#F1 Features: The FIA’s last stand



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.

untitledToday, 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.

untitledSo 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.

untitledThere 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.



65 responses to “#F1 Features: The FIA’s last stand

  1. I have to admit, I hate this F1 noise this season.

    Constant moaning, whining, complaining about the engine rules, the fuel flow rules, the unsafe release penalties – ALL of which were agreed by the same team(s) that are now complaining.

    THAT’S the noise I’m sick of. Shut the fuck up! 🙂

    • Agree totally – when i heard the sound on the judges videos posted from Jerez I thought “that sounds good and throaty”. But the TV sound is awful, is this deliberate to make someone’s point?

      • The sound is awful in comparison to what TJ recorded on a phone at Jerez.
        The problem is as has been highlighted here before that F1 insiders still believe they have a God-given right to access privileges and will follow the party line.
        Joe Saward is always making a point of ‘professional journalists’ etc and yet he suggested recently that this whole FFM should have been kept quiet from the public. He is one of many that doesn’t fully appreciate the power of social media.
        Five years ago we would have just assumed it was the sound coming from these cars but technology allows us to see that what is being broadcast is very different to the true story.

        But times they are a changing and the teams would do well to not use social media platforms as branding exercises and towing the party line but actually listen to them.

  2. I don’t get the feeling the FIA will change the rules this time round. There’s no “safety” card to be played, and the “green” initiative seems to be something Todt wants on his record.

    • Safety, lottery, processional, drivers can’t drive “full out”, fans are too dumb to understand.

      All reasons some losing teams drag out in recent for changing the rules in their favor.

  3. So Renault lobbied for the new power units and now that they’ve been beaten at their own game by Mercedes and Ferrari, they along with cry baby redbull are bitching?…..

    Like lauda said, “they wouldn’t be complaining if they had won the first 2 races of the season or have a merc engine in their car”

  4. I don’t know, judging by the amount of opposite lock being applied by the drivers in Sepang, they seem pretty close to the limit as is. 😀

    And though the FIA should stand firm, perhaps they should also consider hiring a decent lawyer to write their regulations, because, well, they do never specify that the Gill sensor is to be the primary measure of fuel flow unless otherwise specified by the race director or technical delegate.

    Not that I’m trying to get the job or anything, but for a modest fee…. 😉

      • Though it pains me to admit it, Ross would probably be a better choice, LOL! I would, in the manner of defense contractors everywhere, no doubt outsource the actual work to kindergarten students and then tack on my usual 555%.

    • And though the FIA should stand firm, perhaps they should also consider hiring a decent lawyer to write their regulations, because, well, they do never specify that the Gill sensor is to be the primary measure of fuel flow unless otherwise specified by the race director or technical delegate.


      2014 F1 Technical Regulations – Published on 12.03.2014
      5.10 Fuel systems :

      “…Only approved parts may be used and the list of parts approved by the FIA, and the approval procedure, may be found in the Appendix to the Technical Regulations.

      5.10.3 Homologated sensors must be fitted which directly measure the pressure, the temperature and the flow of the fuel supplied to the injectors, these signals must be supplied to the FIA data logger.

      5.10.4 Only one homologated FIA fuel flow sensor may be fitted to the car which must be placed wholly within the fuel tank.

      5.10.5 Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or…”

      source: http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/1-2014%20TECHNICAL%20REGULATIONS%202014-01-23_0.pdf




      Numéro d’Homologation
      Homologation Number



      Gill Motorsport Systems Limited
      Saltmarsh Park, 67 Gosport Street,
      Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9EG
      Tel. +44 (0)1590 613400



      source: http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/LT%2045%20-%20On-Board%20Fuel%20Flow%20Meter_0.pdf

      • Yes and which one of those says that the FFM is the only way teams are allowed to measure fuel flow, and only the FIA or its representative may direct a team to use a different measure.

        This is why RB felt justified in ignoring CW.

        And why they should get a proper lawyer to do the job right.

        • It’s not like the FIA don’t have a leg to stand on in fighting RB’s appeal.

          There are general prescriptions in TR Article 2 that still cover this.

          For example TR Article 2.7, “Duty of Competitor :
          It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards of the meeting that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an Event.”

          Furthermore, it surprises me that no one mentions or remembers that Red Bull was charged with two different offenses in Melbourne:
          1) Violating TR 5.1.4 (using a flow-rate higher than 100l of fuel / hour)

          2) Violating SR 3.2, which is part of the “General Conditions” section, and reads in part, “Competitors must ensure that their cars comply with the conditions of eligibility…”

          Red Bull is foolish if they think the Tribunal will revolve around the accuracy of Red Bull’s fuel flow meter…

          Perhaps the real question now is will there be a punitive penalty against Red Bull for wasting everyone else’s time and money?

