Red Bull and Lotus F1 Engine Mapping Problems, Renault’s 2014 F1 engine is revealed, Dallara design Formula E chassis

Renault and Newey may have been caught napping

So Williams and Caterham appear to have had their clever exhaust solutions ruled illegal, and you may remember last year all the teams and Renault customers particularly were instructed by the FIA to stop changing their engine mapping for each race. This was believed to be benefiting Red Bull particularly.

The ruling was to tidy up the banning of ‘off throttle blowing’. In simple terms ”off throttle exhaust blowing’ could be described as; when you are driving your car along and you lift your foot off the accelerator to ease through a corner – the engine would scream up to full revs with no gear engaged – and blow a load of hot gases onto something that would increase the traction of your car.

For a great explanation of all this with video and audio so you can hear the difference – follow this link to SomersF1.

Lotus were very quick in 2012 pre-season running and again have looked good so far this year in testing. It is being suggested they have been using a big diversity of engine maps again and there is an argument brewing between the Renault engine teams and the rest.

The issue is over the FIA’s technical directive about engine maps last August. Renault are saying “it was not clear what should apply for 2013″. Ferrari’s engine boss Luca Marmorini is quoted as insisting “Everything remains the same”. Remi Taffin head of Renault’s engine division strongly disagrees claiming “a new benchmark” for engine mapping in 2013 will be set down by teams in Australia next month. He adds, “The (August 2012) directive referred exclusively to last year.”

Apparently the FIA has confirmed the Ferrari position is in fact correct but Renault was reportedly unaware of the Federation’s stance until as recently as Thursday of last week. They have been developing and running new maps to optimise the exhaust-blowing effect for 2013 for Lotus and Red Bull.

This could be a significant problem for Red Bull and Lotus as their designs for exhaust solutions with the air flow as paramount have most likely been conceived of assuming they could use new clever engine management systems.

It appears in the past year or so that if Red Bull are involved in a technical dispute then the ruling goes against them. So if I was Eric Boullier I wouldn’t hold my breath on the FIA changing their position and it looks like some long nights in Enstone and Milton Keynes.

Renault 2014 engine

Mercedes stole a march on the other 2 engine manufacturers when they invited influential F1 personnel to see and hear the powertrain they have developed for 2014.

Today it was the turn of Renault to give a peek at their 2014 offering. The engine will use 1/3rd less fuel and produce a boost of 161 BHP for 33 seconds a lap from its 21st century energy recovery systems. Current KERS systems produce 80 BHP for just 6-7 seconds per lap.

Renault Sport’s technical director for F1, Rob White, believes the change is for the better and makes F1 more relevent to the needs of the modern era car user.

White says, “At the time, there was a perceived distance and lack of consistency between the technology employed in F1 and that used for mass production vehicles, from both the economic and environmental angles. It was therefore necessary for F1 to undergo a significant change in order to reconcile these two realities.”

For those worried F1 will be tame and peaceful, Rob White suggests otherwise. “F1 is still going to be very loud, it is still going to be a very violent event. You can see on the test bed that even with relatively slow shifts on a relatively low transient dyno, that gear shifts are rapid and violent.”

The turbo’s will sound great. Much of the F1 world believes Ecclestone’s concern which were based upon his political maneuverings. White states, F1 is still going to be very loud, it is still going to be a very violent event. You can see on the test bed that even with relatively slow shifts on a relatively low transient dyno, that gear shifts are rapid and violent.


untitledFormula E now has a car

TJ13 reported back in January that Formula E had it’s first team committed to the project, Drayson Racing. It will be run by British businessman and former Science Minister Paul Drayson who stated, “We aim to be one of the front runners from the start, leveraging the know how we’ve built up over the past two years working on electric drivetrains and developing our 200 mph electric Le Mans prototype.

We believe that FIA Formula E has very significant commercial potential, it will attract new fans and new sponsors to motorsport and is on track to become the world’s leading environmentally sustainable global sporting event.”

Italian race car maker Dallara declares they wish to join the electric party too. They have previously designed and built single seater cars for Formula 1 and various versions of American open wheeled racing series. It was announced by Formula E that Dallara will undertake “the execution and approval of the new monocoque”.

untitledMcLaren are already committed to providing the engine, transmission and electronics for the cars to race in the FIA-sanctioned championship that aims to have a grid of 10 teams and 20 drivers in 2014.

