps is providing them with more engine power mid-corner or whilst cornering, therefore producing more downforce.

    • rols said on 22nd July 2012, 10:37

      The way I read it is it says this. Engines have different amounts of torque available at different RPMs. It is required however by 5.5.3 that if you press the pedal to full travel, the engine map must demand whatever the maximum torque is at whatever the current RPM is, you aren’t allowed to have maximum pedal travel mean something less than ‘everything we have at this RPM’.

      The technical delegate here is saying that having looked at the engine mappings, there is at least some range in the middle where the mapping is not set up like that and full pedal travel would not demand the maximum torque available at that RPM, but something less. He seems to back it up by saying the mappings demanded more at those RPMs in previous meets, and also that he knows or believes the engines are capable of more torque at those RPMs.

      If that’s in fact the case and the stewards agree, I think the only fair thing to do is disqualify them from qualification (car was not legal), tell them to fix the map before the start of the race and have them start at the back or from the pit lane.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:43

        Thanks for putting this post in rols to make it easier to understand what this is about.

        I agree with you, that its then reasonable to have them use an older engine map (one of those that are ok) and probably have to start from the pitlane then.

      • Kim K said on 22nd July 2012, 11:12

        Did someone read the statement? In the first paragraph Jo Bauer is talking about the max torque is less in the mid rpm range than before.

        The next paragraph he is talking about delivering more torque in the mid rpm range.

        contradictions here!

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:23

          No, when he says about the engines being able to deliver more torque, he means that the engine is capable of delivering more torque for the rpm/pedal position, than is being delivered by the engine map which is under investigation. Bit confusing the way he’s worded it, but there’s no contradiction.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:45

      @alfie Red Bull are trying to use exhaust gasses from the engine to improve the performance of the diffuser.

      This was a widespread practice in 2011 and the FIA has attempted to prevent it this year by restricting the position of the exhaust and limiting how teams can use the engines electronics to manipulate the engine performance to produce more exhaust gasses when they need them.

      It is the latter where it seems Red Bull may be in contravention of the rules.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:54

      @alfie – The short version is this: there is a directly-proportional relationship between the throttle and torque that Red Bull is accused of exploiting. The more open the throttle, the more torque is produced. However, Jo Bauer has noted that Red Bull have altered this relationship so the throttle is more-open than it should be for the amount of torque being produced, particularly in mid-range rpm situations (ie, medium-speed corners). This is allowing more air to flow through the exhaust, which is producing more downforce.

      • Alfie (@alfie) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:32

        Thank you all, @prisoner-monkeys, Keith and @rols.

      • falken (@falken) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:42

        *Except* the rules don’t say the mapping must be linear. They just fix a start and end point. It doesn’t even say ‘linear’, specify the allowed sorts of mapping curves or anything.

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:48

          It does however, say that when the throttle pedal is pressed fully, the engine should deliver the maximum torque available at the given engine speed. The statement from Jo Bauer implies that this isn’t the case – that when the throttle is fully depressed, the engine does not deliver as much torque as it has done in previous races. Delivering less torque can be seen as a simple form of traction control, and would potentially (depending on how the torque is being restricted) cause an increase in gas flow through the exhausts, giving an effect on the aerodynamic characteristics of the car. This would put it in breach of two different technical regulations, so it will be very interesting to see how Red Bull defend this under the regs, when they seem pretty clear cut.

          • rols said on 22nd July 2012, 12:07

            Exactly – I like this explanation. The regs specify that at *every* RPM point over the range of the engine (or at least at every RPM that’s mapped I would think) foot off pedal means no torque and a fully depressed pedal means as much torque as possible from that engine at that RPM.

            Remember that torque comes from two things, how much air is going through the engine (‘throttle’) and how much fuel is being added to that air and burned for power. So if RB have, at some RPM mappings in the range, made full pedal travel deliver maximum airflow (wide open throttle) but have set the mapping to add less than the maximum amount of fuel to it which would deliver the maximum power, they conceivably get an advantage of increased airflow without having more power than they can use.

            I can imagine they may have done the analysis that at certain RPMs the driver would never be able to use full power, or very rarely, corresponding perhaps to certain corners. If they have done this, it’s more than a bit naughty.

      • Drop Valencia! said on 22nd July 2012, 11:49

        This is a good explanation PM, because the driver is automatically compensating by pushing the loud pedal more to deliver the optimum torque, while this inheritly increase gas flow. However, Red Bull need only say that this map improves engine life, and all will be OK, the FIA can’t force Red Bull to use a map that will cause more engine wear.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:43

      A bit more explanation on Autosport – http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/101407

  2. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:25

    Wow!! Drama even before the race starts!

  3. Martin (@andone89) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:26

    What will happen to Red Bull today then?

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:26

    I am predicting that the most-likely punishment will be a three-race suspension for Lewis Hamilton.

