Hippo’s View From The Water Hole: A Lament About The State of The #F1 Community


The gavel wielding one and myself often find ourselves in disagreement over the team that has won the last four world championships. In his view they are the devil incarnate with the only goal of wrecking the career of his bromantic love interest from down under. As a result news about them authored by the wig-wearing one often requires a pinch of salt to be palatable, as do mine on the same topic.

I’m not exactly unbiased in that regard either. I think the men in blue, purple, violet or whatever they choose to paint their cars like this year, are a cool bunch, who have achieved – in just 8 years – what big manufacturers like BMW and Toyota tried to achieve in vain – they creamed the lot something fierce. And, having seen him climb the ladder through the junior formulae, I think that Sebastian Vettel is every bit as good as Schumacher was in his prime. If reactions all over the interwebs are any indication, that opinion makes me, Idi Amin.

One of the perks of being a regular contributor is knowing in advance what will come out soon and some hours after this article goes live the gavel wielding one will declare that Red Bull’s ‘win at all costs’ attitude is a thing of the past and all other teams are now meeting regularly in a field of daffodils, singing Kumbaya, drawing up plans on how to make peace in the middle east and work for the good of the sport. Excuse me for a moment to return to the pond and laugh my fat backside off.

He demands Red Bull to adhere to a standard that no other team meets. The very same attitude exists in each and every team. Ferrari tested their F1 engine in a LaFerrari testbed to circumvent the testing ban, when Mercedes had their little illegal three day tutoring lesson with Pirelli last year they ran Hamilton and Rosberg with neutral gear and fake helmets to save them from being found out. How does that exactly fit into the judge’s new and shiny communist hippy equal-opportunity brigade that has allegedly taken over from the cut-throat warriors of yesteryear?

Force India was the last team to veto the tyre change in 2013 because it gave them an advantage, only when Fernando Alonso was nearly killed by debris only missing his head narrowly at 300 kph did they see no chance to uphold their obstruction. Kumbaya, Fellas!

We’ve been told, ad nauseam, how Mercedes took the plunge and turned down their engine, claiming to have lost half a second per lap. So effin’ what? They still won by 30 seconds with Nico Rosberg spending half the race with his finger up his nose. I doubt Red Bull would have had much of a problem turning down Seb and Mark’s cars late last season as they slapped the opposition into the middle of next week anyway. It’s a token gesture. They would not have done so if the competition had been even remotely close.

How much did different teams have to turn down their engines to make the fuel-flow-Münchhausens read something that pleased the powers that be? Was it the same for everyone? Did some have to turn down more than others? Could some even turn the wick up, because the sensor read too low values? We were not given any numbers. Could the appeal force these numbers in the open? Is that perhaps what Red Bull is intending with the appeal? We will see.

While I concur with many that RB chose a rather rash method to go up against the authorities, I have some sympathy for them and that is not necessarily rooted in my non-standard stance towards them. It’s rooted in my personal history. I was one of the nutters, who protested against the East German Government in 1989 and we didn’t play nice, refusing to bend over the nearest piece of furniture because the authorities said so. We asked for a reason, they didn’t have any and even though they had the AK-47s and we had none – they lost.

Race control tried to hand down an arbitrary disadvantage with no chance for the team to make sure that others were disadvantaged to the same degree. The organizers basically were unable to govern their own rule. Mercedes happily complied with the arbitrary decision, safe in the knowledge that they would win even with a hand tied behind their backs. RB didn’t enjoy that luxury, so they went for broke. They had the choice to lose the podium because of a lobotomized engine or to a disqualification. They chose the risky approach. Is that really damaging to the sport?

If they are wrong and the FIA proves they indeed were above the 100kg/h limit, they deserve to go down in flames. If they prove they were within the limits, it’ll be the FIA, who has damaged the sport, because they handed out arbitrary performance penalties because they were unable to govern their own rules and only one team stood up to it. In that case, even if Red Bull looses the appeal, the FIA will be the real losers.

One thing that never really rang true for me is the level of vitriol directed at the Austro-English team that bought the remnants of the pathologically mediocre Jaguar team and turned it into a winning combination. That included rejuvenating Adrian Newey’s muse, who seemed to have dumped him for someone younger and/or richer. The former March, Williams and McLaren designer had been beaten by the likes of Rory Byrne, Mike Gascoyne and others for 10 years on the trot until he went on to design the last four winning cars.

But Red Bull have committed a most heinous crime apparently – winning too much. It makes for an eye-opening experience to go on an internet site and read the 2008 and 2009 archives at autosport.com or f1rejects.com. The same people that were gushing over a certain Sebastian Vettel or Red Bull taking the fight to a seemingly unbeatable Brawn GP car, are the same that now fill the cheap seats and declare with disgust that Mr. Vettel eats little children for breakfast and that Christian Horner has a habit of kicking puppies.

