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

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That's the thing - all we can do outside the inner circle is to speculate with the information given.

However it pans out, if the purpose was to slow down Mercedes, I think the FIA will just shoot itself in the foot. Seeing how Merc has performed over the years, I wouldn't be surprised if they bring a "durability upgrade" for next year that allows them to run the current "quali mode" for 7 races in a row.

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4 hours ago, janbonator said:

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."

I can see an attempt to exploit these rules by grey areas. Mercedes have already outsmarted the FIA with DAS, and these rules will force teams to find new ways to put their engine modes into the cars.

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Formula 1's Youtube channel had a short video explaining the outlines of the new engine regs.

In the video it was explicitly stated the ban would include:

- Special engine modes like Lando's "Scenario 7"

- Overtake button

 

 

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@janbonator this specific video was instantly bashed by the community. He was using engine speed (RPM) as a proxy for the engine mode and that's a poor choice of parameter. Hulk could be running the whole lap on gears 1 & 2 and you could still have any of those graphs.

It was the only time we heard about the OT button being hit by the reinterpretation too.

I'm subscribed to the channel and enjoy his analysis but this one seemed off even go me - and from the start.

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4 minutes ago, marioho said:

@janbonator this specific video was instantly bashed by the community. He was using engine speed (RPM) as a proxy for the engine mode and that's a poor choice of parameter. Hulk could be running the whole lap on gears 1 & 2 and you could still have any of those graphs.

It was the only time we heard about the OT button being hit by the reinterpretation too.

I'm subscribed to the channel and enjoy his analysis but this one seemed off even go me - and from the start.

@marioho I didn't see a point in comparing an RPM graph between quali and race either. If the idea was to highlight the engine mode differences, it would've been better to compare Q1 and Q3 for Mercedes / Racing Point - or something like Lando's last lap in Austria compared to the second-last one.

I made the same interpretation of the rules from the get-go as the presenter in the video. The interpretation comes from two things, most obviously the wording of a "single engine mode for qualifying and race", but equally importantly in the reasons FIA is giving for the technical directive.

The reasons were:

1) Monitoring and inspecting different engine modes has become too difficult

2) Different engine modes could breach the rule concerning driver aids

To me it seems clear that without creating a giant loophole and future court proceedings, the only way to satisfy these demands is indeed to use a single engine mode. That means no "overtake button" either, because that is an unsustainable performance-enhancing engine mode, even much more so than a "hotlap" mode for qualification. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I agree and the FIA intentions seem clear. I'm only assuming it won't come out as they intend to because that's too drastic of a change, much in line of the "shampooing and combing my hair is too cumbersome I'll just shave it" kind of mentality.

The change will probably hurt the midfield teams way more than Mercedes and will be in general adverse to good & fun racing

Engine maps go as back as the 70's, and in the long run it is deemed to hurt the racing depriving teams and drivers of important strategy options even on the go – like McLaren allowing Lando to go full beans on Austria and securing his first podium.

I don't agree with the overtake mode being clearly banned too. Again we're still as in the shadows of the topic as we were and we last discussed, with not even a morsel of official info to clear this up. However the overtake runs on a parallel system to the ICE and it taxes different componentes. They're integrated in the big scheme of things but not even the MGU-K that runs so close to the heart of it all as a direct impact on combustion engine functionality: it is connected directly to the crankshaft, bypassing the ICE altogether.

F1 cars are so complex you cannot talk about engine modes without throwing the ERS in the mix too. It is indeed more of a "power unit" thing, encompassing the hybrid system as a whole, than a mere ICE setting. But that holistic view makes more sense when you think of the power output of the system; the ERS still has a distinct and parallel functionality on it all. In my opinion, in more ways than one to say that the FIA will ban overtake mode too also means they'll be banning teams from running on lower fuel modes when in truth the technical regulations impose a min and/or max caps on theses things.

