Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Engine Mapping Clampdown At Valencia

The FIA has written to all the teams making it clear they will not be allowed to change engine map settings between qualifying and the race with immediate effect. The move is to prevent teams using extreme engine maps to burn more fuel in qualifying getting a short distance performance advantage.

Engine maps are used like a power boost in qualifying, with teams maximizing the pressures from the engine that go through the blown diffuser and generate downforce. Such a method is not workable over race distance because of reliability issues arising from the increased temperatures the floor of the car is subject to. Also of importance is the extra fuel load needed for a race distance with extreme mapping is 15 kilos, which would eat up any aerodynamic advantage gain.

The engine mapping is a major theory towards Red Bull's qualifying dominance this year compared to a much closer performance advantage in races. McLaren's principle race engineer Phil Prew backed up this assumption "I think tyre optimisation may be one area, and the use of elaborate engine modes may be another - with the generation of downforce being quite highly influenced with the exhaust flows." stated Prew earlier this year.

The car has to be plugged into a computer to adjust the settings which makes changing them in a pitstop too time consuming. So qualifying should be very interesting this Saturday with many Red Bull rivals sure to be dropping their heads if Vettel sticks the Bull on pole again.

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