F1 News: FIA Allows Engine Changes, Requires Diffuser Changes, Makes Entry Selection Changes

What Happens When a Slow News Day is a Fast Personal One

1:28am EST — In headlines from a couple of slow Formual1 news days, the FIA has allowed Renault to change their engine a bit, forced clever teams to change their diffuser design, and announced a new 2010 entry process.

Renault Allowed to Change Engine:
According to an Autosport article, “Renault has been told that it can make a number of changes to its engine for cost and reliability reasons – with all its requests in this area being approved by the FIA.”  It is understood that this allowance was made on the basis of fairness issues, as Renault engine user Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said, “the problem is if you don’t allow some development, then you freeze in an advantage for one team or a disadvantage for another,” since the engine freeze demonstrably kept Mercedes engines in the best position.

Clever Diffuser Designers Thwarted:
According to an Autosport article, the teams who had cleverly designed starter motors that required special holes in the diffuser that may have generated an advantage (see my article at Formula1Blog for a more complete explanation) will have to re-design their starter motor and diffusers in time for the Australian GP.  According to the article, “the FIA has duly sent a note to all teams, laying down strict dimensions for not only a maximum diameter for the holes but also for a maximum projected area,” and clarifying the rules which had previously made no mention of a minimum or maximum diameter of the starter motor holes.  The article continued, “It is believed that McLaren, Mercedes and two other teams – believed to be Renault and Force India – will now have to make modifications.”
I stand by my original opinion on this subject, as written in the aforementioned F1B article, “isn’t the point of F1 that it isn’t fair?  Aren’t special, clever technicians who exploit the loopholes in the rules the ones who are most feted?  It seems to be the wisest course of action to improve the car performance, and just maybe the show, to not “clarify” or change the rules to make things more fair, but to allow these men and women to design every sneaky but legal thing they can for the fast cars they build.
In fact, the article says ‘there is some unease about teams utilising [sic] start motor holes to make their diffusers more effective.’  Isn’t a more effective diffuser the idea?  Imagine that one guy at Ferrari last season, standing around the factory, asking the other designers and technicians, ‘what do you think? Build a less effective diffuser this year?’  He’s not working at Maranello this season.  Still, it appears as though another clarification of the technical regulations is in order.”

FIA Allows for New 2011 Entry Process:
The FIA released an explanation of the new process for 2011 Formula1 entries.  This process is, according to the press release, “to identify a candidate team to fill any vacancy that may exist in the FIA Formula One World Championship at the start of the 2011 season.  The FIA may also identify one or more possible ‘reserve’ entrants to fill such vacancies.”  Of course, the actual details of necessary information to be sent to the FIA will only be given “to candidates who have registered a formal expression of interest with the FIA’s Secretariat before 5pm CET Thursday 15th April 2010, together with an administration fee of €1,000.”  In a couple of examples, the release also said,

By way of indication only, the applicable selection criteria will include:
(a) the technical ability and resources of the team;
(b) the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation;
(c) the team’s experience and human resources;
(d) the FIA’s assessment of the value that the candidate may bring to the Championship as a whole…by way of indication only, the FIA anticipates that full applications will need to be submitted by the end of June, followed by due diligence leading to a decision in July 2010.

Of course, there may not be any entries available for 2011.  Still, it is enough to make one want to cobble together about $1,353 just to find out what precisely the FIA is looking for in appropriate candidates.


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