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

2012 German Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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114 comments on Red Bull referred to stewards over engine maps

  1. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:09

    This is potentially quite a lot more serious than the issue of the holes in the floor. Firstly, because the holes in the floor offered virtually o advantage over a legal solution, and secondly because there was enough ambiguity in the rules that there was a compelling argument for this potentially being legal. Using the engine map to change/improve the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is very different, because it offers a significant performance advantage, and because it is explicitly illegal under the 2012 technical regulations. If found to be in breach of this, Red Bull have deliberately broken the technical regulations and tried to cover it up. I can’t think of many situations where this has happened but one example which springs to mind was Honda using fuel tanks with a hidden compartment which allowed the car to run below the minimum weight limit in races. That earned them a several race ban, so on that basis I could see Red Bull potentially receiving quite a heavy punishment for that.

    However, Honda weren’t defending world champions, and weren’t in the hunt for the championship. A heavy punishment might detract from this excellent season and may take the shine off the building rivalry between Alonso and the Red Bull drivers. You’d hope they wouldn’t base their decision on that, but politics are never far away from the decision making process, and I would be surprised if the FIA didn’t consider this when deciding how to punish Red Bull. Obviously, that’s if they are found to be in breach. Innocent until proven guilty. But I don’t see that this would have been referred by the FIA if there wasn’t a significant reason for thinking it was the case.

    • Brace said on 22nd July 2012, 11:51

      Very good comment. Puts it in perspective and is actually a good counterpart to the news itself.

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:09

    Interesting development! Does seem a bit daft that they would take advantage of something so beneficial that can be so (seemingly) black and white, like there doesn’t seem to be much of a grey area with it. That’s not their style, unless they’re getting desperate. Either way, they’re going to lose out. If they get away with it, then every other team is going to look into it, if they don’t get away with it, they face a raft of abuse and possible big punishments.

    I expect that they will have made their decision with the ECU map knowing that they may have to explain themselves and therefore will have their reasons. If they’re in breach, punish them, if not then fair enough, I respect them for yet again using the rules to their advantage. That’s what it’s all about.

    • Drop Valencia! said on 22nd July 2012, 11:58

      The “legitimate reason” would be to improve engine life, a side effect is more gases and downforce.

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:12

    Exclusion from qualifying is the only option in my opinion: the car does not meet the restriction set by the FIA as Bauer says. It’s important that the FIA draws the line here, else Red Bull and all the other teams will start pushing the lines further and further.

    Also I think the FIA must think more elaborately about exhaust positioning. If they don’t want this to happen, then move the exhaust to the far end of the car. Else this nonsense will continue to happen.

  4. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:28

    Every weekend there is a story about re bull under investigation by the FIA but this time there seems to be more clout behind it with the FIA going public with the finding. If its fact and they can remove it for the race then put them to the back. If not put them out! And to all the comments saying “if it was Hamilton he’d get some severe penalty” Wise up! Any technical issue is down to the TEAM not a driver. Standard penalty for anyone cheating in qualifying is back of the grid but i cant disagree that this may be more serious

  5. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:32

    I already feel the upcoming uproar when Red Bull doesn’t get punished at all.

  6. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:33

    I have a feeling that you can’t exclude cars within a certain period before the race, so it might be that at this point they’ll start the race and then they may be retrospectively punished if the cars are in breach.

  7. Estesark (@estesark) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:34

    Will the decision be made in time for the start of the race, or will it go ahead as normal and then become the subject of a protest afterwards? I seriously hope it’s the former. Even if Red Bull don’t face any consequences, it would be good to know that the result of the race will stand.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:53

      @estesark – Red Bull may bite the bullet and change the engine maps themselves. This would force them to start from pit lane since they would be breaking parc ferme, but it would guarantee that any result stands.

  8. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:36

    Oh dear, Christian Horner being interviewed coming out of the Stewards’ office sounding very stressed, and not his usual unflappable self.

  9. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:38

    Just seen Ted Kravits talking to C.Horner on Sky, the fact that Horner who is always won to fight his corner said absolutley nothing to defend his team is quite ominous. In my opinion.

    Ted said the a ledged breach is of sorts, like a traction control.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:40

      and just a thought, if its in breach and they are punishable, can they go back and check/void all previous race results?
      Im not saying they should but Im asking where is the cut off point if the car is illegal?

      • bag0 (@bag0) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:48

        History shows us, that the most extreme punishments are Exclusion from the WCC and race bans (McLaren 2007). Past raceresults usually doesnt change, exclusion from last session is possible (Hamilton, Spain).

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:54

        Part of the statement says that the engine map is delivering less torque than seen in maps used at previous races, so presumably this is something new they’ve brought for this race, otherwise they wouldn’t have that basis for comparison

  10. JB (@) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:57

    WOW….. just wow….. the veredict is coming out and it seems RBR get away with it, just as expected…. just a strong warning…. that is bs!!

  11. Michael (@michaelf1) said on 22nd July 2012, 11:59

    This is great for the sport. We see Red Bull starting to dominate and pull out a great gap in the construtors and if you like drivers championship but now we come to a huge discision if not done before the race might interfier with their race results. Someone said in the comments that the F1A might ban them for a few races. If so then Ferrari, Lotus and Mclaren could close up the gap and if MErcedes are good enough, might catch them up too. Sauber and below them are out of contention of picking up the constructors title unless something changes drasticly.

  12. Rocky (@rocky) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:00

    Adrian Newey book on aerodynamics and racing “if you’re not cheating you are only cheating yourself.

  13. Michael (@michaelf1) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:01

    NO FURTHER ACTION! WHAT A RELIEF FOR RED BULL

  14. Brace said on 22nd July 2012, 12:02

    No action! Ugghhh. I wonder if this goddamn team even has any fans. I couldn’t like them if they were the only team in F1.

  15. Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:02

    No further action. We will see many comments from teams.

  16. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:02

    So, odd statement from the FIA about the decision. Looks like nothing is going to happen but I’d expect the other teams to either appeal the decision/protest the legality of the RB8 after the race, or to request a technical clarification from the stewards.

  17. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:02

    They got away with it. What a massive surprise. Honestly, for one second, just imagine it’d had been the McLarens…..

  18. JB (@) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:05

    This is total BS….. I hope the teams unite and protest them… it is totally unfair!! I guess Dieter passed a thick envelope to someone….

  19. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:17

    No I wonder whether other teams will find courage to file a protest. FIA’s statement explaining why Red Bull escaped penalty is simply ridiculous and contradicts itself.

  20. katederby (@katederby) said on 22nd July 2012, 12:21

    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.

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