The FIA has enacted a rule – called ‘Technical Directive 15’ – to restrict the function of the teams’ ‘blown diffusers’.
The restriction was originally designed, at short notice, to kick in at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, but teams have successfully lobbied with the sport’s governing body to delay the introduction of the rules.
Ostensibly, their complaints stemmed from the lack of notice given to successfully implement these changes in time, but the more interesting question that is yet to be answered is who lobbied for this clampdown in the first place…
A report in Auto Motor und Sport claims that the FIA has determined that teams are effective treating their engines like an aerodynamic device controlled by the driver – clearly not within the wording of the regulations – with many teams fielding sophisticated exhaust layouts that continue to blow hot exhaust gases through the diffuser even when the throttle is not being applied.
The net effect is that it helps increase rear downforce and cornering speeds, and it is believed that this is one of the devices that has given Red Bull Racing a significant advantage over its rivals.
That being said, the rules change is expected to impact many of the teams – McLaren, Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes GP and others – who have designed similar (and perhaps less effective) devices in a clever interpretation of the regulations.
The new rewording of the rule means that the blowing of exhaust gases through the diffuser is banned beyond 10 per cent of full throttle when drivers are braking or not accelerating hard.
The finger-pointing has quickly turned in the direction of McLaren – a team known to have failed during the pre-season in its attempts to design what insiders termed an ‘octopus exhaust’ system – as being the source of the rules change push.
Predictably, McLaren has denied this, with their engineering director Tim Goss, steering clear of suggestions that the British team triggered the FIA’s latest clampdown.
“I’m afraid I don’t know that background,” he said in a McLaren teleconference when asked about the FIA’s latest rules change.
“Whether [the FIA has] taken it on themselves to clamp down on it or whether they’ve been prompted to, I’m afraid I don’t know,” he added.
Goss admitted that McLaren has certainly enjoyed taking advantage of the previous regulations, and added that “all major teams” would be impacted, some more than others.
“I know [the ban] would almost certainly be a performance setback to our major competitors, but as to whether it affects us more than our competitors it’s impossible for me to say.”
[Image via LAT]
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