Tweaks…

There have been two news stories today that have caught my eye, one concerning the use of DRS in practice and qualifying, and the statement that ‘force majeure’ will be written out of the rules regarding stopping in qualifying.

For the latter, I believe it is about time. The incident with Vettel in Abu Dhabi was an odd one, with the FIA agreeing the stoppage was force majeure, but then excluding the car from qualifying due to the fuel infringement.

What this reads to me, and therefore I’m sure a number of fans, is that it is ok for a car to stop if the team is worried it will run out of petrol – Red Bull and Renault claimed they were worried about an engine failure caused by running out of fuel – but stopping to preserve fuel itself is wrong.

Mclaren claimed they had a fuel rig error in Spain, and that not enough went into Hamilton’s car. So surely, they could also have argued that they were worried about engine failure? Both cars were stopped due to concerns about the fuel – and Hamilton had enough in the car to provide the sample, he just stopped on track, the same as Vettel. Can you see where it gets confusing?

Charlie Whiting has quoted (from Autosport) that the FIA will instead look to see if a car would have had enough fuel in it had it completed the lap it stops on. This, I believe, is a fair way of checking. If a car stops halfway around the lap, and only has just enough fuel to provide the sample, clearly it wouldn’t have been able to do so had it completed the lap.

In terms of DRS, this new rule, taking away its free use in practice and qualifying, effectively rules out use of double DRS systems. Teams using them will only gain an advantage when overtaking another car, at certain points on the track. While it may add a couple of tenths in the DRS zones on Saturday and Sunday, it won’t allow for the system that Red Bull works – maximum permitted downforce for speed in the corners, and DRS for the straights, as the car will end up being slower elsewhere around the circuit.

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