As they say there is no smoke without fire and recent Mercedes’ query to FIA on oil consumption proves that.
The smoke that accompanies the start-up of the Ferrari power unit seems to have stirred-up a debate in the paddock. Rachetting up another notch today after Mercedes sought a clarification from the FIA. This query for the clarification directly targets Ferrari.
According to Motorsport, Mercedes told the FIA that it was happy for any feedback to be “circulated to all power unit manufacturers.”
Mercedes wrote to the governing body of FIA and asked whether oil used “in the pressure charging (turbocharger) system” has to comply with Article 20 of the technical regulations.
Article 20 covers the definition, properties and composition of oil.
Mercedes further asked if turbo system oil has to be considered as part of the overall 0.6 litres/100kms oil consumption limit that was introduced to stop teams using oil for power boosting purposes.
It is learnt that the FIA has replied with an affirmative, confirming that all oils have to comply with the requirements as set out in Article 20, and that the turbo is considered part of the engine.
In its original letter to Charlie Whiting Mercedes asked, “With the exception of transformer oils used within ERS cooling circuits, and hydraulic oils used for PU actuators (both of which should have zero consumption in operation), do all oils (and specifically, any oil used in the pressure charging [turbocharger] system) used in the Power Unit need to comply with Article 20?”
Charlie replied, “All oils used in the engine must comply with Article 20 of the F1 Technical Regulations. The turbocharger is considered part of the engine.”
The second question in that letter was, “If the answer to Q1 is ‘yes’, does it therefore follow that the combined oil consumption of all the Power Unit oils must respect the 0.6lts/100km limit referenced within TD/012-17?”
To this Whiting replied, “yes.”
No matter how stricter regulations are, teams find loopholes and exploit those. Though not confirmed but it seems Ferrari have found the potential loophole in the regulation covering oil consumption, which their rivals are trying to close. It seems till the time the smoke is coming out of the back of Ferrari, this debate on oil consumption will keep on simmering.