    • It really is interesting, in the sense that what was once a sort of aristocratic (I’m guessing) gentlemen’s club finds itself dealing with modern corporate methods and mentality.

      And you are right, a complete overhaul is absolutely required. Maintaining the sense of perceived fairness (which is their job) is essential to sporting competition. Without that, you might as well dial up WWE or your favorite reality show.

      • ironically, that’s exactly what FIA is endeavouring to do (ensure a level playing field)!!

        it’s Red Bull Racing that’s trying to undermine and subvert the regulatory regime that promotes and encourages fair competition!!!

        • Within some confines, the politicking etc., is part and parcel of what any team is up to. My issue with the FIA is that they seem to be leaving ginormous loopholes for all the manufacturers, often through poorly worded regulations. Yes it’s obvious that the FFM is what they intended to be the reference, but then why did they never say so?

          My theory is that it’s because they are used to a time when it wasn’t necessary to say so.

          That said, were I to have a waterhole I would be ranting about how RB have clearly drunk the Randian Kool Aid to the detriment of the whole sport. Their insistence that the long term health of the sport is none of their business is the worst order of sloppy thinking amongst those who ought to know better.

          • I’m sorry. The regulations are clear even without the March 1st technical directive…

            This is why some of us smelled a rat, hours after it was revealed RB had refused to obey the technical delegates order on lap 5 in Melbourne…

            This is worse than had they refused to cover the holes in the floor back in 2012. Which was also a technical directive….

            The difference is RB thought they had a lot more to lose in 2012 than they do over a fuel flow measurement war….

  5. The FIA have every right to enforce the rules. However, the FIA also have potentially painted themselves into a corner by the strict homologation rules they’ve put in place. Engine performance for this year was fixed at the end of February. No changes will be allowed for the rest of the year.. Some small changes will be allowed next year before they are re-homologated, and an even smaller list for 2016 when development will essentially be frozen. While it appears M-B is ahead in the horsepower / fuel use game, the big fear is that next year Honda may be significantly ahead of everyone else and with the narrow development window about to close, Honda could have a such a large advantage that the FIA would be forced to allow development or see a manufacturer like Renault leave the sport. The current rules hardly encourage other engine manufacturers to enter F1. If the FIA are unwilling to change the rules now for Renault, then it would be hard to argue that if Honda are 50HP or 75 HP more than everyone else next year they should allow Renault, Ferrari or M-B to catch up.

    I don’t buy the FIA’s argument that they have to be relevant to the motor industry. Hybrid systems have been developed by lots of car manufacturers who have no involvement in F1 and in many cases little involvement in motor racing. Hybrid engine systems in F1 was a political response to the eco-politics of Europe.

    • Rules “they’ve [FIA] put in place”???

      These rules were created by the engine manufacturers and teams.

      And they were created because, otherwise, the manufacturers were likely to leave the sport – and none were making noises in the other direction. The likelihood was we would have been left with Ferrari and M-B, with Renault having left – two engine manufacturers only. Next year we’ll have four.

      • The teams don’t set the rules nor do they enforce them – the FIA does. The teams suggest rules to the FIA. But ultimately the rules and their enforcement are the prerogative of the FIA.

        • Fair point, Cav. But my understanding is that (until the recent changes) the technical and sporting working group basically drew up the rules and the structure and the FIA rubber stamped them and turned them into legalise. No question that the FIA enforces all rules.

          • Well I for one, would hope they just shut up and get on with their jobs.

          • Everybody except Red Bull fanboyz and Vettel panty-sniffers hope that RBR would just shut the fck up and compete honourably – on the track.

            But, given their long, documented past history of shameless politicking, that’s about as likely as Schumacher waking up tomorrow and emerging w/o any cognitive deficiency.

            [sorry for such an upsetting example, but RBR no longer deserve any sympathy or deference, nor does anyone who tries to justify or excuse their shameless, cynical attempts to undermine the authority of FIA to transparently govern F1.]

    • The point is they cannot ruin this years competition by moving the goal posts. Changing their rules for next year is far more palatable… And as you say may be wise…

      • Very good point.

        Only problem is the IP is owned by Renault. They could licence it to Buzz Lightyear cars but surely they’d only be able to licence the existing engine.

        The bulls have simple options:
        A. Ignore the pain and just get on with it
        B. Lobby the bejaysis out of anyone and everyone
        C. Get another engine (Ferrari most likely)
        D. Leave the sport

        I can see them selling the business and being a title sponsor for a couple of years to the buyer. Then reducing their involvement by reducing spend.

