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We won't be hit hardest by exhaust clampdown - Vettel

Laurence Edmondson June 15, 2011 « Brazil return possible for Kubica | »
Red Bull have worked hard on perfecting the blown diffuser over the last two years © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel does not think the proposed ban on off-throttle blown diffusers will hit Red Bull's performance harder than its rivals.

All the teams in Formula One use exhaust gases to improve the performance of their diffusers and increase downforce. This year the top teams have been developing ever more complex systems so that the exhausts continue to pump gases over the diffuser even when the driver is off the throttle.

It is believed Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault have taken this concept the furthest by introducing so-called 'hot blowing' diffusers. In these cases, fuel continues to be dumped through the engine while the ignition is retarded so that it explodes in the exhaust rather than the combustion chamber. This practice continues to feed the diffuser with hot gases when the driver is off the throttle, while also creating a very distinct and noisy sound.

Red Bull first introduced this practice last year with the help of its engine supplier Renault, which revealed earlier this year that its engines use 10% more fuel as a result. The FIA is keen to clamp down on the practice which it believes is not only wasteful, but also contravenes rules relating to the driver influencing the car's aerodynamics.

Red Bull has made clear that it is not entirely happy with the ruling, with Adrian Newey saying in Canada: "I agree with rule changes in the middle of a championship for good reasons, like safety, but this is not the case. It's absurd."

But despite his team's vocal objections, Vettel does not believe a ban will hurt his championship campaign.

"If it is happening then I think it will hit everyone," he told ESPNF1 in an exclusive interview. "I think if you look at the concept of our car then we are not bad off if it [the ban] happens. I think there are other people that will lose more, for instance the Renault or Mercedes teams which are completely relying on that technique.

"Surely it will hit everyone as we all rely on it in terms of performance. It does make us quicker, and if you ban it it will slow us down. But I think, compared to others, we won't be at a disadvantage."

The proposed ban will allow for 10% of the current level of blowing to continue off-throttle, which will reduce the amount of downforce the cars have on corner entry. But Vettel said the change will not have a massive effect on the way a driver approaches the corner.

"It will change, obviously, how much speed you are bringing into the corners and round the corners - anything in the off-throttle mode," he said. "I think we were all very used to driving the cars like they were last year [before the introduction of off-throttle blown diffusers] and you have to adapt quickly anyway in a race, things change.

"Grip levels change with the tyres, so it's not that much of a loss overall. Surely it will slow us down - it will slow everyone down - but it's not as if you will have to change your driving from black to white."