The level of misinformation surrounding Red Bull Racing simply boggles the mind. Confront anyone about the stark difference of their opinion – then and now – and you’ll get lousy odds at the betting booth for one of these three answers being given, usually all three:

1st: “Wing-Gate”

Who could forget an obviously angry Mark Webber slamming his glass of water on the table during the post-qualifying press conference at the 2010 British GP. What had happened? Red Bull had brought 2 new front-wings. Vettel had wrecked his by throwing his car at the landscape and the nefarious ne’er do goods gave Webbo’s new shiny wing to Vettel, while poor slighted Mark had the old one nailed back to his car. It was so bad compared to the new one, Mark accidentally won the race with it.

What any non German speaker didn’t know was – they’d been played, expertly. I watched the post-qualy presser with the Hippo-rendition of WTF painted firmly on my big-mouthed face. Just minutes before Mark had dictated into the microphones of German broadcaster RTL that the decision was made because while he didn’t feel much difference between the two wing variants, Vettel found the new one better. If anything, he said, it induced a slight understeer he didn’t like. Yet scant minutes later he performed a ridiculous theater as if the boys had been intimate with his missus.

So what is the truth? Had Mark lied to RTL or to the wider public in the press conference? It is hard to decide, but I would venture to say that it lies somewhere in between. If the race performance was any indication, I’d say Mark was quite happy with the old wing. What he really wanted is keeping the new one from Vettel, because the German liked it more as it was more suitable to his driving style. But that’s of course only my opinion. The case is clearly not as black-or-white as is often made out, but it will be thrown in your face if you dare not join the chorus lamenting the nefarious and dastardly methods in the Red Bull camp. They would probably have fared better by, lets say, breaking a seal on some gearbox or something.

2nd: Multi21

We probably discussed that one ad nauseam, yet it is still presented as a reason of proving the team’s nefarious clobbering of poor Mark. That it was just payback for the exact same offense in swapped roles at the 2011 British GP is usually conveniently omitted, even though Webber had openly bragged to the media about it.

Horner looked like a blithering idiot in both cases as he was unable to handle his quarreling drivers, yet you will usually find that argument is used to pile the dirt on Vettel, rather than the team.

3rd: Thou dost win too much

This is my favorite. People claiming that RB damages the sport by doing what they are participating for in the first place – doing the best job. I doubt Williams fans remember 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997 as the years in which F1 came close to dying, nor will the McLaren fans remember the 1998 and 1999 seasons with any sort of horror. Were the Tifosi worried about F1 between 2000 and 2004 – hardly. That’s the short attention span of people these days. Never mind that two of Vettel’s titles went right down to the last race and were won by a single digit number of points. Never mind that 2012 saw more winners in a single season than in the last 30 years. No – Red Bull damages the sport.

Double your standards

The whole problem with this is, that many fans have two standards – one for the team they like, one for those they don’t like. If Dave Ryan orders Lewis Hamilton to lie to the Stewards to gain an undeserved 3rd place, that’s ok. If Red Bull decides that they do not follow Charlie Whitings request to turn down their already hopeless engine to cater for a wonky fuel-flow-meter, that’s arrogant and deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

If Ferrari decides they know better how to measure their barge boards than the FIA does and appeal their disqualification, they’re clever. If Red Bull thinks they have the better means to measure the fuel-flow and appeal their disqualification, they bring the sport into disrepute.

What ever happened to people, who can see F1 for what it is – 10 or more ultra-competitive teams trying to use every loophole there is? Just look at the phallic-noses of the ’14 cars. That’s certainly not what the rule-makers had in mind when they authored the new rules, yet I hear nobody lambasting the teams for building contraptions that shouldn’t be shown before the 9pm watershed and which only just satisfy the technical requirements.

F1 is turning into football on wheels (note to Americans: I’m talking about real football, not hand-egg). You root for your team and everyone else deserves to die. It is acceptable to boo and whistle like someone, who’s been taught all his social skills by a bunch of apes and anybody that is not wearing the correct colors deserves to be insulted. I’m waiting for the first riots. Maybe people will learn when fans of team A have been beaten into a bloody pulp by fans of team B – just because. It already happens verbally in a forum near you.

What goes around, comes around

As a result of such antics we are getting the sort of comments from drivers that will then be lambasted by the peanut gallery in a self-righteous hissy-fit. ‘Balls in pool’ anyone? Mother of God did they have a field day with that.

Everybody who has had the chance to meet Sebastian Vettel will agree with me that in terms of personality, he beats the pants off many of his predecessors. Humble, funny, approachable – those are the words that spring to mind when I remember the two times I’ve been able to talk to him personally. Yet, how come he gets tempted to make such a seemingly arrogant statement?

As always, it is the context that makes the difference. The answer was given after the interviewer had reminded him for the umpteenth time that most people were of the opinion that it wasn’t him that was winning; it was the car. There you have a young man, who worked his way up through junior formulae, gave both Red Bull teams their first wins, won 3 world titles, beating 5(!) former world champions and a team mate in the same car along the way and some hack comes along telling him that he is basically useless if it wasn’t for an über-superior car.

