Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has issued his congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull after the FIA clarified that Sebastian Vettel had not made an illegal pass in the final race in Brazil.
In the aftermath of the Brazilian Grand Prix, video footage surfaced that seemed to show Sebastian Vettel passing Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flags. Passing under yellow flags is forbidden and punishable by the stewards. Ferrari requested clarification from the FIA about the incident, and were informed that the pass was legal and there was therefore nothing to investigate.
With the controversy emerging immediately after the conclusion of the championship, Ferrari have been accused of being sore losers, not least of all by Bernie Ecclestone, who described Ferrari’s action as “completely and utterly wrong.” Nonetheless, now that the FIA has closed the matter, Ferrari appear to have moved on. During Ferrari’s Finali Mondiali celebrations, Montezemolo had the following to say:
““Congratulations go to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull because they won and we are happy to congratulate winners, hoping and wishing that next year we are on the receiving end of these compliments. As for the yellow flag saga, we took the simplest and most linear route, by asking the Federation to look into it, making it clear that we would accept their decision and that’s what we did.”
During 2011, the FIA announced that blowing exhaust gases through the diffuser would become illegal for 2012. They attempted to achieve the ban by limiting the placement of the exhausts on the car, specifically with regards to height. Their attempts were ineffective.
While there has been a significant loss of rear downforce due to the current regulations, the teams have found ways to use the exhaust gases to produce downforce anyway, whether it be through having interestingly shaped floors or brake ducts or other means. Currently, Mercedes are trialling a system (similar to that already in use by other teams) that makes use of the Coanda effect to divert exhaust gases towards the edges of the diffuser, all without contravening the regulations.
While the teams are certainly innovative and creative, the continued development of exhaust-related aerodynamics should never have been possible. It would have been easy for the regulations to properly prevent the engineers from using the exhaust to produce downforce. All they had to do was stipulate that the exhaust gases must exit the car through pipes that extend to at least the rearmost point of the car. A quick look at Formula One cars of decades gone by would have made that solution obvious.
Perhaps the rules will be revised for next season, but as they stand they do not achieve their stated aim – that of preventing exhaust gases from having an aerodynamic effect on the car.
After being hauled in front of the stewards to explain their engine maps, Red Bull will be relieved to have no action taken against their drivers for today’s German Grand Prix.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer had examined the RB8 engine maps and found evidence that suggested that Red Bull were attempting to gain an aerodynamic advantage by blowing more air through the exhaust than was required to produce the demanded torque at full throttle at mid-range revs.
Christian Horner was surprised to hear that his team was being investigated, and his confidence in the legality of the RB8 proved justified as the stewards decided not to impose any penalties on the Red Bull drivers.
Sebastian Vettel will start second, with Mark Webber eighth after qualifying third and receiving a five-place gird penalty for changing his gearbox.
Red Bull have been referred to the stewards at the German Grand Prix for having illegal engine maps.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer examined the engine maps on both RB8 cars and considered them to be in breach of Article 5.5.3 of the 2012 Formula One Technical Regulations as he found the maximum torque output in a certain range of revs to be significantly less than the engines are known to be capable of producing.
In addition, Jo Bauer considered that the illegal engine maps would also alter the aerodynamic characteristics of the cars, which is illegal under this season’s regulations.
The stewards are currently looking into the potential breach, which could result in penalties for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. If the cars are found to be illegal, Vettel and Webber may be excluded from the results of qualifying and demoted to the back of the grid. They may even be required to start from the pitlane, as they would be required to change the engine maps for the race, which would put them in breach of parc ferme regulations.
It seems unlikely that the Red Bulls will not be allowed to race.