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[Real F1] FIA to eliminate high Fuel Mixes and Overtake features.

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The FIA intends to ban the high-performance ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings developed by Mercedes and other engine manufacturers, RaceFans has learned.

Quote

At the British Grand Prix Red Bull team principal Christian Horner estimated the W11 was around four-tenths of a second quicker than his team’s car in race trim, yet they were separated by a full second in qualifying.

[...]

Max Verstappen believes part of Red Bull’s current performance deficit to Mercedes in qualifying is due to the differences in their engine modes.

“I think it is quali mode, they definitely seem to be using a bit more of that,” he said last week. “The engine modes in the race are a bit closer especially, I think, for us.”

 

Edited by marioho

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Isn't "party mode" simply the maximum engine output? They can theoretically use it in races too but don't because it'll nuke the engine.

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That's my understanding too so I was caught just as off guard. Maybe the unspoken or yet-to-be declared reason is that works team like Merc and Ferrari may have access to powerful modes not available for their customer teams, either for them not providing the engine mappings or not sharing the truckload of data they have on their engine performance. But I don't think that's congruent with banning quali modes altogether.

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My guess is that considering the engine is the same in quali and race, the impact of high power output modes has to be still taken into account. Say, you might theoretically push more in quali but have such a big impact on the engine components that it's just too risky/not worth it.

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Surely red bull (and others) just need to get their engine manufacturers to sort a better quali mode? Pink merc and williams (to an extent) also seem to have better quali pace

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Merc are known to have a quali mode , but they cannot use it very much in races due to engines having to last a certain number of races 

I would love to know what happened with Ferrari as they were obviously doing something illegal with their engines last year until caught , and simply because the FIA is scared of them leaving F1 they hush it all up and also give them certain privileges the other teams don't get like a veto they can use

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11 hours ago, Rango said:

Surely red bull (and others) just need to get their engine manufacturers to sort a better quali mode? Pink merc and williams (to an extent) also seem to have better quali pace

That would seem logical, particularly if Mercedes aren't doing anything outside the spirit of the regulations. 

If you take an idea like Dual Axis Steering it's pretty clear that if that is allowed to continue all teams will want it, and all will have to spend a considerable amount of money to incorporate it next year. It's not outrageous to just ban it for the good of the competition.

On the other hand, engine maps are engine maps, they are an integral part of the sport - not sure banning certain engine maps is a great idea, but I guess we need to know more to be proper internet arm-chair critics 🙂

9 hours ago, Bobble2020 said:

I would love to know what happened with Ferrari as they were obviously doing something illegal with their engines last year until caught , and simply because the FIA is scared of them leaving F1 they hush it all up and also give them certain privileges the other teams don't get like a veto they can use

Having their cheating covered up has worked for them the for 70 years, why stop now?

 

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14 hours ago, Bobble2020 said:

I would love to know what happened with Ferrari as they were obviously doing something illegal with their engines last year until caught , and simply because the FIA is scared of them leaving F1 they hush it all up and also give them certain privileges the other teams don't get like a veto they can use

They had to back off and stop leaking oil through the intercooler. The fact that FIA hasn't sanctioned them but instead found a secret agreement, has probabiliy something to do with the fact that other teams used such methods aswell , but Ferrari had found a better method to exploit a loophole in the regulations and agreed to disclose to FIA. That's probabily also why they took the bigger hit.

Thinking that F1 teams are all playing nice and by the rules is ridicolous, they are constantly edging legality and that is why FIA has to constantly release technical directives. As soon as they discover a loophole that cannot be clearly punished due to grey areas in the regulations they make it clear what is legal and what is not. From then onwards teams will adapt and change their development.

Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, etc... all try to push their cars on the edge of regulations (Double Diffuser, DAS, various aero devices) and then it is up to FIA to decide.

 

Edited by nuNceP
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@nuNceP covers a point that people should always have in mind. I'd go farther and say that is beneficial not only for the sport but for our day to day lives.

Working on the edge of regulations is conducive to innovation and eventually their R&D trickles down to popular vehicles - performance and safety features alike. Just think of all the things that came from the sport, from Williams active suspension on 93 to intelligent traction control features that were probably bundled in the consumer grade technology.

It's up to the FIA to strike that fine balance between keeping it competitive and not stifling innovation in the pinnacle of motorsports.

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If I was Toto Wolf or a Merc exec in general, I would be absolutely livid. Like steam from the ears-bang-the-table-and-throw-stuff-livid.