What in the name of all that’s holy is the man supposed to say? Agree with the sentiment? Such a statement is outrageous. How long will a driver take such abuse until he thinks to himself: ‘Well if they all think I’m a pr*ck, I may just as well act like one’.

Vettel has a very specific problem. He has quite a good grasp on the English language, but he tends to translate German phrases literally that subsequently don’t work in English. The ‘balls in pool’ metaphor was a play on the German phrase ‘sich die Eier schaukeln’, (lit: letting your balls swing), which means resting on one’s laurels or not being bothered with something. What he alluded to was the fact that the dominant RB9 was not the result of the tooth fairy having a generous day. It was the hard work of many people and that included him. All other teams had by that time already hoisted the white flag and couldn’t be bothered with their 2013 challengers anymore.

Vettel learned his approach to F1 from Schumacher. Like the other German serial champion he lacks, to a degree, the natural and instinctual talent of a Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton or Ayrton Senna. He is fast, but not necessarily naturally fast. What he lacks in natural speed, he makes up for by hard work. He spends hours in the simulator, something that according to Felipe Massa, Fernando couldn’t quite be bothered with last year. He stays with the mechanics until late in the night in order to be in the loop about everything.

If you then go on for eternity telling him that he gets gifted everything he has achieved, be prepared to get an unfavorable answer after the 10th repetition.

And if you’re a F1 ‘fan’, for whom the whole shebang is utter crap, because it wasn’t your driver, but one of the other 23 that won, then you may be watching the wrong sport. Sometimes a 2nd place is much more exciting than a win, or did you expect Danny boy to even finish after winter testing?

83 responses to “Hippo’s View From The Water Hole: A Lament About The State of The #F1 Community

  1. Boring. Fallacious argument. All teams were (supposed to be) subject to the same disadvantage: that being the FIA-mandated FFM. I don’t find this article thought-provoking.

    • To clarify: I thought the judge’s post about tyre-gate last year was absolutely seminal. I mean, I was physically tingling afterwards as I basked in the insight and new angles that had been presented us.
      This is just unmedicated-fanboy rambling, sorry.

    • Then answer me one question: Mercedes allegedly reduced max fuel flow from 100kg/h to 96 kg/h to make the sesor show 100. What number should RB have reduced to? 97 or would they have needed to reduce to 95 kg/h per hour to satisfy the sensor? They didn’t give out a fixed number by which the fuel-flow had to be reduced. They mandated that fuel-flow had to be reduced as far as neccessary for the sensor to show a value below 100kg/h. That was not neccessarily the same value for all teams.

      • Again, I can’t be clearer: ALL TEAMS HAD THE SAME MANDATE.
        When the FIA says make your front wing 1000mm wide, you pick a safe number that is not going to be more than the tolerance in scrutineering. You might choose 998mm or you might roll the dice on 1002mm, but it’s the same rule for everyone because it’s the FIA’s tape measure that counts.

        • If the width of the front wing is measured, they are all measured using the same device. Meaning a 998 mm front-wing on a Williams will be the same witdth as a 998 mm front wing on a Sauber, because the very same device is used to measure them. The fuel-flow however is measure by 24 different devices, devices that have been proven to be patently unreliable in both F1 and WEC. You are comparing apples to oranges.

          • No, I was using an analogy. In my analogy, red bull threw the FIA measuring stick away and said they were going to use their own. All the other teams used the FIA measuring stick, tolerances and all.

          • That’s where we disagree, CTP. If the FIA say a front wing can be 1000mm wide, a 1000mm wide front wing should be legal. Declaring a 999mm fornt wing illegal because FIA can’t measure it reliably is absurd at best. there are no error tolerances written in the rules, which means a fuel-flow of 100kg/h is perfectly legal, but FIA decided to mandate 95 in violation of their own rules because they can’t mesure it. That’s ridiculous.

      • “Then answer me one question: Mercedes allegedly reduced max fuel flow from 100kg/h to 96 kg/h to make the sesor show 100. What number should RB have reduced to? 97 or would they have needed to reduce to 95 kg/h per hour to satisfy the sensor?”

        It is irrelevant. The sensor is the measuring stick (+ or – the tolerance). It doesn’t matter if the sensor sets the playing field at 97kg/h (+/- tolerance) or at 103kg/h (+/- tolerance), notwithstanding the nominal 100kg/h written in the regulations. What matters is that all drivers have standard, very similarly calibrated “speedometers”.

        The tolerance may not be in the regs, but it is an unfortunate fact of real-life. No one knows how much a kilogram weighs—not unless you define it with reference to natural constants [ http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21569360-better-way-clean-worlds-one-true-kilogram-mass-effect and http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2013/01/economist-explains-why-kilogram-getting-heavier ]—let alone how correctly the FIA’s weight-bridge is calibrated or how much an actual F1 car, driver and all, actually weighs. But you don’t hear many F1 teams bitching about it: they all suck up the tolerance, shed their own weight-measuring devices, and submit to the one used by the authorities. (Ever passed an airport baggage check where their weight measurement is different from the one you did at home?)

