Mark Webber, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012

Red Bull referred to stewards over engine maps

2012 German Grand Prix

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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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Keith Collantine
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114 comments on “Red Bull referred to stewards over engine maps”

  1. Interesting, interesting..

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

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

        1. 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.

    3. @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.

      1. if there is a technical infringement, surely they will have to be excluded from qualifying?

    4. @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.

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

      2. *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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

      3. Drop Valencia!
        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.

    5. A bit more explanation on Autosport –

  2. Wow!! Drama even before the race starts!

  3. What will happen to Red Bull today then?

    1. If they are breaching the regulations both of their fastest laps will be invalitated and they will start last, would that be on the grid or pitlane though?

      1. It would be pitlane because you can’t start the race with illegal car so if they fix it under park ferme condition, they should start from pitlane.

    2. Possibilities include starting from the back to full race disqualification.

    3. @andone89 At this point if they’re found in breach of the technical regulations they will be excluded from the qualifying results, as happened with Hamilton in Spain.

      1. I thought the rules were changed last year, banning the changing of engine maps between qualy and race.. Wouldn’t this mean they couldn’t change it? Therefore they’d be illegal for the race too?
        I don’t have a copy of the technical regulations next to me, so I’m guessing it says elsewhere that they could change it under circumstances like this..

        1. Wouldn’t the penalty for changing the map between qualifying and race be starting from the pitlane anyway?

          1. Yeah, you’re probably right.

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

    1. Why not Maldonado?

      1. Maldonado punished? Since when.

    2. :-( its because he’s black, eh!

    3. Yes!!! If it was Mclaren the decision would have been made in a minute: Disqualified!!!!
      If it was Ferrari, the decision would have been: No further investigation, never mind action!!!!
      Red Bull have gotten away with too much for too long, its about time for some punishment!!!

    4. Genius, pure genius.

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

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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. 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.

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

      1. I must say PM you are on a roll. Chuckle after chuckle.

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

      1. still not getting past that Japan 2009 race though its not far off if they do have to start from the pitlane.

        1. Oh, that’s a little disappointing :D 2009 Janan was amazing in many ways.

    3. 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.

      1. 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”)

        1. 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??????????????????

          1. Those cases with the Ferrari were down to Max (imo).

        2. (@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.

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

    1. because FIA didn’t move exhaust to very end of the car. now I think 2014 regulations would.

    2. why is this so difficult to ban use of exhaust as aerodynamic component
      Because Red Bull aren’t doing what they did last year. They’re doing something different that produces the same effect.

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

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

  10. 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?!

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. That is the most sensible solution to the problem, but the FIA aren’t always sensible are they!

  12. 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.

    1. IF they WOULD be disqualified of course!

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. Precisely. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s what helped button become a world champion, the double diffuser was one of these exploits, only it wasn’t declared illegal during the season.

        1. Yes, maybe because it was clear for two other teams that they can do it, and so did it (Toyota & Williams).

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

    Same old Red Bull – always cheating

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

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

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

    1. I wish the world could hear that!!!! True. Very true

  16. I don’t get this; how does having a different mapping setup from other tracks tell them they are using an off throttle exhaust for aero-performance. Can anyone explain it?

    1. Have a look at rols post on the first page, that might help

  17. This torque map issue might have partially caused Webber’s gearbox to be changed, or contributed towards Vettel’s retirement in Valencia. But who knows?

  18. If they do get away with it,that would be the highest form of mocking of the FIA.All the other teams are watching.
    All Hell will break loose if they are not punished.

    1. If they get away with it, its almost certain teams will protest the results. And if that fails, then all will be doing this shortly after the summer brake (I am pretty sure most of them will have been testing this in the simulator and on their engines by now)

    2. @feralsa IF they are actually found guilty and have done anything wrong.

  19. RedBull and Renault debating the mapping is illegal and new rumours surfacing that they have previously been warned about this.

    1. Further new rumours being heard that it will be investigated post race? How does that’s work? This is becoming a fast, do they not have time to change it, refuse to change it? Watch out for the protests!

      1. Everybody’s refusing to eat until it’s resolved?

      2. If they appeal, they might be starting, but would not be allowed on the podium and make all results provisional depending on a WMSC ruling in the future. It would be pretty messy (ah, don’t we love F1!)

  20. I for one will be very annoyed if nothing does come of this, I am not a Lewis Hamilton fan but if they are not punished for breaching the regulations then that is far from fair. People say the FIA favour Ferrari but if nothing comes of this I see them as favouring Red Bull, there have been times before when nothing comes of it and in some way they get out of it. I am not sure from their past what sort of punishment they will get but a fine is far too leniant. If they get away with it then the FIA will look stupid themselves, how can they let Red Bull get away with it but others don’t.

    1. Agree 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. 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.

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

  22. 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.

    1. Drop Valencia!
      22nd July 2012, 11:58

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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

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

    1. @cyclops_pl

      The veredict is coming and rumor is thet get away with it… total bs!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. @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.

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

  29. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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).

        1. Mclaren was never banned in 2007. I think it was Honda in 2005.

      2. 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

  30. 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!!

  31. 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.

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


  34. 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.

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

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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….

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. Firstly from a Vettel fan this is appears to be a awful awful decision by the stewards, to disregard the data and objections from the FIA is rediculous even scandalous! So with the data seemingly clearly showing foul play, From the rule writers opinion on top of that how guilty did Horner appear when Ted chased him down before the decision. Maybe the failure to take the right decision proves beyond doubt that the current stewarding system is flawed if they cant enforce black and white FIA Rules!

    Worst decision in F1 since Alonso’s penalty at Monza in 2006 for blocking Massa.

    Im disgusted!

  42. James_wilson
    22nd July 2012, 12:34

    Unconfirmed reports that Red Bull are developing a fan-car for the next race. They say they are not worried about “regulations”

  43. From a comment by Derek Warwick, whilst speaking to Martin Brundle, this issue isn’t going away. As I see it the regulations haven’t been written precisely, giving too much doubt about their enforceability if it went to appeal.
    RBR are always pushing the technology limits and have worked within a poorly worded Regulation. I imagine that this “loophole” will be closed fairly quickly

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