  5. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:26

    Place your bets! Delegation to the back of the grid, disqualification or slap on the wrist?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:28

      Oh, the Max Mosley jokes I could make about slapping …

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:42

      Not that easy, if the car was ‘illegal’, then they should be DSQ from the Qualification, so sent to the back. But they also have to alter the engine mapping, which I dont think can be done under parc-ferme, so breaching the pf, might rule them to start from the pitlane.

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:29

      Plenty of protests and appeals, and this mess goes finally away in late October, after the FIA checks how any penalties would change the championship battle.

  6. Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:27

    This is bad. in best case, they would be forced to start from pit lane. In worst case, they can be banned in a couple of races. I don’t know why they did this sort of things. It’s so obvious to be discovered by FIA.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:29

      Perhaps Red Bull have the same opinion of the FIA as most fans do …

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:29

      Now we might have a chance to have ‘the most modified grid ever’

    • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:49

      I think that the issue here is not the consequence but the constant smoke around the RB legallity and IMO honesty. This will probably lead to anywhere again but what rests in people´s minds is that they are cheaters! That´s my belief at least.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:53

        I don’t think that is a big problem actually @pnunocosta, that’s something each team does if they are on to something (how many cases of Ferrari doing so have we seen, and McLaren is far from a stranger to it, and lets rather not even think about Bennetton having that TC system “but not using it”)

        • Yes ” how many cases of Ferrari doing so”, and getting no punishment and go on dominating because of such, and Mclaren getting punishment for all such cases. Red Bull now also getting away with alot, and the outcome??????????????????

        • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:35

          (@bascb) In recent years I dont´t remember any special case related to McLaren or Ferrari, when they´re up to something they asked the FIA they would say yes or no and that was it. With RB there´s just too much suspicion, they´re on to something, they use it, then FIA says it´s illegal, but they never got a single penalty.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:46

            obvioulsly McLaren are carefull on the tech side (don’t forget they were being specially monitored in 2008 as a result of the spygate thing) and Ferrari have not really been at the top of development either. But liegate and their cheeky “we did not know in time” in Barcelona show McLaren also go to the limit. And I would say that Ferrari giving then illegal team orders exactly 2 years ago was even a worst case @pnunocosta

  7. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:28

    Thats why this car’s a*s licking is annoying, why is this so difficult to ban use of exhaust as aerodynamic component.

  8. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:30

    So what are the potential consequences? Im not really familiar with the regulations in such cases.

  9. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:31

    Could this not simply be the effect of them adding the resonating chamber to the exhaust rather then illlegal engine mapping software????

  10. Mike Willis said on 22nd July 2012, 10:34

    Is it something Redbull could easily turn off? If so, maybe they could void qualifying times and start them from the back / pit lane.

    If it can’t be turned off, surely they have to be disqualified?!

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:36

      I’m sure they should have prepared spare mapping. but still they can be disqualified if FIA and stewards think this is serious threat to the regulations.

  11. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:35

    Interesting. First the floor, now the engtine maps. If this is indeed a breach of the technical regulations then they should be punished (I’m by no means qualified to work out if it is or not), but I doubt they will be, they’ll probably just get another slap on the wrist, I’ve just got a feeling.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:37

      The easiest way forward is to have them download an older engine map into the ECU, would probably mean starting from the pitlane for them though. Or they start normally but risk being excluded or penalized after the race.

  12. SpaFrancorchamps (@spafrancorchamps) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:38

    To be honest I think nothing will happen. Perhaps a fine and a slap on the wrist. Why? Because their car is proved illegal on different occasions and they get away with it over and over again. I can’t see why it will be different this time. It would not be good for the championship either. It will be just an opportunity for Alonso to extend his lead with another 25 points. However, it also gives Der Meister an opportunity to win his home GP.

    • SpaFrancorchamps (@spafrancorchamps) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:40

      IF they WOULD be disqualified of course!

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:41

      Well I think this is much more obvious than other controversies of Red Bull. It’s about numbers, statistics, not design philosophy or something. of course they can find loophole again but I doubt it in this case.

    • fractre said on 22nd July 2012, 10:49

      I don’t actually recall any occasion where the RBR cars have been declared illegal, with RBR ‘getting away’ with anything.

      I think you’ll find that it’s more of a a case of RBR finding a loophole, exploiting it, with a subsequent clarification in the rules ruling it illegal from that point onward’s.

  13. McLaren Monkey said on 22nd July 2012, 10:39

    Same old Red Bull – always cheating

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:54

      I don’t believe that they’ve ever been found guilty of cheating.

      • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:10

        A friend of mine once used his mobile phone during an exam and nobody noticed (I took quite a look at the notes he had in there aswell but sadly it didn’t help me much). He was never found guilty but he cheated blatantly. Floor holes and flexible wings weren’t really legal either but well, who cares about those at this point. Also I don’t think they’ll be punished this time around either.

  14. runforitscooby (@runforitscooby) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:44

    Don’t worry people! Horner wrote the Official Grey Area Handbook of Formula One rules.

  15. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 22nd July 2012, 10:46

    Well it’s not Lewis or McLaren – so they’ll get away with it as usual.

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