        The FFM technology may not be perfect, could be improved or even switched altogether, but crying wolf after one race is no way to go. The FIA is trying to put in place the technology as best as they can, given the constraints. This happens every time, everywhere, and anyone in a position to govern will know how difficult a process this can be at times.

        Red Bull may or may not be guilty of having went above the 100kg/h limit, but—to use a useful analogy—they are certainly guilty of having refused to pull over when the police put on their sirens and demanded over the loud-speakers for the driver to pull over. They disobeyed a direct order from the authorities. (The Communist Germany arguments are touching, but not necessarily pertinent.) They could have pulled over and argued in court their case (i.e. use the formal FIA appeals process for badly calibrated devices), but instead they decided to hit the accelerator pedal; in some countries you may even get yourself a stray bullet for that. People are railing against Red Bull and call them arrogant precisely for this: like a spoiled brat, they first refused to obey their mother head-on, and then started to kick and shout when they got punished.

        • ‘No one knows how much a kilogram weighs’

          Really? My wife does. She knows precisely how much I have put on whenever I stop training.

          Amirite married men? Hell yes!

        • “The sensor is the measuring stick (+ or – the tolerance). It doesn’t matter if the sensor sets the playing field at 97kg/h (+/- tolerance) or at 103kg/h (+/- tolerance)”

          That’s an interesting point. If the FFM was reading 103kg/h – would Red Bull have used their own equipment to run at the 100kg/h the rules state is required?

      • Christian Horner stated, that they along with everyone else have had problems with the sensors all weekend. Now I’m assuming, they all had technical briefings with the FIA all related issues. So the issues with the sensors was discussed and thus a backup was put in place and agreed by all the teams, that if the problem persisted, then the FIA approved default setting would be used to bring everyone in line with the regs. Because I’d assume, all the teams had to agree to the use of the default setting in advance

        So now, why did redbull decide to go against that agreement? Why didn’t they say at the meeting, that they’re method of measuring the FF, was more accurate and thus felt that the default settings would affect them greatly?

        I again assume that all the teams, had their own way of accurately measuring their FF, but still chose to adhere to the FIA’s default setting.

        This reeks of arrogance on their part, so for Horner to come out and say, that it is “immature technology”, is even further evidence of arrogance. The new PU is immature technology in F1 along with brake by wire system, so it will take time to fully develop. But during that time, the rules still needs to be adhered to.

  2. I definitely agree with the last statement – that sometimes a second place can be more exciting than a win…

    We were at the race and we were so euphoric with Daniel’s second place – it was just amazing after all the trouble they had in testing that he finished the race at all let alone in second! Too bad were were all thrown into the depths of depression the next morning…

    It was an interesting read – I’m not sure I agree with everything but I agree with your right to say it:) I do think that few issues are black or white – the truth is somewhere in amongst all the shades of grey…

    • Thanks for the sentiment, Jennie. Even though I’m German and am sort of happy for Nico and his win, Danny’s and Valteri Bottas’ drives were much more exciting to watch.

      • We were cheering Bottas all the way – he was so exciting to watch! Even though Kimi is my favourite driver I so enjoyed seeing Bottas pass him – I do think i am in the category of preferring exciting racing over having any specific person win…

        Also, Nico is half Finnish:) In our family competition tipping competition I had him down for the win so I was happy, but it wasn’t that exciting…whereas with Daniel…

        • Thank you Jennya! Another person who gets what F1 racing is, drivers wheel to wheel, who cares who wins so long as it was a good well fought race, on the track, in the pits and on the pit-wall. The winner to me is not completely, but nearly immaterial.

          • Which is why I got up at 3 am to watch the last race in Brazil last year and my husband didn’t….he was tired of Vettel winning whereas just the racing in itself was enough for me…

  3. What happens if, at the next 2 races ALL the teams decide to use their own internal fuel model rather than rely on the FIA sensor? RedBull are pretty sure they can prove their calculations are correct, of this I don’t doubt (otherwise they are doomed from the start). If the other teams think they can measure their fuel flow more accuratly and in turn, gain a small advantage, they may well give it a go too? If all teams did it, how could the FIA give them all a race ban or DSQ all of them, that would make the whole chuffin’ shooting match a complete farce, so what to do?

    • If it was for me, all teams should tell FIA where to shove it. All three engine manufacturers built their engines to work best at the limits written in the rules. Only for FIA to move the goal posts because they are unable to govern their own rules with substandard equipment. If you require people to perform a task within an hour, you better have a clock able to tell you how long an hour actually is.

      • I hear ya Hippo, we are on the same page today. I would dearly love to see all the teams come to the same decision and ‘declare mutiny’ on the FIA. Right now it is the FIA looking rather silly and the teams that complied a little less, but still silly. I hope RedBull and Renault, can prove categorically their internal fuel-flow model in is accurate to significantly tighter tollerences than the ‘standard issue’ Gill sensors.
        I’m looking forward to this weeks race nearly as much as the season opener. This whole sage is intriguing, to say the least.

