TJ13 observed when the news came through of Red Bull’s refusal to obey the fuel flow rate prescribed by the FIA – as measured by the Gill sensor during the Australian GP, that something greater was afoot.
It has been suggested that Daniel Ricciardo may still have finished 4th or 5th with the fuel rate turned down, so the decision of his team to act the way they did and lose 10-12 certain points appeared most strange.
The ongoing fuel flow debate and the details which have dripped into the public domain make it almost certain, the under powered Renault engine will get an incremental boost in performance should the fuel flow regulations be scrapped and may deliver a quicker route back to parity with Mercedes.
This issue together with the supposed fans revolt against the noise of the new V6 Turbo engines has dominated the column inches of F1 publications including this one. This is despite several surveys which demonstrate the majority of fans are not concerned by the change in engine tone and that in fact there are positive benefits to the reduction in sound.
Today, Renault have commented on the topic of engine sound. Renault’s head of track operations, Remi Taffin, told Autosport that F1 is stuck with the current sound unless there are changes in the engine regulations.
“There’s nothing you can do with exhaust profiling,” explains the Frenchman, “because again you’ve got both exhaust pipes running into the same tailpipe after it has run through the turbo, so it is what it is.”
As TJ13 has commented previously, noise is wasted energy, and one of the reasons there is a sound reduction in the new F1 engines is due to the Turbo. By re-circulating the exhaust gasses, energy is extracted and the sound is muffled by the spinning turbine.
Taffin’s latest comments unsurprisingly take a swipe at the fuel flow regulations in particular, and without change here, the engine sound cannot be improved.
“We went from 18,000 rpm to something like 12,000 this year. It’s important to say it’s based on the regulations, because they set 15,000rpm as a maximum, but the fuel flow limitation means the maximum we’re running, whether it’s a Ferrari, a Mercedes, or a Renault, is 12,000 and at the end of the straight it could be 10 or 11,000.
This makes a very big difference, because last year it was 18,000. Now where you’ve got grandstands it’s something like 10,000”.
Clearly Remi believes he has found the Holy Grail for those offended by the new sound of F1. “If you want to have a different noise you have to go up on revs, but there would be no point going up on revs if you don’t look at the fuel flow, because you would have to get the fuel flow up. But then you bring your efficiency down.” he added.
So the FIA should scrap its flagship policy of a more efficient F1; increase the fuel flow rates and increase the amount of fuel the cars can run? Then hey Presto!!! We have more noise – and co-incidentally, more competitive Renault teams.
Considering, Renault demanded a change from the V8 engines to the more commercially useful V6 Turbo’s, it is shameless that they and their ‘works team’ Red Bull are undermining the new Formula 1, in some vain short termist attempt to regain parity with Mercedes and Ferrari.
The FIA need to stand firm on this matter and re-state that the technical rules cannot be altered mid-season, otherwise the fairness of the sporting competition is fundamentally undermined.
The effect of changing the rules mid-season was clear from 2013. It may be the case Red Bull would have won the championship running the Pirelli mark I tyres, however, their incessant lobbying of the FIA and consistent media campaign designed to influence public opinion fed the belief that it was they who were a deciding force in effecting the tyre regulation change.
This merely gave rise to accusations that Vettel and Red Bull may not have won their 2013 F1 titles, which forever for many will sully their record breaking achievements.
There is a ‘Battle Royal’ being fought behind the scenes as today Il Padrino flies in today for private meetings with Bernie Ecclestone in London. James Allen notes, “Montezemolo has criticised the new hybrid F1 as “Formula Noia” (Formula Boredom) with drivers not pushing to the limit for energy management reasons, incomprehensible rules around fuel flow meters and not enough noise to impress on TV or in the stands”.
Mercedes and their F1 customers will soon feel the force of their competitors’ demands for change, and change now. This is hardly surprising as they occupy the first, second, fourth and fifth places in the Constructors’ Championship and a joint total of 150 points from two races.
It may be the case that the Mercedes F1 team runs away with the championship, which is bad for the TV audience in the latter end of the season. It may be that Sebastian and Red Bull fail to grasp a record breaking fifth consecutive world titles and it may be that the all conquering Renault F1 engine manufacturer of the V8 era is for a season eating much humble pie.
Yet to bow to the threats of Mateschitz and Marko to withdraw from F1; to appease a fictitious majority who want more noise; to shorten the races as is the present whim of Maranello; and to fail to uphold the governances and sporting fairness of F1 will simply mean; the last purpose of…. and remnants of respect for the FIA will exist no more.