For the past few years Merc has been fighting an illegal Ferrari PU, which cost them several poles and race wins. Now, FIA banned Ferrari's tricks but gave no penalty for it. Meanwhile Merc developed (legally) a PU to match the Ferrari one. Now, Ferrari has no quali mode and FIA plans to ban such things from others. On top of this, the new Concorde proposal plans to - yet again- shovel free money for Ferrari. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Toto puts his middle fingers in the air and says screw your Concorde.

  • Disagree 1

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I have never understood this 'Oooo....we can't lose Ferrari....they are soooo important to F1' attitude. **** em. F1 doesn't need them and the fact that they get a bigger slice of the financial pie because of their 'History' is a disgrace.

  • Agree 5

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I wonder if Codies will patch the game if the regulation comes in. Meaning getting rid off the different fuel mixtures. Personally I wouldn't miss them even though I change them all the time during a lap. Well, that's exactly why I wouldn't miss it. Reading through the articles I'm still not sure if the FIA directive is only aimed at the combustion engine or is ERS included? That would mean bye-bye for overtake mode - which in turns means the devs will seriously have to modify the slipstream effect or passing is gone too.

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@janbonator I think FIA is aiming at the quali mode in itself, as it is indeed a thing. Just like you have access to Max fuel mix and Hotlap on qualifying, real F1 teams bake a special mode for quali sessions that is only ever used in those hotlaps. Which is partly why you don't ever see a fastest lap on race day matching the pole time on Q3, even if the leader has a LoTR seconds worth of free air ahead of them. 

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5 minutes ago, marioho said:

@janbonator I think FIA is aiming at the quali mode in itself, as it is indeed a thing. Just like you have access to Max fuel mix and Hotlap on qualifying, real F1 teams bake a special mode for quali sessions that is only ever used in those hotlaps. Which is partly why you don't ever see a fastest lap on race day matching the pole time on Q3, even if the leader has a LoTR seconds worth of free air ahead of them. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm interpreting the regulation change to be such that there can only be one engine mode used throughout qualifying and race. I think I'm not alone in this, take a look at Bottas' comments, for example:

"The first thing that came to my mind was that in races, because every team has different modes, how much they want to risk in terms of wearing the engine and sometimes when they can – and also for us – we can save the engine if we have margin. And also, in terms of strategic things in the race for drivers, many times we’re using different kind of modes, whether we are defending, attacking.

So, from my side it feels like if it would be same engine mode for everyone all through the race, I think there would be less overtaking because everyone is just running same modes instead of playing with them and trying to maximise every situation, sometimes using more power sometimes less. In the end, it could be less things for us to do while driving."

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It's too early yet to pull the trigger as the whole topic came from a letter from the FIA to all the teams on Tuesday 11, yet to be disclosed. It seemed to explicitly target the qualifying mode, which is indeed a thing, and the first "but it makes no god damn sense" point of contention was precisely the fact that teams use different engine modes throughout the race, to which Bottas' comment is referring.

The most memorable example of different engine modes we had this season was Norris' "Scenario 7" on Austria.

FIA has yet to clear things up but their target seems to be the qualifying mode specifically. And indeed Merc has a huge advantage on it. Word out there is that even the subject of the missive hints of that: "power unit ICE modes – reduction of the scope of adjustability between qualifying and the race" (from Motorsport today) If it is indeed the case of just reducing the scope, not eliminating it altogether, we'd still have different engine modes available, ruling out only the exclusive "quali mode".

From The Race today:

Quote

Throughout the V6 turbo-hybrid era, F1’s engine manufacturers have been pushed to develop high-performance settings – dubbed ‘party mode’ by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton two years ago – that allow the engines to be turned up for crucial moments in qualifying and very briefly during grands prix.

[...]

One theory is this will be enforced by requiring teams to use their qualifying modes for a percentage of the race that would not be achievable with the current peak performance setting because of the impact it has on engine life and battery management.

[...]

But it has also attempted to shift scrutiny onto Mercedes, which has made a significant engine step in 2020 and appears to have established a strong advantage in qualifying.

[...]

The only race another team has qualified within 1% of Mercedes’ pole time was the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen was 0.538s (0.855%) slower.

Since then, Verstappen – who is the Mercedes drivers’ main challenger and lies second in the championship – has been more than a second from pole at every event but closer in the races, as Honda’s deficit is negligible on Sundays.