        • The thing I don’t get is that people would never put up with the police telling them that they reserve the right to bust them for doing 65mph, even if they did only 60, just because their epuipment happened to be crap. The sensors were lambasted by F1 teams and WEC teams for quite some time, so it’s not like FIA were caught unaware. It completely eludes my understanding…

          • We could see the whole Championship decide on the appeal court yet, who know what other ttechnical infringements we will get this season with the all new power units. I’m almost convinced we are going to hear something about the way the K is used to torque fill on acceleration emulating TC in effect. The most energy efficient way to accelerate is to not break traction in any way, but just be right on the edge. When does the computer decide there is too much power being delivered and reduces it slightly to keep traction. This is a question I’ve been thinking about for week or so, on one hand it could be called, being efficiently economical with the torque delivery from the K, but on the other hand is it a driver aid, if the driver can’t control it?

          • Good point, ClearView – it reminded me of:
            “Open the airlock door, HAL…”
            “Sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.”

          • @Clear View

            The generated torque at the rear drive shafts has to be directly in proportion to the driver’s power pedal (accelerator) position taking the selected gear into account.

            The adjustment the ECU has to make is that as the K output increases (due to H output increasing or team programming to use ES energy), the ECU reduces the ICE fuelling accordingly.

            WOT (full pedal depression) is a special case were you can send all your available energy (or whatever limit the team has programmed) to the rear tyres!

      • @hippo

        Can’t agree with you suggesting that the teams tell the FIA where to go. That would lead to total anarchy. Isn’t the real issue, that the FIA are not able to write a tight set of rules. Which means that they have to make things up as they go along.

  4. That is a very long rant, but the truth remains. Red Bull were caught with a colourful self serving interpretarion of the rules, cheating, as they say. And now they want to get away with it.

    • Red Bull have not been proven to be cheating. So far their only ‘crime’ is not accepting a performance penalty they consider arbitrary and unjust. It is FIA’s job to prove that RB really exceeded the 100 kg/h fuel-flow limit. That was after all the grounds on which they demanded that RB reduce their fuel-flow. It that was to be proven wrong, they would be guilty of unjustly influencing the result of a race. FIA can still insist on their seemingly unfair rules to be applied by force, but so far there is no reliable data source which proves that RB have exceeded the limits set by the rules, we only have whitings claim that the sensor said so – there haven’t been any data published so far.

      • Categorically i must deny your assertion. The DQ is a finding of guilt by the stewards which RB are appealing. Proving that they did not exceed the rate of 100kg per hour will not exonerate them as the rules for appealing the calibration are set out and were not followed by RB.

        In other words every word you have written is in essence a straw man argument (well written, nonetheless) as the issue once again is not so much that the meters were or weren’t performing to spec (so far, no one has claimed they were not properly calibrated save RB and they have yet to offer any evidence other than their word that this is the case) but that RB agreed to race under a certain set of rules and unilaterally decided it was OK for them to change their mind during a race.

  5. It’s more the measurement of the rules rather than the interpretation of the rules though…

        • I cannot remember ever having to stoop as low as to call you an asshole – even in italian – so why do you, cav?

          • nothing like the smell of ad hom in the morning…

            ***Takes a big deep breath in***

            Ahhh, minty fresh.

          • That a hoot coming from someone who routinely labels posters as wankers, referred to where I live a some shithole of a country and threatened to cause havoc with me on the internet because you had access to my IP address through the judge13 website. So spare me the faux indignation.

          • “…and threatened to cause havoc with me on the internet because you had access to my IP address through the judge13 website.”

            Ahhh the ol’ ‘got your IP so watch out’ trick.

            Dani, you naughty, naughty boy. I didn’t know you had it in you… Though I must admit that threat can work on the inept, but you and I both know the only ‘cool’ things you can do using an IP usually results in outcomes ranging from being put on a govt. watch list to prosecution.

            Tsk tsk tsk. And I thought you were a fine upstanding German hardware programmer. 😉

          • First of all, I never threatened cav. I told someone, who came in every now and then, posted insulting comments and left. Ok, that description would also fit for cav, but it wasn’t he. I told that poster that despite his changing of emails, we had his IP and he wouldn’t like what we could do with it (namely banning it). Then someone accused be of threatening to hack the toad, which was never the intention. I have better things to waste my scarce spare time with

          • ***Scud Mac backs away slowly remembering what happened to the last person who last got inbetween a German and Italian having a scratch match***

    • Thanks CV – that was a very interesting read…

      Determining if Red Bull’s engine calibration and software were measuring their fuel flow accurately appears to be even harder than trying to determine if the flow sensor was measuring it accurately…

      They’re all inaccurate to a certain percentage, but without the flow sensor it’s up to the individual teams to measure their own fuel rates, which have to be carefully calibrated, and so there is a far greater risk of teams “calibrating” their own engine/software in a favorable way for themselves…

      • I thought the fuel flow restrictions were introduced to limit the speed of the cars. Why is this necessary? I am sure we have the best drivers in F1. I am sure they are not suicidal. Therefore they will drive to the limit of grip and not beyond it, or they will not finish races. I think it would be much better just to restrict the amount of fuel, as they have done, to make the engine manufacturers make more efficient powertrains, and to remove the fuel flow limitations. That way we wont have any need for this debacle to continue.