The ultimate aim is to not provide specified vehicles but to have teams designing and building their own cars and drive-trains so that the competition will drive development of the technology. Formula E’s raison d’etre is to provide the platform for innovation in this emerging area of motorsports technology.

This is no rival for F1, but I have to say I’m really looking forward to the spectacle. The cars will accelerate from 0-100km/h in under three seconds and will have a top speed of 220km/h.

Yet with 9 more teams to sign and 8 more host cities to come forward, to deliver the racing series for 2014 seems a big ask. I suppose when Dallara and McLaren have done the maths on the cost of the cars, investors will have a better idea of what they’re getting into.

more soon today… and hopefully a Judge’s Chambers…..

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30 responses to “Red Bull and Lotus F1 Engine Mapping Problems, Renault’s 2014 F1 engine is revealed, Dallara design Formula E chassis

  1. Any word yet on the legality of Williams brake duct solution to guide exhaust gases? Last week some German reporter said it would be legal, but I remember that after the 2012 season Adrian Newey explained that at the beginning of the season they had something similar in the pipeline that never appeared on the RB8 as in the FIA’s opinion it was in violation of the newly established blown diffuser rules?

  2. What appearances are deceptive SM?

    I always felt that Coughlan himself realized that they had gone one step too far in the literal interpration of the rules and the ‘apenture’ concept, but I was also under the impression that their dubious exhaust solution was somewhat of a lightning rod for the real ‘innovation’ which was the brake duct solution, I guess it will be a real blow for Williams if they have to remove that one as well from their FW35…

      • Not too sure about that: article 3.15 that is dealing with the aerodynamic influence of any part of the car that has to be rigidly secured to the sprung part of the car provides for an exception for the ducts described in article 11.4 and I think that this section is dealing with the brake ducts?

        • You are of course correct, 3.15 excludes the brake ducts. I think that this is another case of sloppy regulation writing. The drive shaft covers now being used by several teams would seem to be contrary to: Must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom). What is your opinion?

          One must also look at 10.2.2 Any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the suspension system is forbidden. TJ13 mentioned that the Merc and I think RB suspensions are hydraulically cross connected, is that powered or left at atmospheric pressure? (it may well work with no power input or pump.)

  3. I find Renault/Lotus’ attitude odd – surely when a new reg., or adjustment to existing reg., occurs it is ‘for ever’ until over-ridden by a newer reg. When Murray’s fan-car was outlawed (for example) Brabham didn’t reintroduce it the following year…
    I just find this thinking infantile – as in a child being refused further sweets today, while assuming there will be more tomorrow…
    Am I missing something here…?

    • A big cock-up? They could have sought clarification prior to the teams exhaust designs but either didn’t think of it or are trying it on.

      The argument is that the ruling was (pick your mapping from one of those you used in the first 4 races – and use that.

      The words ‘hereon and forever’ may have assisted

      Now Renault argues this process is valid again in 2013 – run 4 maps over the first 4 races and then pick one for the rest of the year.

      This was clearly not intended when the ruling was made.

    • It was not the regs but another of the “clarifications” which seem now to do the job of filling in the holes in poorly written regulations. As to their validity this year, it entirely depends upon their wording, but it’s all secret so intensely frustrating to everyone, not least the teams. If they wanted to make them permanent, then they could have added them to this year’s regs, so the default must be that they do not apply this year. The engine, maps in question last year were not for off throttle blowing, but for altering the torque in a non progressive manner at low revs, thought to give RB an artificial traction control effect.

      Both the Caterham exhaust guide and the wraparound Williams tube were stymied again not by the regs, but by an additional interpretation of them by Charlie or his men in a secret clarification.
      It is the job of the team designers to utilise every possible means of exploiting the regs in as an extreme way as possible. There is no “Spirit of the regs”, no intent, only the word. However, intent and effect can be written into the regs and might save a few very clumsy paras re engine maps.

      The very fact that these “clarifications” are now being issued, is an indictment of those who wrote the regs, it is totally unforgivable that teams spend many millions making cars to the regs only to have them effectively unofficially (and as far as I can see illegally) re-written so as to exclude innovation. Interpretation of a phrase is one thing, but effectively adding new regs without any of the proper procedure is quite another.

