“What’s clever throttle over run”, you all cry. Well, children, let me enlighten you a little bet. All the teams have a very very cleaver exhaust systems that routes the very hot and very fast exhaust gasses though narrow slots on the trailing edge of their diffuser at the back of the car. This “pulls” the air though the wing and under the car due to the venturi effect. Low pressure behind the car caused by the fast moving exhaust gas increases the down force just a whole shed load.
So, getting your exhaust gas to come out in a nice thin line over a wide area in just the right spot gives you a load of down force which increases your grip and thus speeds in the corners where all the time is made in motorsport.
“But”, you say “what has that got to do with throttles?”. “Shhh” I say, “I’m just getting to that bit”. When you get to the corner, if you’re sensible, you brake. But that means you come off the power and your exhaust gasses stop, at just the point where you want a load of down force and grip to be there for you. What all the teams have been doing and Redbull with more success than most, is to keep the engine pumping out the fast moving gas whilst braking at the same time. If you listen to the cars as they brake into the fast corners you can hear a sort of staccato “brapbrapbrap” noise as the trick throttle pumps the engine really fast in micro burst.
During qualifying, Redbull in particular have been whacking up these throttle micro bursts to 100% open. If you do it too much you’ll cook the engine and the back of the car, so for the race they turn it down to I think 50%, still enough to keep them ahead of the pack, and not cook the engine. All very cleaver, if your engine can take it like Renault and Redbull, underhand dirty cheating if you’re McLaren and Ferrari.
They are all at it of course, but Italian teams that couldn’t get it to work properly have been having a quite word, Whilst British teams with British drivers have been muttering and asking pointed questions.
So in the spirit of being fair to all and making sure the Red Italian team gets a few more points they banned it. Well not banned it exactly. They’ve said this ...
Quote from autosport.
“It is understood the directive to the teams tells them that, under braking, the throttle input can now be no larger than 10 per cent of its maximum. Some outfits had been gaining aerodynamic benefit from keeping the throttle flow at 100 per cent under braking.
To push this regulation change through, the FIA has deemed that throttle use will be allowed only for the purpose of increasing torque, not for 'aerodynamic performance'.
This effectively means that any team found to be using off-throttle blown diffusers could be in breach of the famous Article 3.15 of the technical regulations that outlaws moveable aerodynamic devices.”
Just how the FIA plans to police this is anyone’s guess. Short of having real time telemetry from all of the cars on each and every lap being checked by a technician, who knows what the throttle response should be for any given part of the track and where the breaking point is when looking at a linear real time telemetry feed. I can’t see how they’ll know when a car is using 10% or 23.4% let alone 100%. Maybe they’ll have an FIA official standing at each corner listening for the BRAPBRAP.
So the upshot of all this is ... I have no idea who will win.
Because Pirelli have now decided it’s time to bring really hard, hard tires. Nitwits have been complaining that there is too much over taking and that in the good old days Fangio would race for 14 hours in his linen suit and not have to rely on having a far superior car than anyone else and it was all so much better and there was more Gin in the pink gins in the club house and other such bollocks. Clearly forgetting that only four years ago you only had to watch the first 5 laps to pretty much know who was going to win in two hours time. Plenty of time to wonder off and have a few stiff pink gins before catching the Ashes being won at Lords with Buffy and the lads.
Now you have to concentrate on the race there’s barely enough time for the waiter to take the drinks order before someone is over taking and heaven forbid entertaining the proles in the muddy spectator cattle pens. huuurumph !!!
Okay, so four stops per race is a bit much, maybe just three would be better and make it a little more of a race rather than a lottery. Pirelli are going to bring some hard tires which can last more than 12 laps before they turn to mush.
Will all of this make a difference to the result? It’s hard to tell. The rule change is going to affect everyone, some more than others. It might make qualifying a bit more of a spectacle too, with drivers not having to save fresh tires for the race.
But really Vettel hasn’t looked like being raced by anyone so far and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
I think McLaren are going to struggle against Mercedes, whilst Ferrari looks like they got their finger out and are back on track.
But this is Barcelona, and it’s always a dull race remember.