    • A paper titled “Characterizing Injection System Behaviour under Real
      Operating Conditions” authored by a group of experts from a German company called AVL that specialises in instrumentation and test system was presented in 2009 to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London.

      The paper addresses the problems associated with direct injection engine ECU controlled calibration errors and although the measurements were made on a diesel engine, the high pressure layouts used in the current F1 engines are very comparable.

      Here is a overview:-

      Whereas in a NA engine, fuel injection is accomplished by a single pulse of the injector per combustion stroke, in direct injection several pulses are required to generate an efficient fuel/air mix in the cylinder.

      Incidentally, the F1 tech. spec. limits the pulse count to five.

      The paper demonstrates how the relative timing of the pulse sequences interact with, among other things, shock waves in the high pressure fuel lines and the increasing pressure in the cylinder.

      The paper shows results for various measurement configurations, but there is a summary for one configuration of two initial injection pulses (pilot pulses) followed by the main injection pulse, which illustrates the magnitude of errors that are encountered.

      The statement refers to injection quantity for the first injection but doesn’t state the quantity – it is actually 2 cubic millimetres.

      The second injection quantity, although it has the same duration as they first injection, varies in quantity between 3.2 and 1.4 cubic millimetres depending upon its timing, and the main injection quantity varies between 14.6 and 9.8 cubic millimetres. As a result the total injection quantity, which in theory should be no more than 16 cubic millimetres, varies between 19.6 and 14.9 cubic millimetres.

      That is an error of [B]- 6.87% to +22.55%![/B]

      Additionally from the graph which shows the measurements, it is evident that the 16 cubic millilitres is exceeded more than 60% of the time.

      The statements continues –

      These effects are complex and cannot easily be compensated during
      calibration on the engine. Correction factors are available, but these must be calibrated for each injection system, as the wave effects are products of the physical geometry of the systems as well as the preceding injections.

      This implies that to get an accurate ECU calculated value, it would be necessary to apply a correction factor to every injection pulse for every cylinder for every different injection timing – where have RBR / Renault derived this information from?

      The first time that the Renault engine ran reliably was the friday pre the race!

      CH stated in his press interview that “the FFM was an immature product”, although we know it had been used during all the winter tests and the teams (presumably those with working engines!) had been working with Gill / FIA to optimise its’ performance.

      Which is the more immature product and on the balance of probabilities less / more liable to give an accurate reading?

      • So it seems unlikely that the data Red Bull have based their fuel flow on has been carefully calibrated and has a higher chance of being accurate than the FIA sensor…

        • I would estimate less than 10%, however it is probably irrelevant!

          RB were referred to the stewards for exceeding flow rate ( Article 5.1.4).

          However the stewards made a ruling on two transgressions –

          Offence Breach of Article 3.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations.

          Being in breach of either of the two articles would result in a DSQ – they didn’t need to rule they transgressed in both.

          The stewards only made a judgement on Article 3.2 – there is no mention whatsoever in their judgement findings about Article 5.1.4!

          10)       Under Art. 3.2 of the Sporting Regulations it is the duty of the  team to ensure compliance with the Technical Regulations throughout the Event.
          Thus the Stewards find that:
          A)        The team chose to run the car using their fuel flow model, without direction from the FIA. This is a violation of the procedure within TD/ 016­14.
          B)        That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1, it remains the homologated and required sensor against which the team is obliged to measure their fuel flow, unless given permission by the FIA to do otherwise.
          C)        The Stewards were satisfied by the explanation of the technical representative that by making an adjustment as instructed, the team  could have run within the allowable fuel flow.
          D)        That regardless of the team’s assertion that the sensor was fault, it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA.
          The Stewards find that Car 3 was out of compliance with the Technical Regulations and is therefore excluded from the results of the race.

          I think it is very relevant that in the document the stewards attached their finding to point 10, to emphasise that the ruling applied to Article 3.2.

          For RB to introduce evidence on measurement accuracy to the court, they must first plead mitigating circumstances as to why they did not comply to Article 3.2.

          That is a mountain to climb!