        I defo see a manufacturer wanting a piece of the company now, if the price was right.

        The bulls are spending far too much on F1 in both teams at the moment…..

  6. 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.


    Red Bull Racing may have achieved great sporting success in F1, but they are a malignant and destructive force for the sport long-term.

    Red Bull would seemingly gladly wound F1 just to enhance their own short-term “success” – truly shameless, and I’m so glad Mark Webber is no longer associated w/ these cynical people (in F1, that is).

  7. “noise is wasted energy”. Judge, I beg to differ. In our atmosphere, noise, like light, is the byproduct of a release of energy, not a waste.

    • I also beg to differ, because that release of energy, if inefficient can be better re-cycled, and as a by product noise is reduced.

      This is by definition what a turbo associated with a combustion engine does…

      • I agree that the internal combustion engine is not very efficient scientifically speaking. The turbo indeed does make it more efficient as we all know. So yes, as a byproduct it does reduce tailpipe noise. But thats exactly my point. Noise increase or decrease is merely a byproduct of some other mechanical process, not the cause of it.

        On a fundamental scientific level, noise is not “waste”. In a vaccum there is no atmosphere to propagate sound, therefore sound does not really exist except inside our atmosphere (or within some other gaseous environment dense enough for our ears to perceive).

        I’d say the actual “waste” in the engine comes from friction, mechanical loss, wire impedances, impurity in fuel, and just random nature at the quantum level. Nothing in the known universe performs a perfect use of energy. And I dont expect Renault to anytime soon! haha

        • av2290 – Most of the wasted energy is heat. The efficiency can be measured and it’s in the neighborhood of 30% to 35% in these power units, maybe a little bit more.

          The head of Mercedes F1 engines, Andy Cowell gave a pre-season interview in which the journalist wasted time by asking how much horsepower their engine makes. Andy’s response was that he is more interested in thermal efficiency, and their goal was 40%.

        • av2290 – are you not being a tad pedantic here…?
          Is it not the case that, some energy is being ‘lost’, and is manifested to us as ‘noise’ – the noise represents a loss of energy which, as the Judge is saying, is thus wasted…?
          You mention light: if, at night, I allow light from inside my home to leak out of uncurtained windows that light is ‘lost’ to me, and given to people walking in the street. To them it is a gain. To me it is ‘wasted’ energy…
          It seems to be a pedantic / semantic debate. 😉

          • no I’m just trying to be scientifically clear exactly for this reason. noise is a byproduct of the explosive release of energy in a piston. in a vacuum you would not hear the noise. therefore the noise does not represent a waste of energy. the light inside your house would not change if you open your windows. the rooms would be equally bright inside. people getting light outside is a byproduct of you opening the windows, not a waste of energy.

          • …energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be dissipated or lost from what could be a closed system –

            Take a steam turbine, energy can be lost due to leakages between

            Main valve and regulating valve
            Seals and glands
            Spaces between nozzles and moving blades
            Spaces between diaphragm and shaft of turbine
            Space between moving blade rings and turbine casing
            leakage of steam through these is a direct loss of energy.

            Further, the flow of steam through a nozzle experiences a decrease in kinetic energy is due to the following reasons
            Viscous forces between steam particles
            Heat loss from steam before entering the nozzle
            Deflection of flow in the nozzle
            Boundary layer development in the nozzle
            Turbulence in the nozzle
            The friction in the nozzle which reduces available enthalpy drop and hence actual velocity leaving the nozzle is less than that obtained with is-entropic expansion…

            Lost energy/Wasted energy – com ci com sa 😉

          • av2290: I realise you’re trying to be scientific… but I think you’re mistaken about explosions in pistons – don’t you mean cylinders…?
            Also, I don’t think it matters whether you hear the noise – the energy loss/wastage still occurs.
            Finally, if I draw my curtains the light remains trapped inside – it is reflected back by the curtains and therefore not lost – but the people walking outside will lose the light energy. Of course, some of the light will be absorbed by the curtains and thus lost – i.e. wasted. If I fit white curtains I can lessen the loss… and so on… and on… 😉
            – – –
            To return to your original statement: “… noise, like light, is the byproduct of a release of energy, not a waste…”
            I agree with the first part, which is a ‘scientific’ statement… but the last part is subjective… If the ‘noise’ is not wanted then it is a byproduct that is a waste… Indeed most ‘byproducts’ are a waste, unless they can be harnessed and utilised elsewhere.
            I think that is mainly what the turbos are doing…

  8. So, if we assume that a majority of the fans don’t mind the new engine noises, that still leaves 10-20-30-40% who do mind the new engine noise, which is far too sizable a part of your fan base to alienate if you want to continue as a successful enterprise. That’s many millions of people who are turned off, leaving many millions of dollars spent elsewhere. It’s hugely bad business. Colossal failure on the level of New Coke, frankly.

