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FIA takes U-turn on off throttle diffuser ban after F1 teams protest

Tarish Bhatt
Editor's Pick
814   //    17 Jul 2011, 19:52 IST

Formula 1 governing body FIA has taken a U-Turn on the engine mapping ban which they have enforced prior to the British GP. FIA has said that the teams are now allowed to use the off-throttle diffuser in this season.

FIA imposed the ban on the use of off throttle blown diffuser after the European GP but soon withdraw it temporarily before the Silverstone qualifying session. But on Thursday FIA officially declared that they are taking the off and the teams are free to use blown diffuser. FIA wanted to impose the ban because the teams were using the exhaust gases for the aerodynamic benefit even when the drivers are off the throttle.

Prior to the British grand prix the leading Formula 1 teams started lobbing against the new rule and they raised questions about the fairness and the enforceability of the new restrictions. Red Bull team chief Christian Horner and designer Adrian Newey strongly raised their voice against the new rules and said that it will raise reliability questions as the Red Bull car is designed around the blown diffuser.

FIA after the protest gave 50% concession to Red Bull and Renault because of the reliability reasons. They were allowed to use 50% of their blown diffuser under braking. FIA also gave concession to the Mercedes GP team but FIA soon withdraw it in the half way stage after the Friday practice session.

The FIA Technical Working Group discussed the issue with the teams to carve out a solution which will be acceptable to all of them. After that FIA said that they are willing to keep diffuser till the end of this season on which all the team agreed.

Ferrari and Sauber however, withdraw their support but FIA issued the statement which states that the teams are agreed to use the off-throttle blown diffuser and FIA is reverting its decision and the team are now free to use off-throttle blown diffuser however, the ban on engine mapping will be in effect.

The FIA document reads like this:

Following the events of Friday, the FIA president felt that it would be useful to have an open discussion in order to see if consensus could be reached. Following these two meetings there was unanimous agreement among the teams to revert to the engine mapping regime used in Valencia, ie freedom on settings but no changes to the maps between qualifying and race. This was felt to be the most sensible solution to a very complicated matter as the possibility of finding an alternative solution, which would be fair to all engine manufacturers, was becoming increasingly unlikely.

FIA also said that they are hopeful that the teams will now not protest against each other on the same issue in the remaining 10 races of the season because the off throttle rules are tailored according to their requirement.

All cars will run under ‘Valencia’ conditions for the remainder of the season. 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 governing body said one of the main reasons it had pursued this issue was to prevent an undesirable escalation in costs as teams developed increasingly radical solutions.

However, FIA has lifted the ban on the off-throttle blown diffuser for the 2011 season but FIA has said that they are confident that the ban will come into effect from 2012 and that time they will not change the rules like this time.


Tarish Bhatt
A complete sports buff, you name the sport and I am there! A Formula 1 fanatic and big fan of Narain Karthikeyan, Adrian Sutil, Somdev Devvarman and Hugh Jackman!
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