      • @TheEngineer I posted a comment on today’s news based on a dissertation entitled “An Experimental Method for Determining for Cycle Resolved Pre-Combustion In-Cylinder” etc etc and though it was investigating diesel engines it listed a mean coefficient of variance for the injectors .9% at 2000 rpms and 9 BMEP which resulted in a fuel mass variance of 4% between minimum and maximum. Table 6.3

        I do believe that RB might very well try to argue accuracy (at least in the press) based on the coefficient of variability which is likely to be smaller than the number released for the FFM, even though that would be comparing apples to oranges. What also struck me was how Mercedes turning their fuel flow down to 96 kg/hr fit so neatly with these numbers. It was also interesting that in the paper (or at least the bits that were publicly accessible) the author clearly notes that a difference of just .5 degree in crankshaft angle can have a major effect on the fuel mass delivered by the injector. I really can’t see how RB can seriously make the argument based on injector data, there are just too many variables they would have to account for.

        Link: http://goo.gl/ta4Xv8

        Curious what you think if you have the time to look at it.

        • @mattpt55

          Had a quick scan, what is immediately obvious is that this is single pulse injection and all measurements appear to be steady state – not really comparable.

          It is the multi pulse injection that causes calibration problems due to the shock waves that are induced in the fuel lines and the varying cylinder pressure at each injection pulse.

          The FIA usually issue quite concise reports of appeals, hopefully they will in this case – it will make very interesting reading!

          • Thanks for that, I was looking for the most accurate measurements I could find to get an idea of what Red Bull might claim. Still curious, as even single pulse steady state readings don’t appear to be more accurate than the FIA sensor, though I understand they are not directly comparable.

            That said, it would appear that Red Bull have revealed their strategy: http://goo.gl/Ou2V2X

            They are indeed throwing their eggs into the 5.1.4 basket and ignoring 3.2 essentially saying since that 5.1.4 doesn’t require the use of the FIA sensor they were well within their rights to just use their own data. Interestingly, they seem to base their numbers on readings at the fuel rail. I did a quick google search, but have been unable to turn up any data regarding accuracy of fuel mass flow based on fuel rail.

          • 5.1.4 and 3.2 are the same. 5.1.4 says the fuel flow must be below 100kg/h and 3.2 says the competitor is responsible that the car adhere to the rules. If they can prove they didn’t break 5.1.4, they also didn’t break 3.2 as no other tech infringement was found by the scrutineers.

      • @eng

        Wow dude you really have one on for injector nozzles!!! Reading your post it would be easy to confuse the idea of fuel flow at a point of measurement upstream, with injection volume. The FFM device is in the fuel tank, and is fed from the low pressure side. Feeding it, are 2/3 low pressure scavenge pumps feeding a collector and then in to a lift pump outing at circa 4-6 bar. The FIA measurement is at a low pressure point. Also in this mix are fuel pressure regulators. Following the other thread, it took me 5 minutes and a phone to call to source a number of pressure regulators with feedback. Red Bull don’t need to look at injector flow. The data is available upstream from constant flow pump data. ie known flow rate per motor rpm against known pressure, gathered from low pressure regulators( low side of HP pump to rail), combined with voltage/current at the pump motor. The maths is simple.

        Nevertheless the rule is quite clear, and they broke it. Unless there is a gotcha in one of those technical directives that we don’t get to see.

        • I have seen some discussion of measurement at the fuel rail, but all of it involves mentioning that there is also some return of fuel as well. If that is the case, wouldn’t there need to be some allowance in your upstream measurement? I’m genuinely curious, as this is an area about which I know little. I would also be curious as to whether or not the higher pressures would tend to magnify any calibration error?

          • @mattpt55+

            What happens downstream is not considered under the FIA rules. The only consideration is the measurement at the required point in the system. Using other measurement regimes would almost certainly be less accurate than the FIA system. The question is really how much of a difference. I think we have to assume that it is probably a very small margin. Otherwise Red Bull are going to be embarrassed. The aircraft industry is really the place to find answers on this area. It’s pretty serious if a plane runs out of fuel. Also, having too much on board is a problem for the money men – extra weight more consumption. Your pressure question. Like any measurement, whatever the type, it depends, is the usual phrase. Accuracy, item tolerance, time period integration.
            Have you looked at this site:


  6. Mr. Hippo has touched on a sentiment i also sense – that Red Bull hate is some kind of cool new hobby for f1 ‘fans’ – a group of people with ‘ownership of the sport’ issues in my opinion.
    Red Bull is disavantaged by not being a historical / family team or manufacturer etc, so when they win and win repeatedly its easy to hate especially when encouraged by the pr departments of other teams. As a half-German (welshman) i can also sense anti-german sentiment a mile off, and it takes the form of requiring very little reason to hate one, so repeated consistent winning is more than enough. 😉
    Vettel has not helped himself by not going the management pr guru route, choosing to guard his privacy in a big way and generally saying what he thinks. so he does not take the journos out for dinner (e.g button, webber ) or supply the media with juicy titbits about his woman or new baby, so they too needed little encouragement to turn on him when the main story ( a vettel) wasn’t good enough copy. I hope for a little bit respect among fans, i hate no driver, not in love with any either. to be stridently hateful just speaks volumes about yourself.