  9. Can anyone tell me if Merc would gain too from scrapping the fuel flow? Surely if the Renault unit will work better with higher flow rate then surely all the engines will gain? Its has got to be across the board, the IC parts are all very similar from manufacturer to manufacturer so if 1 gains then they would all gain.

    Please can someone in the know confirm or dismiss my thinking.

    • I can’t say for sure who will gain but who will lose is us fans. With unlimited fuel flow we will see one or two super scrappy laps in the beginning then all the drivers will settle in to their places on fuel saving mode for 40 laps to save what they can for the last stint.

      The problem with modern F1 that all the teams share the same ideas and run the same strategies no matter what the rules are. We saw a wet qualifying (giving them all tire choice) and EVERY team started on options and didn’t they all run basically the same stints on the same tires?

    • …. all engines would benefit – from the fact they could run at higher revs – but will use more fuel.

      The way Renault and Red Bull are behaving suggests this would solve serious problems or give them a significant advantage. Renault probably believe their experience in engine mapping would give them an incremental advantage over the others in the higher range of revs….

  10. Just looking to crash the gathering lynch mob here, with my figurative can of ‘orrible, sticky, quadruple-strength RB next to my keyboard:
    RBR are doing exactly the right thing by appealing Ricciardo’s DQ. In effect, they are demanding that the FIA / Gill come up with a FFM solution that is more robust and accurate than the current effort. How can a sport with a global audience in the hundreds of millions and with a total expenditure in the billions (including the new PU development costs) let the results of races be directly affected by a mandated component?
    Why would anyone spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to put two cars on the grid when the ultimate performance of those cars is dependent on whether the FFM you buy from Gill’s Fuel Sensor Emporium is a “good one”? You’re fkng kidding, right?
    The FIA are bringing their own sport into disrepute with their incompetence – Formula Farce, perhaps?
    Mercedes ought to be pilloried for their “F*ck you, Jack. I’m OK” attitude. The engine customers of Mercedes ought to be bashed for being obsequious runts with the same attitude. Ferrari and their customers ought to be slammed for their complacency in being happy to lose as long as RBR aren’t winning.
    RBR are the only ones that have the sport’s best interests at heart here. They have the guts and the gameplan to rattle the cage of the FIA emperors strutting around in their invisible clothes, That their own interests perhaps align with the sport’s interests in this particular case is a happy co-incidence 🙂

  11. Good morning your honour,

    You often elude to why you think Redbull are pushing this, better performance for Renault, and you hinted also about checking the fuel near the sensor, or something to that effect, what do you think they are up to, has to be more than just power? As all this we’re to slow down the straights, seems rubbish to me, you stick on a load of down force, you quicker round the corners, slower down the straights, Redbull have always gone this way.

    Also i don’t get it, RB are a PR savy company, but that have royally fucked this up. You have all the other race teams, and only one team screaming and shouting and the same car keeps experiencing the same problems.

    Humans are very good, at a subconscious level at spotting when someone is lying, its often when body language doesn’t match the words that coming out and we may think they’re lying but it does make people wary. And my instinct every time i see Horner spout about this, is to punch him, and i’m not a violent person. Someone in his PR dept must see this too.

    Politicians have worked hard on this over the last few years, I remember a body language expert comparing Blair and whoever was running against him. And Blair always made sure his body language matched what he was saying, the other guy just waved his hands around, to try full people.

    The jist of it was do we vote for someone who we know is lying to us, or someone who believes his own bullshit, and at the moment I don’t think Horner even believes his own bullshit, hence no one else does.

  12. I’m beginning to wonder is the anti-noise group are in fact a very small number of people who are acting as shills for a certain little man and one F1 team.

    It wouldn’t take a lot of work for a couple of dozen people to make a lot of *noise* over the matter by changing their names and email addresses on Facebook, Twitter and all of the popular F1 forums. If I were so inclined I could do a lot on my own. Once the barrel is rolling, it will attract all kinds of Interweb nuts who’ve got nothing better to do.

  13. On a slightly related topic: Horner was congratulated on SkyTV for winning the fastest pit-stop time in Australia. His instant, unthinking reply was to pooh-pooh the official time and say: “Oh really. We had it faster than that.”
    It is known that the teams take different measurements on pit-stops to the FIA – perhaps a bit like the way the FIA seems to measure fuel-flow differently(!) – but couldn’t Horner have just graciously accepted they were fastest…?
    Certainly he / they have an odd sense of PR at times.

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