D he rulers of the FIA have an ungrateful man Job. They try to write bulletproof rules, but they face thousands of engineers in the teams who only think about where there are loopholes in the technical regulations or in the sports law.
Just a small example. Since 2014, the FIA has been trying to prevent the exhaust gases from being used for aerodynamics with the exhaust position and regulations for engine maps. Nevertheless, last year McLaren found a way to blow on the monkey seat so that it generates a few points of downforce. At great sacrifice. The necessary measures on the Honda engine were one of the reasons for the many defects.
It's an unequal battle. The teams always win. And then the FIA has to readjust. Just like she did before the start of this season. Either through adjustments to the regulations or new technical directives. We have selected five cases and explain the background to you. Why did it even happen? And how should the tricksters be stopped?
The case of oil combustion for more power
It was a constant topic last year. Mercedes and Ferrari accused each other of increasing performance by adding oil additives to the fuel or by reusing the gases produced in the crankcase. Renault mobilized against both competitors. The FIA then set the oil consumption limit of 1.2 during the past seasondown to 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers. Both Mercedes and Ferrari asserted that this was normal oil consumption.
After the FIA began to measure the consumption of the lubricant more precisely, doubts arose in Paris as to whether the 2017 World Cup opponents did so with the right things. Mercedes and Ferrari burned a constant 0.89 liters per 100 kilometers in the races from the Italian GP. That was within the scope of what was allowed, but Renault and Honda only achieved consumption values of 0.1 liters for 100 kilometers. One wondered how such a drastic difference could come about. So it was quite possible to lower the limit even further. That has now been reduced to 0.6 liters.
Red Bull is concerned that the competition will continue to cheat, but the FIA inspectors reassure: 'Our oil level sensors work reliably.' There is a standard Sensor for everyone. That rules out manipulation. The only restriction: the measurement method delivers precise results for a racing distance. If, as in the qualification, only short distances are driven, the accuracy of the measurement is important. You have to be able to determine the consumption to two places behind the decimal point.
Anyone who wants to press oil into the combustion chambers from below via a controlled 'blow-by' in order to mix performance-enhancing additives with the gasoline has in this one Year no more chance. The FIA now specifies oil in the same way as gasoline. On four pages it is written which components in which composition may be present in the lubricant. As with gasoline, a chemical fingerprint is taken from this during homologation and used as a benchmark if necessary. If it differs from the template, the red card will be shown.
The case of engine equality
In its latest technical directive, the FIA has asked engine manufacturers not only to provide their customer teams with the same mechanical drive units, but also to supply them with the same software and the same specification of oil and gasoline.Race director Charlie Whiting confirms: “There were complaints from customer teams.” The Englishman did not want to go into detail. It is believed that it was Toro Rosso, who felt spoiled by Renault in the battle for 6th place in the constructors' championship last year.
Force India chief technology officer Andy Green is certain: “We can't take a look at the software, but I'm sure that we were always treated fairly by Mercedes.” But the Mercedes works team didn't always turn up the power in Q3, while Williams and Force India hardly improved saw if they had made it by then?
Green replied to the conspiracy theorists: “We always turned up the power in Q1 and Q2 because we wanted to make sure we could get into Q3 at all. Therefore, in the last knockout round, we did not see any further increase. '
The point with the same specifications for oil and gasoline cannot be consistently enforced, explain us FIA experts. It may be that the manufacturer X has agreed with the customer Y in his customer contract to use different stages of development of oil and gasoline for cost reasons.
Development in this area is very expensive. Renault allegedly demands five million euros from its clientele for individual fuel and oil development. The association cannot intervene in said contracts. 'We can only demand that the manufacturer can no longer refuse a customer if he demands the same treatment in this area.'
The front axle case
Ferrari started it. Red Bull, Renault and McLaren have copied. The geometry of the front axle was designed in such a way that the car lowered itself when turning, depending on the steering angle. With the aim that the front wing is closer to the road when cornering and donates more downforce. Since this clearly has an impact on aerodynamics, the FIA put a stop to this technology. With a steering angle of 12 degrees, the front of the car must not be more than fiveSink in millimeters. This is measured on a platform specially modified for the purpose.
Technology experts believe that the ground clearance on the racetrack changes more than on the measuring platform if you only do it skillfully. They refer to the geometry of the front suspension of the new McLaren MCL33, which corroborates this suspicion with its extreme attachment of the push rod. Charlie Whiting reassures the black painters: 'If we see from the data that the steering angle actually exceeds 12 degrees, then we modify our test.'
The exhaust case
After word got around last year that some Teams have started again to use the exhaust gases for aerodynamics, the FIA modified the regulations in the area of the exhaust tailpipe. Now, in the target area for the exhaust gases, there must be no trim parts within 10 centimeters around the center line of the car and at a height between 40 and 55 centimeters that protrude more than 20 centimeters behind the rear axle. That doesn't make 'monkey seats' impossible, but it does make them relatively pointless. The exhaust gases are now blowing into the open.
Not quite. On the new R.S. 18, Renault installs the tailpipe at the maximum permitted height of 55 centimeters above the reference plane and angles it upwards by five degrees. The exhaust gases are aimed under the main blade of the rear wing. It is specially coated on the underside so that the carbon structure does not melt. The trick should bring up to two points of downforce when accelerating.
The wheel nut case
Despite bigger bikes last year, some teams broke their pit stop records from the past. This was made possible thanks to specially designed wheel nuts, which could be quickly pulled over the restraint system with the appropriate force. Anyone who was careless here paid like McLaren and Renault with inconstant and poor pit stops.
That is why both teams changed the design of their wheel nuts and safety systems over the winter. Because in 2017 cars were still being sent on their way with wheels that were not properly lashed down, the FIA tightened the thumbscrews on the teams.
In point 14.7. of the technical regulations, the rules for securing bicycles have been tightened. Each axis has two retention mechanisms staggered one behind the other. Once the wheel and the integrated wheel nut have been attached, you have to use a force of at least 15 kiloNewtons to pull it back down without the wheel nut already being screwed onto the thread.
Is it already partially on the Thread, the wheel nut has to withstand a torque of 250 Newton meters when loosening before it presses down the second row of safety pins. This means that losing a wheel is actually impossible. McLaren did it anyway. Fernando Alonso lost his right rear wheel on the first day of testing in Barcelona. The FIA immediately asked McLaren Chief Technology Officer Tim Goss to report how this could happen. It hadn't been submitted by Wednesday evening.