The whole ban the FIA intends to apply from SPA and on hinges on only a reinterpretation of the rules as they cannot change the regulations mid season (arts. 1.2 and 1.3 of the sporting regs). To ban the overtake mode the amount of energy deployed by the ERS within the allowed parameters and the fuel flow outside the restrictions of arts. 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of technical regs would need a rewriting of those rules.

Fuel flow and ERS deployment rate are just aspects of what an engine mode entails. It goes far beyond them. Us casuals can take a peek at their complexity from Chainbear's video on it. Basically:

image.thumb.png.83401be03ed0bb0cf5f170b3db2f7553.png

Engine maps work as lookup tables built on two parameters, throttle state and engine speed (RPM). There is a pre-set power output for each coupling of said parameters. The PU manages to deliver the necessary power by (1) changing the Air to Fuel Ratio – AFR it allows in its combustion chamber, (2) the moment the ignition spark goes on, (3) the functionality of the MGU-H specially regarding energy flow (if to the ES or to the MGU-K) and (4) the MGU-K output to the crankshaft.

All of this is accomplished by the driver by rotating the engine mode dial on their steering wheel following the pit wall instructions. He rotates one single dial and all of a sudden the AFR is changed, the functionality of the ICE (specially the moment the spark plug goes off) is changed and the ERS deployment rate is changed. And he did that by heeding to his mechanic "change to scenario 3 please".

This whole ordeal by the FIA stems from the article stating the driver must drive unaided, so we can see how they want to reinterpret it to also ban this plethora of complex engine modes being available to them through the garage assistance. When they talk about banning engine modes from this year already, beginning at Spa, they can only do so by saying that all these complex changes being instructed from the garage and accomplished by simply rotating a single dial is a rule-breaking aid.

But to prohibit the driver from pressing the overtake button? Or ban him from switching to lean fuel/rich fuel modes? I may be horrendously off the mark here but as long as the changes he makes are within the min/max parameters set in the regulations and he does it unaided by their mechanic than I can't see this flying. 

Again, the amount of fuel and the amount of ERS harvested/deployed are written in the technical regulations and they have a minimum and a maximum values for any given scenario. Any change the driver promotes within these parameters are ok. FIA can't change that without rewriting the rules and they can't rewrite these rules for the 2020 season anymore.

Edit: @janbonator

Edited by marioho
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1 hour ago, marioho said:

@janbonator this specific video was instantly bashed by the community. He was using engine speed (RPM) as a proxy for the engine mode and that's a poor choice of parameter. Hulk could be running the whole lap on gears 1 & 2 and you could still have any of those graphs.

It was the only time we heard about the OT button being hit by the reinterpretation too.

I'm subscribed to the channel and enjoy his analysis but this one seemed off even go me - and from the start.

Good point, I watched that last night and was thinking "200rpm isn't much of a difference here, that doesn't seem like a 1 second gain".

 

I tweaked the thread title by the way, making it clearer what's being discussed 🙂 

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@marioho Thanks, having seen previously that you know a thing or two about the F1 PUs, I was kind of looking for that type of answer yesterday, when I asked you why you think Mercedes couldn't run their quali mode in the race briefly as it stands. I read it with care a few times but I still don't understand why you think that way - care to enlighten? :classic_smile:

It's been a long exchange of words for the past day, but all in good spirit I believe. This is the type of discussions I like to be involved in, and also why I stay out of things like Twitter. Just wanted to say that - sometimes a wrong impression can be made about trying to bring up an argument but ending up sounding confrontational.

The mixing and mashing of the terms "engine" and "power unit" is quite annoying indeed. Mostly it's because the media tries to simplify things and most of the times just makes their readers/viewers more ignorant of the matter because of it. "Power unit mode" should be the real term, but I suspect it's not called that because for the average Joes and Janes cars have engines, not power units.