Special emphasis on the last bit because all teams run different modes all the time during the race and it's been like this ever since, dunno, the first rotary dial to appear on a F1 steering wheel?

To sum it up, different engine modes are normal and every team has a Scenario 7 equivalent to drop during the race plus a number of others. And every team has a power setting for quali sessions. It just happens that specially this year this "party mode" from Merc is leaps and bounds better than others. Hence people speculating that Tuesday's letter must be targeting said mode. 

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I guess where our views differ is the definition of a quali mode. What makes Lando's "Scenario 7" different from a "quali mode"? Both can be ran only for a lap or two per race. I don't see how such modes could exist if "quali mode" is banned. It could well be that "Scenario 7" or "Scenario 8" is what they run in qualifying at the moment as well as some key parts of a race, but they cannot use it constantly - which is why I see them banned under the proposed directive.

"Overtake" mode can also be only ran very briefly, and much less frequently than in the game, which is why I don't see them fitting the rule change.

Edited by janbonator

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If they run a power mode in quali and again in the race, even if for a short period of time, then they'd still be in compliance with the speculated new regulations as it is banning engine modes used exclusively on quali. I don't see why "Scenario 7" would be banned, even under the drafted new regs.

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31 minutes ago, marioho said:

If they run a power mode in quali and again in the race, even if for a short period of time, then they'd still be in compliance with the speculated new regulations as it is banning engine modes used exclusively on quali. I don't see why "Scenario 7" would be banned, even under the drafted new regs.

I don't agree. "Quali" mode is effectively the same thing and nothing stops the teams currently using it during the race, which I think they exactly do when talking about something like "Scenario 7". It might not be exactly the same engine mapping, but nevertheless a mapping that allows for a short, unsustainable burst in power output. What makes you think that "quali mode" could not be briefly used in a race at the moment?

Quote from The Race (bold added by me):

"Throughout the V6 turbo-hybrid era, F1’s engine manufacturers have been pushed to develop high-performance settings – dubbed ‘party mode’ by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton two years ago – that allow the engines to be turned up for crucial moments in qualifying and very briefly during grands prix.

The Race understands that teams have been informed a rule change could be rapidly implemented to ban such modes as of the Spa round in just over two weeks’ time."

 

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But that's exactly what I'm talking about and why people see this fuss as being targeted at Mercedes. It is Mercedes quali mode that is overly strong compared to the rest of the teams, giving them an unprecedented advantage on qualifying. 

Nothing stops the teams from running their quali programmes on race day. Looks like they'll still be allowed to do that under this new reg, as reports point that they're forcing the teams to run the same engine modes (plural) they use on Q1 + Q2 + Q3 on the race. What gives is that Mercedes has concocted a mode that is (1) much more powerful than what other teams have mapped and (2) so powerful that they don't risk using on race day.

What the FIA is basically saying: you either use that power mode on race at the expense of wearing your engine down or you dial this mode down on quali so that you manage to use it on both events. All of this with the purpose of eliminating this advantage that Merc has built over the competition specifically on quali. Which is exactly why all the media out there is referring to the "quali mode ban" and most of them sneak a "party mode" on the article in reference to what Hamilton said a couple years ago about Mercedes quali mode. 

If on race day they use the same special mode they used on quali, even if for a short burst, they will be ok. If they don't dare use that quali mode on race day, then FIA is not pleased. 

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15 minutes ago, marioho said:

If on race day they use the same special mode they used on quali, even if for a short burst, they will be ok. If they don't dare use that quali mode on race day, then FIA is not pleased. 

I haven't seen the FIA letter to the teams, so I don't know - but nowhere have I read such a distinction. I think it was The Race who speculated there could be a certain % of the race that the teams will have to be able to run with their highest power output, but even that was stated to be "a theory". My question is where did you get this information, that a second of "quali mode" in the race would make it not "quali mode"?

Why can't Merc use their highest power output in a race currently? If they can do several laps per qualifying with it, I don't see why they couldn't use it briefly in the race - unless the PU is running illegally.

Edited by janbonator

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14 minutes ago, janbonator said:

I haven't seen the FIA letter to the teams, so I don't know - but nowhere have I read such a distinction. I think it was The Race who speculated there could be a certain % of the race that the teams will have to be able to run with their highest power output, but even that was stated to be "a theory". My question is where did you get this information, that a second of "quali mode" in the race would make it not "quali mode"?

