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GP Week : Issue 164
The Red Bull engine mapping row that first came to light on Sunday morning in Hockenheim dragged on to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, as the FIA were forced to issue a clarification to Article 5.5.3 of the Technical Regulations to prevent the team from continuing to run their controversial engine mapping settings. It was originally assumed that the Hockenheim stewards would find Red Bull guilty of a technical infringement, but the eventual ruling made it clear that while Red Bull were not in violation of the regulations as they had been written, the Milton Keynes’ outfit’s interpretation was far from the reading the FIA had intended. “The stewards received a report from the FIA Technical Delegate, along with specific ECU data from Red Bull Racing Cars 1 & 2,” the stewards’ report read. “The Stewards met with the team representative and the representative of the engine supplier Renault. “While the Stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not breach the text of Art. 5.5 .3 of the Formula One Technical Regulations and therefore decide to take no further action.” On Wednesday, the FIA issued a clarification to the teams explaining that they would now have to nominate one of the maps used in the first four races of the 2012 season as their standard or baseline map. That point of reference would then determine the maps each team would be allowed to use at the remaining races of the year. The BBC saw a copy of the clarification, and reported that it states: “Above 6,000rpm, the maximum engine torque may vary by no more than +/- 2% [from the reference map]. And the ignition angle may vary by no more than 2.5%.” And while Red Bull were vocal about the fact that this new ruling would not affect their pace, with Sebastian Vettel going so far as to say that he could not feel the loss of traction in high-speed corners with the new map setting, by the end of Saturday’s qualifying session it was clear the team were hurting. Vettel was able to line up on the second row of the grid, but made it out of Q1 by the skin of his teeth. [See our separate story on the Vettel in Q1 rumours in shortcuts.] Team-mate Mark Webber was only able to qualify in P11. In Sunday’s race, neither driver was able to demonstrate the sort of pace we have become accustomed to seeing from the RB8. By the time the F1 circus arrives in Spa at the end of August, Red Bull will have overcome this temporary hiccup. But for one race, and one race only, there’s no doubt that the team were hurting, no matter how well they tried to disguise the fact. FIA CLARIFY ENGINE MAPS, RBR SLOW DOWN. COINCIDENCE? F1 >>> NEWS Ted Kravitz from Sky TV reads the Stewards directive over the Red Bull Racing engine map. 3 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: