Green light for off-throttle diffuser use

Thu, 14 Jul 14:21:00 2011

The FIA confirmed on Thursday that it will now allow Formula 1 teams to keep running their blown diffusers off-throttle for the rest of the season, after it was agreed unanimously that a ban on the practice should be abandoned.

- Green light for off

After a controversial weekend at the British Grand Prix where the row over off-throttle use of blown diffusers dominated affairs, the FIA said it would be willing to ditch its attempts to outlaw the practice if all teams were in agreement.

The matter had reached a head after world championship leader Red Bull Racing was left fuming when a concession was handed to the Mercedes-Benz-powered outfits on reliability grounds for them to run with a four-cylinder over-run under braking.

Red Bull Racing's Renault team had initially been allowed to keep a 50 per cent throttle opening, which it claimed it needed for reliability reasons, but that was taken away on Saturday morning - prompting fury from the Milton Keynes-based team.

With the FIA keen to find a resolution to the matter, the governing body held a series of meetings with technical chiefs to try and find an answer that all teams would be happy with.

A bid to find unanimous support for the ban to be ditched stalled on Sunday morning, however, when Ferrari and Sauber declined to accept the move during a lengthy meeting.

However, by Sunday evening the situation had changed and both teams suggested they would be willing to agree for the rules to revert back to how they were in Valencia - where teams could keep using their blown diffuser under all conditions but would not be allowed to change engine mapping settings between qualifying and the race.

In a document released by the FIA on Thursday, the governing body confirmed that it was now happy for the rules to be back to how they were at the European Grand Prix.

"All cars will run under 'Valencia' conditions for the remainder of the season," said the document, which went on to state that it believed there would be no protest over the matter.

"We are optimistic that there will be no protests over any engine mapping and exhaust tailpipe issues this season. In addition to the main part of the agreement reached in the TWG meetings it was also agreed that no team would raise a protest against another on these matters for the rest of the season."

The blown diffuser issue will go away in 2012 with new technical regulations set to be imposed that will force teams to run with periscope-type exhausts that exit on top of the sidepods - so will not be able to have any major effect on the diffuser area of the car.

"The teams have already agreed to strict constraints on exhaust tailpipe position which will result in them exiting the bodywork much higher up and no longer in the vicinity of the diffuser," said the FIA. "Therefore, any aerodynamic benefit from exhaust gas flow over bodywork will be kept to an absolute minimum.

"Engine mapping will remain free (within the existing constraints of the FIA SECU) as, with the exhaust tailpipes in this new position, it is felt that any aerodynamic benefit will now be incidental to their primary purpose."

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