June 21, 2011 / 3:23 PM / 9 years ago

F1 engine clampdown to take effect in Valencia

LONDON (Reuters) - A clampdown on engine mapping systems from this weekend’s European Grand Prix in Valencia will affect all Formula One teams, Renault technical director James Allison said on Tuesday.

Renault Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain (L) drives next to McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during the Spanish F1 Grand Prix at the Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, near Barcelona, May 10, 2009. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Formula One race director Charlie Whiting wrote to the teams earlier to notify them that with immediate effect they could no longer change settings between Saturday qualifying and the race.

Further changes will be enforced from next month’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone to prevent teams gaining aerodynamic performance by keeping exhaust gases flowing constantly through the rear diffuser even when drivers are not on the throttle.

The immediate move could hit champions Red Bull, who have qualified on pole position in all seven races so far this season and won five of them, but Allison said all would be affected.

“The FIA’s note will cause all teams (whether or not they use a blown floor) to change their operation,” he said in a blog on the Lotus-backed team’s website (www.lotusrenaultgp.com).

By changing settings after qualifying, some teams may have been able to gain performance on the Saturday by running a more extreme system before readjusting it for the race.

“The headline changes for the Silverstone GP are as follows: when the driver lifts his foot fully off the throttle pedal, then the ECU (electronic control unit) maps must be set up so that the engine ... closes the throttle,” noted Allison.

“Previously it was possible to configure the engine maps to leave the throttle open and reduce the engine power by other means.

“Finally, with immediate effect, it will no longer be possible to reprogram the ECU configuration between qualifying and the race in the expectation that this will discourage extreme ECU setups for qualifying.”

Allison said Renault, who have pioneered a forward-exiting exhaust system that has helped them to two podium finishes so far this year, would have preferred not to have make changes until the end of the season.

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