What I meant with creating loopholes if things like "overtake" and higher engine-modes in the race were left allowed, it would change nothing but peak qualifying performance, and not necessarily even that. If, instead of a quali "hotlap" mode, the drivers would press "overtake" in every acceleration zone during their hotlap, what would change in the complexity or difficulty in monitoring and ensuring the compliance of the PUs? It would help with the "driver aid" issue, but not with the technical regulation compliance worry of the FIA. What FIA is essentially saying is that they don't know what really happens in each PU when a "hotlap" or "overtake" mode is activated.

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@janbonator I appreciate and please know that discussions like these make my day. To provide points and have to deal with counterpoints until you either clarify or rectify your stand are great and both results end up furthering your understanding of the subject.

I'm on mobile right now but I'll give you a proper answer as soon as I get back to my desktop. And I'll edit my previous post too as it's obvious I was clumsy AF when deleting and rewriting the text haha

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Posted (edited)

Thanks guys for these detailed explanations.

 

Talking about the game specifically it's safe to assume that it might result in either:

-Mode 4 (max) removed from qualifying if a range of modes is allowed

-Mode 2 (standard) as the only mode available

The future of the overtake button might be tricky because in the game it is simplified and it only affects the ERS. In game the "engine" and the "battery" are as much separeted as they could be.

It will be interesting to see if it's only just one mode. Currently mode 2 (standard) burns so much fuel that would make it hard to finish the race. Codemasters should adjust fuel consumption rates too at that point or create a new mode that is between the current lean and standard. Obviously if they want to patch it later instead of waiting till 2021...

Edited by sirio994
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From a game perspective I personally doubt anything will change. There is no clear 'right' thing to do anyway since whatever happens in real F1 there will have still been 6 GPs with things as they are now.

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Posted (edited)

@janbonator All engine maps are disclosed by the team for the FIA pre-race. Whatever their ulterior motives (if any) could be, they seem to be targeting a possible gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field as their qualifying performance currently is significantly better than the relative performance to the other teams on race day.

They're assuming this gap stems from their engineering an engine mode that squeezes so much performance out of their PU that all factors combined (good car + good drivers) result in that 1+ second chasm to P3.

Mercedes has something between 12 and 16 engine modes:

r/formula1 - Explanation behind the modes of the Mercedes engine shown in FP3

All the teams have a significant number of different engine modes that the driver can change just by rotating a dial on their steering wheel. 

There is this user on Reddit that has compiled a huge amount of info on the varying Merc engine modes based on documents and onboard videos and I wholeheartedly recommend reading his material. I have yet to finish reading it and will do so as soon as work allows me, prolly tomorrow.

The point is, the amount of changes that are made to all the PU intricate systems just by rotating a single click of a single rotary under the guidance of the garage is mind boggling. Is this a bad thing? Mate, I love it! Rewards competency and good strategy options and frees the driver of fiddling with controls to focus solely on racing. What gives?

Well, looks like FIA wants to crack down on engine modes in general by reinterpreting the "the driver must drive unaided" rule. That article is only the subterfuge, only the medium for their decision. What motivates it though?

I don't think this is any secret. They look at what Mercedes is able to accomplish by running on Strat 2 in Q3 and that interval they set to P3 and the rest of the field and "oh no not good". 

Is it important to inject more racing and competitiveness in the sport? Sure, it is! Will the rumoured change achieve it? I heavily doubt it. You won't serve not even a tiny ***** in Mercedes glistening dominance and today's qualifying seems to prove that, as they made it a point of running it on Strat 3 just to show that "party mode" is good, but not fundamental. 

Who gets hurt by this decision then? Well goodbye "scenario 7, scenario 7" Lando and "WHY DON'T YOU GIVE ME MORE POWER?!" Albon. Goodbye Q2 Williams. Goodbye second row Racing Point. Goodbye... well, actually I have no idea how Haas would fare. Have they completed a single race this season? Haha

I kid but the point is, when you level the field this way you'll narrow the chasm by single-digit percentages while killing the midfield competitiveness. All 16-17 drivers racing with a single engine mode and no way to equalize their individual set of perks and drawbacks through strategy? I don't see it ending well, I don't see Merc not locking out the first row, and, most of all, I don't see the midfield teams agreeing to FIA plan at the end of the day. In all honesty and in the full extent of hyperbolic and simplistic reasoning this casual can output in a internet post, there's only one driver I see gaining from this: Verstappen.