    • Totally off-topic but is there a large German contingent in Wales or something? All the Welsh people I’ve met over the years have all been half German!

  7. I/m not a Red Bull or Vettel fan. I also don’t particularly dislike them.

    I think that article was spot on and I completely agree.

  8. Great stuff, oh morbidly obese one! Personally, I don’t think the whole sensor-issue is that “bad” or “evil” of RBR in the greater scheme of things. I do however wish they would stfu, bend over and take their punishment like men.

    When the flexi-wing-saga was in full swing, RBR didn’t mind using the FIA’s dodgy system for measuring wing flex. Similarly, the FIA seemed to be unable to to tell whether or not certain drivers cut chicanes or had all 4 wheels on the track. In both cases, RBR benefitted massively from the ineptitude of the FIA. I admire RBR for continually finding and exploiting these loopholes but I think that this time they should just be gracious and stfu, you can’t have it both ways!

    • I think you’re comparing apples with oranges though. The wings were measured using a pre-described method. The wings just happened to not fley at exactly the weight FIA applied.
      You see this sort of “creative interpretation of the rules” in your very green and polar bear friendly family car, which if it isn’t older than a lump of coal will satisfy the latest EU ruling on pollution. Now here’s the kicker. The pollution of your car is measured by letting the engine run at a certain rpm and then sniffing what comes out of the back. Lo and behold, your engine will have the least pollution at exactly that number of rpm. Rev a good lick higher and the number is a lot less funny for johnny polar bear.

    • And I repeat my earlier sentiment: People now saying that RB should ‘take the pubishment like men’ demand adherence to a standard from them that no other team has ever met. It’s either all of them or none. Trying to weasel your way out of a tight situation has been standard stuff in F1 since the day it was born.

      • Agreed. In the 20 years (Gawd, am I that old already?) I’ve been watching F1, team’s antics have entertained me as much as the racing has.

        Re: the FFM, as you can tell I haven’t got a clue about the mechanics involved. I just “feel” that with RBR, following the rules is a bit like pick ‘n mix.

        This doesn’t mean that other teams don’t! It just means that RBR have been caught more often indecent years. In the Netherlands we have a saying: “hoge bomen vangen veel wind.” Which loosely translates as “tall trees catch more gusts.”

        • As I have three large oak trees in my garden I love the last saying:)
          But back to the point – love the rants FH and agree with most of it but no team has the “discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA”. With the promise of zero tolerance. If the FIA had any b***s they should have shown the black flag but I would have been one of those crying for the loss of show.
          Also regarding the RB haters reasons – “Thou dost win too much” is a constant killer in any competition – no matter what era or which sport.

      • “… has been standard stuff in F1 since the day it was born.”
        Not quite, I don’t think. It wasn’t the norm during the 50’s because, when it started (with Chapman, I think) in the 60’s it was dubbed by Motoring News as, ‘The New Morality’ – i.e. if you’re not caught, you’re not guilty, and ‘honourable’ became a dirty word. Like all things known as ‘progress’ it seems to have got worse as we’ve all got older, and have perhaps forgotten what ‘the past’ actually used to be like.

  9. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.
    RB’s real issue is their totally stupid way of responding to things, not only limited to Marko.

  10. This shows what the FIA sees during a race. To determine the accuracy of the sensor all one needs is to physically measure what you start and physically measure what you finish with. If the sensor is accurate within the FIA allowed tolerance, the amount of fuel you started with less what is left at the end of the race will be equal to what the sensor has detected. If not the sensor is faulty. I suspect the FIA did this and know that the sensor was accurate. End of story.

  11. Also really liked the sentiment of this article. Let’s not get bogged down in flowgate, but rather the fact that F1 is increasingly turning into football. Let’s be honest, RBR is the villain today, but if someone else is winning the media will start to dogpile on them (unless its Hamilton…). Basically, my team is right, your team is wrong. Not sure you can ever get away from that, but it’s definitely been worse today with a non-traditional team dominating. Does everyone rail similarly against Chelsea or Man U (etc.) in the premiership for their billionaire owners trying to buy championships?

    (as an aside, am I the only one who’s noticed that 75% of all forum threads in response to an article – here or elsewhere – are about Hamilton? Maybe the problem is just that english F1 coverage is dominated by UK fans, many of which are Hamilton fanboys…)

    • Well, I didn’t go back and read all the responses again but i can’t remember Hamilton being mentioned at all in this thread:) I do remember Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas, Kimi, Alonso and Rosberg…

  12. i hope FIA win the appeal just to prove that RBR are trying to cheat, that is what i believe this is. I respect them for the money they invest in the team, and i respect Vettel (still i need to see him win in other cars then RBR’s to label him as a true champion, that’s just my way of seeing things) as a hard working relentless driver. Ferrari are the old cheaters in the sport, and this year i’m forced to root for them, but that’s how life goes. The pleasure of rooting for a driver, not a team…

Leave a Reply to Clear ViewCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.