      • I take all your points and, as ever, grateful for them…
        I can remember when ‘spirit of the regs.’ did seem to exist but those days are certainly long gone…
        I had an idea one morning in the shower… If the regs. wish to prevent all such usage of exhaust gases why not have a simple reg. that states:
        ‘All tailpipe(s) must end 1cm behind ANY other part of the car.’
        i.e. if you gently reverse the car into a perpendicular ‘wall’ the first part to make contact should be the end of the tailpipe… 😉

        • I think they should design regs to make it harder to go fast – try this one…

          ‘All tailpipe(s) must now be called ‘front pipes’ and extend 1cm beyond the front of ANY other part of the car. The exhaust gases must exit at a 90 degree angle forward of the central axis line of the car from front to back.’

          Could be points for most innovative dashboard gadget too. If female drivers are coming – auto lipstick applicator for Penelope would be handy? 😀

          • Wasn’t intended to be – when I commented I was killing myself laughing over Ecclestones latest quotes about Mexico (soon to be published) so was rather intoxicated. Did I not put a smile on there? Oops no I didn’t – corrected now.

            No offence intended BJF

        • I suppose they did try in as much as the last 100mm of the tailpipe is defined as pointing upwards and outwards and must be in a certain area. However it was clearly expected that the upwards angle would preclude floor blowing but may allow beam wing or even upper wing blowing, hence the invisible cone. However both the Williams and the Caterham systems could be within the regs as written. But it is the same as every year, “We didn’t think of that, lets see if we can get it declared illegal,” that’s the game!

    • I suspect its a diversion tactic to take attention away from other parts of the car. Lotus were working on a Passive DRS and Red Bull had the most to lose with DRS being limited this year. Coincidence?

      • There is nothing wrong with “passive” DRS if switched on and off by non moving systems eg air pressure fluid switching. The main problem was getting the airflow to re-attach when it turns off. This is a tad important as otherwise cars will go straight on at the end of all straights.

  4. Hi Judge, I’m probably blind, but I can’t see the part of your article referring to Brawn staying at Merc

  5. As a seasoned F1 race goer, since 1982 in fact, I find it extraordinary that both Mercedes and Renault have had to publicly state that the new turbo engines are going to be “loud”
    I have to assume they are appeasing the fans that have come into the sport post 1988.
    I well remember the years between 1982 and 1988 and the spectacle of F1 cars at full speed.
    I have been scanning old F1 photos from various tests and races I have been to and found some I took from the Brabham straight at Brands Hatch in 1986. This was the start/finish line.
    To this day, I still get chills up my spine at the power from these cars which shook the very ground I stood on as they passed. As to the noise, it was a more guttural sound than multi cylinder engnes, but it shook your organs in the same manner as bass speakers at a concert.
    Personally I can’t wait.

    • Hi herowassenna

      It was to counter our glorious leader’s propoganda campaign that the lack of pitch and revs of the new engines would downgrade the fans experience who attend a race weekend.

      And then he kills ‘Fanvision’ Mmm.

  6. Judge, might be an idea to do an article on Merc’s chiefs (no point looking at Indians, there are none). You’ve got:
    Bob Bell: From Tech Dir at Renault Tech Dir at Merc (Fine)
    Aldo Costa: From Tech Dir at Ferrari, Chief Engineer at Merc. I assume same role as Ferrari before he was Tech Dir, i.e. car designer. (Fine)
    Nick Fry: What was his role EVER? What does he do? Why is he still there?
    Niki Lauda: Don’t get me started on him!
    Geoff Willis: From Tech Dir at RBR and HRT, Technology Dir at Merc. (What does that mean?)
    Toto Wolff: Motorsport Dir but they try to present him at Marketing Director in a way.

    Man I feel for Lewis!

    • Don’t worry about Lewis – they’ve got him hard studying away for his doctorate – then he’ll be Steering Wheel Director.

      Great idea for an article though – it’ll have to wait until I can either just focus on writing alone or get some research help.

    • Great idea. Somebody has got to do it and it doesn’t look as if anyone within Mercedes is clear on who is doing what these days since their website remains deafening silent on Lauda and Wolff. It still mentions Norbert Haug though, so if you ask me they need at least one more chief for e-communications…

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