The rest will only have washed out racing ahead of Spa. 

And again, the thing with engine modes is that by changing a single position in a single click under the guidance of your garage you're able to impact hugely different functionalities in a myriad of systems working on the car. However I don't see how FIA can ban the teams from changing individual aspects of the PU one at a time without rewriting the rules, and they simply cannot rewrite them for this season anymore. The teams are expressly allowed to change the fuel flow within the tech regs parameters. The teams are expressly allowed to change ERS deployment within the tech regs limits. All the FIA can do is limit how fast and ably the drivers can do that by saying "oh no, you're supposed to figure it out on your own! Your mechanic can't tell you what to do!"

Remember Kvyat crashing at Silverstone? It happened partly because of mechanical failure and partly (or mostly) because he was busy making a plethora of changes to the car functionality by the multi-purpose dials and menus on his wheel, one at a time.

Edit: regarding the "we can't keep up with it all and we fear you may be exploiting the rules" excuse, I don't see how stifling the competition in the pinnacle of motor racing would fare well with the public and the teams in the long run. 

The teams are competing, for god sake! Did the FIA crack down on Racing Point copying of last year's Mercedes? Nope. A response was made only after the teams presented a case. Just freaking let the teams race and if anything shady happens to be going on under the wheel switches eventually they'll sniff it out and present a case so spelled out that even a moron on the FIA board would understand. They have the money and the interest to do so.

Forcing the whole field to run under a single engine mode? What is this, karting?   

EDIT The II: should also drag the DRS into the mix too. No pun intended.

It was a mitigating solution worked on four hands by the FIA and the teams to improve racing, as current state of affairs (regs + car development) is not exactly conducive to fun lively racing with plenty of overtakes.

That's the current state majorly because of the aero design of the whole field. Downforce and dirty air. The FIA and the FOM plan to address the issue comes in the form of the 2022 regulations with the reintroduction of ground force and other aero design principles.

Engine modes allow for a wider array of race strategies. From your starting grid position, as it frequently happened with Williams even though they didn't capitalize on race day, to on-the-moment decisions like Lando's Scenario 7.

I don't see how this could end up being anything other than a bullet in their foot in the long run. Levelling the playing field will not bring mercedes closer to the pack, will only wash out the midfield racing.

Edited by marioho
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Also turning engine modes down in the race is an easy way to save fuel for the drivers. Using one single engine mode for quali and race and effectively removing this tactic seems a bit odd to me. 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/13/2020 at 8:29 AM, janbonator said:

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.

Yeah, but let's face it.  They battled a Ferrari engine that they, or someone had inside information that it was illegal because it was out performing their own engine.  This is what F1 is about nowadays unfortuantely.   If you think the Merc engine in it's current state is 100% legal then I've got some ice cubes to sell you so you have some nice cold drinks in that igloo of yours.   I've got news for you, the Merc engine isn't 100% legal, it's likely why you aren't seeing Wolf throwing the fit you've described.  It's also highly likely that Honda and Renault's aren't legit either.  Although with Renault, I don't think they'd even be able to find the grey area to work in.  I assume you're a Merc fan based on the stance of yours, and for the record I'm not a fan of any team particularly, I just enjoy good racing in general & am more a follower of drivers.  It's very highly likely right now that the Ferrari engine may very well be the only fully legal one on the grid as a result of their "secret punishment" from last year.  That's been widely reported by many in the know, so it can't really be disputed.

