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Newey not ruling out exhaust controversy

Laurence Edmondson at Jerez
February 7, 2012 « Allison pleased with Lotus platform | Button expects close season »
Exhuast positioning will offer little benefit but could cause a controversy according to Adrian Newey © Getty Images
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Adrian Newey believes the regulations regarding the use of exhaust gases are clear, but has not ruled out the possibility of controversy before the start of the season.

The FIA has attempted to put an end to exhaust blown diffusers this year by restricting the positioning of the exhausts at the rear of the car. However, the first test has already seen a few variations in the angling and positioning of exhausts as the top teams try to gain every possible advantage.

"The FIA have been reasonably specific in what they will and won't allow exhaust wise so far," Newey said. "So they don't want to see full-capture ducts, in other words scooping the exhaust flow up with a fully-enclosed duct and using that scoop to duct it somewhere else on the car. Plus we have the various exclusion zones where we can't have bodywork and obviously there are limitations on where the exhaust physically can be. As long as you satisfy all of those, then hopefully there won't be too much controversy, but there's always a chance that somebody will come up with something right on the border and will be subject to an interpretation, let's say."

But he doubts there is much to be gained from focusing on exhaust positioning this year.

"There's not a lot [of performance] to come out of exhausts, and then as often happens you get a real variety of different positions because there's not a lot to gain from it," he added. "We've obviously launched in the position we're in and other people have taken different routes, but I doubt if there's a lot to be gained from the various different positions people are sporting."

Last year's Red Bull was built around the exhaust blown diffuser concept and Newey admitted his team has not been able to replace the lost downforce.

"I think when double diffusers were banned at the end of 2010 we were able to largely replace the effect that they had with the exhaust," he explained. "This time round it's very difficult to actually replace the effect, or certainly we haven't managed to do it. But obviously there is every optimisation to be done to the car less exhausts. Whether we've done a better job than others is difficult to know, but there's no big grand idea that can replace that [exhausts], it's re-honing the car and trying to understand what is needed from the car with the exhaust [advantage] gone."