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FIA End Exhaust Debate

Controversial diffusers to be banned from 2012

Posted Jul 19, 2011 by Chris White

Red Bull have been at the heart of the arguments

After a dispute that has seemed like a playground argument that has gone on for the majority of the season Formula One’s governing body finally stepped in and split the parties up, after arguments reached breaking point at the British Grand Prix.

The teams reached a compromise to end the dispute, but the FIA have made things very clear for all concerned – you can use it, until the end of the season.  This means off-throttle blowing to aid downforce will be legal for the remainder of this year’s championship but teams will not be allowed to change their engine settings, (or engine mapping as it is also known), between qualifying and the race.

A statement released by the FIA said that they saw the practice as “questionable” but because of the complexity of the situation, they have agreed to reinstate the rules as they were at the European Grand Prix – before Silverstone – meaning teams will have more downforce and can corner quicker.

At Silverstone, the FIA had chosen to limit the amount of open throttle that could be used, because teams were using “extreme” throttle maps for qualifying, and then more durable plans in the race.

Red Bull and Renault, the team’s engine supplier, objected after a concession was given to Mercedes powered teams who themselves objected to a concession aimed at balancing this out, granted to Renault. The concession to Renault was removed, but this came after Red Bull agreed to compete at Silverstone at what they considered to be “a disadvantage” – as long as the issue was addressed by the time of the next race.

The FIA could have made a decision on the diffusers earlier in the season, with several teams threatening to protest against the exhaust systems, but chose to delay the decision, but the latest rows have forced the governing body to step in and end the arguments now. They claim that a decision to ban the technology this season would be “very complicated”.

So from the 2012 season, cars will have to have exhausts exiting at a higher level, where gases cannot be directed into the diffuser.

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