Why can't Merc use their highest power output in a race currently? If they can do several laps per qualifying with it, I don't see why they couldn't use it briefly in the race - unless the PU is running illegally.

You are Christian Horner and I claim my £5 🤣🤣

  • Haha 1

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The subject of the FIA letter, as reported by the mediapower unit ICE modes – reduction of the scope of adjustability between qualifying and the race

The news that broke it all, from yesterday: The FIA intends to ban the high-performance ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings developed by Mercedes and other engine manufacturers, RaceFans has learned. Verstappen on it: “I think it is quali mode, they definitely seem to be using a bit more of that,” he said last week. “The engine modes in the race are a bit closer especially, I think, for us.”

Again, this is all coming from reports of a letter that was not disclosed to the public and even those who had access to the whole text (i.e. the teams) don't know exactly what the FIA wants. Bottas and Russel comments are proof of that, as they all say something to the extent of "I think if they're talking about this, then..."

It's just that having a series of engine mappings and engine modes is normal practice. Teams have been doing this all the time, specially since refuelling was banned. It is an integral part of F1 race strategy to have more than one engine mode available to account for all the different scenarios you may find on a race. This, coupled with the letter heading text ("reduction of the scope of adjustability between qualifying and the race", keywords being reduction – and not elimination – and scope – meaning range), is what I'm mostly basing my assumption.

That and the media referring to "quali mode" and not "different engine modes".  Forcing the teams to use on the race the full array of engine modes they had on quali makes much more sense than forcing one single mode for everything. 

Extra: on the so called "party mode" from Merc: Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff confirmed in Australia the high-performance qualifying mode was not used by its drivers until Q3. The team said its qualifying mode “is only required for a few laps each race weekend, and usage varies according to the competitive context – sometimes this qualifying mode will be used throughout qualifying, sometimes only in the final Q3 session.

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Mercedes' competitive context is 7 consecutive world titles. Meaning that they simply don't need it in Q1 and sometimes in Q2 either, or during the race for the matter. Just like they don't need the softest "qualifying" tyres either.

The information is mixed as you said, but currently the only source that I can find that goes along the lines of what you said is RaceFans.

Here's what Sky Sports is saying:

- " But plans from the FIA have emerged to potentially dictate that engines can only be used in a single mode in qualifying and the race after this weekend's Spanish GP. "

Autosport makes the exact same claim. They also write:

- " The letter noted that the "multitude and complexity of modes being used make it extremely difficult for the FIA to monitor compliance with all the PU-related regulations and provisions in selected critical moments of the event.

The other rule cited is Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, the often-used reference to drivers being required to drive the car "alone and unaided."

The letter noted that "the changes to ICE modes that are currently in force could potentially mean that the driver does not drive the car alone and unaided."

The letter then makes it clear that "in order to address the above concerns in the future, we will be requiring that during the qualifying session and the race, the PU should operate in a single mode," before confirming that a technical directive will follow before Spa."

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At this point I don't know what we're arguing about anymore. We both agree that there's scarce info out there coupled with mixed takes on them, and barring the Sky Sports bit looks like we're all referencing the same sources.

I'm assuming FIA will put out a reg clarification on the terms I discussed above for the reasons I outlined above. But that's my supposition, my guess.

Even the supposed quotes from the FIA letter come in contradiction with each other at some point. That's all guesswork on our part here. This is pending clarification even for the teams.

Edit: Just occurred to me that while Red Bull seems to stand behind this FIA shift in the regs enforcement, the availability of different engine modes is a routine thing for them too.

We had Albon's "why don't you give me more power" incident this season and Horner commented about their Honda partnership and roadmap on a german interview not long ago, translated:

Quote

Helmut Marko complained that Honda is still too conservative in the operation of the engine. Is there something else coming?

Horner: We introduced our second engine this weekend. Honda runs the engines more aggressively. But you have to use that strategically. There is no point in driving sharper modes if you are ten seconds behind the leader. You have to use the most powerful settings at the right time.

The rules limit Honda. Actually, you can only ensure reliability with updates. Or does that allow you to get more power as well?

Horner: I hope that we can ride higher modes for a longer time.

Being such an integral part of the teams routine and for so long I don't see how FIA would ban all engine modes availability mid-season. Even if with their mixed signals they're giving this could be what they're aiming for, I think the teams will dissuade them since the problem they seem to have is with the gap between them and Mercedes in engine performance on qualifying

Edited by marioho

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