• Rule changes

Whiting defends engine map rule

ESPNF1 Staff
June 25, 2011 « Perez feeling fine after practice | »
Charlie Whiting insists the ban is aimed to affect all teams © Sutton Images

FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting insists the new engine mapping rules are not designed to slow down Red Bull.

Teams are no longer allowed to plug in laptops to change the engine map settings between qualifying and the race, a practice which it is believed helped Red Bull to find extra qualifying time compared to its rivals. With innovations such as the F-duct in 2010 and double diffusers in 2009 banned at the end of the season, Red Bull and Renault have both questioned the timing of the move, speculating that it could be a deliberate attempt to make the world championship more competitive after Sebastian Vettel won five of the first seven races.

Whiting said that was not the reason behind the move, but that it was an attempt to prevent teams exploiting parc ferme rules.

"I am aware of some stories being written but to be frank with you I know it is not a political one," Whiting said. "I know it is a purely technical intervention from our side and I feel perfectly comfortable with that."

Whiting also said that engine maps could still be changed if the drivers had the capacity to do so from within the cockpit.

"What we are doing is stopping people breaking the existing rules," said Whiting. "We are not changing the rules; they're staying the same. [The drivers] are allowed to change things that they can do with a switch, on the steering wheel for example."

Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne said that he could see the thinking behind the new rules but couldn't undertsand why it was introduced mis-season and without consulting the teams.

"I think from a pure point of view, as an engineer, Charlie's interpretation within the rules, I think you can argue that it is probably correct in some respects," he said in the Friday press conference. "We, as engineers, are always pushing to get an advantage and will obviously implement it if it is within the rules. If Charlie thinks it has gone too far or if something shouldn't be happening then he is right to act.

"It is just frustrating it is done in the middle of the season without consultation. I think that is the main sticking point for everyone really. But we have all got to get on with it. Is it going to change anything? Probably not."

Hispania technical director Geoff Willis agreed that the FIA should have consulted the teams and made a decision when it was not going to have an impact on any single team's season.

"The bigger picture here is that, as Mike has hinted at, we probably shouldn't be making these changes mid-season," he said. "We can argue, for example, why, with the F-Duct, we waited until the end of the season and why some other things historically have been changed mid-season and other ones at the end of the season.

"Really the Technical Working Group is the group that should be making recommendations about technical regulations and clearly if there is something, whether or not if it is a regulation change strictly or whether it is an interpretation change, if we do that mid-season it is clearly going to be very difficult in the TWG to get agreement or even to have an open - and I hope all discussions are rational - but an open and unbiased discussion, as clearly some teams will take a benefit from a change and some teams won't.

"We really should be moving these sorts of discussions into next year's regulations or even further away, such that we can have an appropriate and what I would say is a complete disinterested conversation about it."

However, Sauber's technical director James Key said he could understand why the FIA acted at the time it did.

"I think there is a distinction between the exhausts and things like the F-Duct and the diffusers that we had recently as they were deemed legal and they were pure aerodynamic devices," Key said. "I think the difference here is that engines shouldn't be aerodynamic devices and they weren't deemed legal and I think that is the distinction for a mid-season change rather than an end of season."