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posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 24 2020, @03:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-rule-against-it dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

One of the big stories in F1 during the latter half of the 2019 season concerned exactly what Scuderia Ferrari was doing to get so much power out of its engine. Its cars were undoubtedly the fastest in a straight line for much of the year, although a "technical clarification" issued in November by the FIA—the sport's governing body—coincided with a drop off in the Italian team's speed.

Things got a little more interesting in February of this year, when the FIA announced that it had reached an agreement with Ferrari following an investigation into the matter. The announcement was more than a little cryptic, and part of the agreement with the team was a condition that while Ferrari wouldn't do it again, exactly what "it" was will remain a secret. The 2020 F1 season is on hold thanks to the coronavirus, but if the cars do get back on track this year, they'll do so with a new sensor that's designed to prevent a possible repeat of last year's shenanigans.

There were two main theories about what the Scuderia was up to. The less imaginative one involves the engine's intercooler, which reduces the temperature of the air after it has been compressed by the turbocharger. [...]

The other theory is far more ingenious. Perhaps Ferrari was somehow manipulating or interfering with the fuel flow sensor, an ultrasonic device that samples fuel flow at 2,200Hz. This theory was given some credence when in November, rival team Red Bull Racing asked the FIA, hypothetically, whether it would be allowed to use the fuel pump to vary the fuel rate, such that it was below the 100kg/hr limit during each sampling event but above it during the gaps in between. In F1, if you suspect another team is cheating, you often ask the FIA whether it would let you do whatever it is you think that other team is doing, hoping for a response in the form of a technical clarification that says "no, doing X is not allowed," and in this case, the FIA did exactly that.

A couple bits of evidence pointed to this indeed being Ferrari's advantage. For one, its cars definitely appeared to lose some straight line performance from this point in the season on. And for another, it would explain how one of its cars was found to be carrying too much fuel at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Not a lot—just 4.88kg—but enough to explain the roughly 5-percent power advantage that the Ferrari engine appeared to generate. (For an explanation on why you'd want to run with more fuel than you declare when that means a weight penalty, I recommend Mark Hughes' explanation over at MotorSport.)

-- submitted from IRC


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  • (Score: 2) by dltaylor on Wednesday March 25 2020, @12:03PM (1 child)

    by dltaylor (4693) on Wednesday March 25 2020, @12:03PM (#975413)

    Simple to enforce budget limits. Any competitor can buy any of the top 3 (5, maybe) for the budget price.

    You can't buy into the series, but you can keep anyone else running from getting too crazy by simply buying their car at the budget price. Why spend 50,000 to build a car when one of the lower finishers can buy it for 40,000?

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:26PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:26PM (#975464)

    That would be an interesting game to play, but I imagine you'd have teams building a good car for $15K investment and having other teams spending the $40K just to get their hands on it screwing up the top team in the process. Even silly solo racers invest far more than $40K in their quests for FTD. Then, there's the incalculable labor and skill that goes on top of the $15K car, which can easily top $25K in value for someone who values winning.

    --
    My karma ran over your dogma.