Another little gem from TJ13’s favourite German Formula 1 and motorsport website, Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS), published today detailing an investigation by the FIA on all F1 teams who they suspect are cheating.
Following the announcement that ‘party-modes’ would be banned soon, possibly for Spa at the end of August, it appears that the FIA are beginning to suspect that all teams, not just Ferrari, are possibly guilty of cheating via trickery involving electronics.
AMuS highlight that it is odd why the team’s are not “up in arms” about a mid-season rule change coming… well it could well be that they are all up to no good.
Unfortunately, I haven’t time today to fully decipher the article (can be read here), but below is a machine translation for your perusal.
Perhaps if Ferrari aren’t involved this time (despite being part of the investigation), we might see Honda, Renault and Mercedes pegged back in line eh?
Did somebody cheat?
Something is in the bush. Before the Spanish GP, the FIA warned that after the Belgian GP, only one engine mode may be allowed for qualification and races.
All manufacturers were asked to provide details about their ERS systems beforehand. Is it related or is someone suspected of having cheated?
The exact plan of the FIA is still unclear. So far there has only been one letter threatening that possibly only one motor mode will be allowed for qualification and races from the Belgian GP onwards.
That would make the hot qualifying rounds with over 1,000 hp history. The world association justifies its plans with the fact that with the complex drive systems it is becoming increasingly difficult to prove whether someone is cheating or not.
The Ferrari case has shown the FIA once again that 1,000 engineers are smarter than ten inspectors from the agency.
What exactly the FIA intends to reveal to the teams and engine manufacturers in a technical directive this week. Then it will also be determined whether it will stay at the Belgian GP or the action will be postponed to 2021.
What is certain, however, is that all four engine manufacturers will have to upload detailed information about their ERS systems to the FIA server by August 21st. In the technical directive TD / 036-20 of August 4th, it is primarily about the auxiliary circuits of the energy recovery system.
Manipulation of the current measurement?
Apparently the association has a suspicion that one or more of them are not following the rules when it comes to energy management. The FIA Delegate’s requests are too specific for a routine investigation.
First of all, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes and Renault are reminded of how energy management is defined in Appendix 3 of the Technical Regulations. One has especially kept an eye on the auxiliary circuits.
Two sensors measure the energy flows into and out of the battery and MGU-K. And according to Article 5.2.5, they must transmit the necessary signals to the FIA data logger in order to be able to monitor that the energy flows are compliant with the rules.
Then the warning: Any measure or system invented to intentionally alter the DC electrical measurements to check the rules is considered a serious breach of the regulations.
Apparently it still sounds like how Ferrari is said to have tricked the measurement of the gasoline flow rate last year. The signal from the sensor is said to have been manipulated in such a way that more gasoline could be injected than was reported to the FIA measuring device.
The rest of the text of the Technical Directive makes it clear where the FIA suspects possible traps. Namely at the interfaces between the high-voltage network and the auxiliary circuits with less voltage.
The connections from the battery to various control units that monitor the ERS system are usually not connected to the high-voltage circuit. And that’s exactly where it is obviously possible to disrupt or change the current measurement.
That would have the same effect as Ferrari’s alleged manipulation of the flow rate measurement. You could feed more power into the system via the MGU-K than the permitted 163 hp.
If necessary, also physical tests
Engine manufacturers must provide information about the ERS architecture by the end of this week.
This includes drawings and three-dimensional CAD views of all auxiliary circuits that do not belong to the high-voltage circuit. In addition, insight into the diagrams of the electrical circuits that connect to the high voltage network is required.
In addition, the minimum and maximum values of the current that flows in and out of the high-voltage circuit when the car is on the track or is in the garage.
If in doubt, physical checks will be carried out on the car. All engine manufacturers are clearly requested to be available for an investigation.
The sudden distrust raises many questions. Either the FIA is actually groping in the dark, or one or more fish with the electric power in gray areas. This suggests that so far none of the four car companies has complained that the rules should be changed in the middle of the season.
Normally that would have caused an outcry. However, it is also possible that the FIA uses the investigation of the ERS systems to justify its planned measures in engine mode.