Red Bull have been forced to change their engine map settings before the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.
The issue about the throttle maps came during the recent German Grand Prix, where Red Bull was found guilty of breaching Article 5.5.3, which dictates the torque and throttle settings. The team was found to be using their throttle maps to improve the cornering speed and the traction performance. FIA technical Jo Bauer summoned the team to the stewards, but they found no reason to exclude the drivers from the race, despite the fact that the stewards did ‘not accept all the arguments of the team’. FIA found that Red Bull’s engine was delivering less torque at full throttle in the mid-range of the engine’s rev band in Germany, compared to that of the British Grand Prix two weeks earlier.
Andrew Benson of the BBC puts it this way:
“The idea of the rule is to prevent the engine delivering less power to the wheels than it can do.
“But while the FIA intended it to mean that the engine could not deliver less torque than it was ultimately capable of, Red Bull interpreted it to mean it could not deliver less than it was programmed to deliver on that day.”
But why was red Bull cleared then? Teams are allowed to change their engine maps, the computer controlled engine settings, and Red Bull was cleared because there was no definition of how big this changes could be.This is no longer allowed, and teams are asked to hand in engine maps from the first four races, for the FIA to compare.
“Above 6,000rpm, the maximum engine torque may vary by no more than +/- 2%, and the ignition angle may vary by no more than 2.5% (from the reference map).”
Will this affect the teams? Probably not. Last year we had the exhaust-blown diffusers, and this year they are banned. But teams are very interested in harnessing the aerodynamic effects from the exhaust, and several teams are working on using the exhaust air more or less directly in their aerodynamic package, without breaking the rules.