That being said I think they should ban the quali modes from ALL engines.  We should be wanting these teams to run the engine at the max power they can output while making sure it's durable enough to last enough races to get you through the year with the alloted number of components.  The juiced up modes for one lap just scream illegal to me; you're doing something that's not natural to how that engine is built.  If it was meant to run that way, you'd run it all race, but you cant.  If it was simply changing the fuel mix so it burns richer, or leaner/slower then that's fine if you're sacrificing fuel efficiency, but what we're likely dealing with in these quali modes is far beyond that.  I'm also willing to bet the FIA isn't looking into this rule change just to level the playing field; it's because they likely saw whatever they saw in the Ferrari engine investigation to reveal what these teams are really doing to the engines to reach the quali mode performance levels and beyond. It's not sustainable, and likely not fully within the rules.  Hence the reason they're looking to ban it and make it simple.

At the end of the day, the rule change isn't going to matter.  The merc engine is still superior in race pace to the others by a wide margin; likely another reason Wolff isn't throwing a fit.  That also tells me this isn't about leveling the playing field for the FIA because it likely won't; this is about eliminating ways to encourage teams to break those rules in these special engine modes for one or two laps of performance only, or a boost during the race.  I think they ultimately want you to build an engine to run all practice, quali and race sessions for the "proper" length of time.  Personally; I think they should.  Build the best engine you can that will give you the best performance for all scenarios and last you a decent chunk of the season.

All it's going to take is one team to get a little bit of inside info on that engine program and it's all downhill for that Merc PU.  They likely keep it secret from their customer teams as well for the very reason of nobody knowing what's really going on so the other teams dont have the ammo to protest it.  I mean, afterall Merc is really leading the charge for a customer team model for this very reason likely.  They're a shoe-in for the title annually as it is, and now if you're going to supply the other teams with engines, chassis, aero/body work etc but they'll keep all the cutting edge advancements for themselves.  IT's a recipe for constant winning.  If people really believe RP got help from Merc in developing their copy this year, I'd agree with them.  It's all part of the greater plan for Merc, Ferrari, and Red Bull.  Being a race winning team & supplier.  You'll make money on both ends & you control the process and product you supply the others.  Why do you think Renaul protests everything everyone else does?  They're on the outside looking in on the big 3 and their customer teams with no customers of their own.  They're done for.  I'd suggest looking at the issues facing F1 from the other side of those Mercede's tinted glasses my friend.

Side note; to me, F1 is becoming a joke of a racing series anyways.  Sunday's race was beyond a snoozefest. Many others have been this year as well. That doesn't make me as a fan of racing want to bother.  It's all about the car. I know I'm watching a car that's beyond every other on the grid.  It's no longer about driving ability.  I give all the credit in the world to Lewis Hamilton, but right now I don't think he's the best driver in the series; but he's got the best car.  It's funny to me, I see people say all the time; Hamilton is the GOAT!  However; it's obvious that car and team have tons to do with that, and yes I'd say more then he does.  Same with Schumacher in his prime.  Vettel with RB as well.  Great drivers though; no doubt, but the cars are the real separators in F1.  Then you've got a driver like Stroll; having a career year as a driver & everyone says well it's because he has a pink mercedes now.   Ok, well what is it F1 fans...  If you're a fan of the driver; it's the driver not the car if you're talking about Hamilton; but it's the car and not the driver in the case of Stroll?  Put Max Verstappen in a Merc and I'm betting he's going to likely beat Hamilton week in; week out unless his aggression gets the best of him.  I'd argue the same for Leclerc based on what he's accomplished with that Ferrari dump truck this year but it will be his lack of experience that will get the best of him.  Lewis has the perfect combination of driving ability, experience & the best car the sport has ever seen compared to the competition.

Personally; I'd rather see them run spec cars like F2.  At least then we can watch a competitive race where it's the driver winning the race, not the engineers in the factory finding ways to exploit the grey area's of the rules.  I get that racing has always been about getting every inch of performance out of the car you can, but if you're the FIA and you can't control it then you've got to do away with it or you end up with what you have now.  3 big budget teams, able to outspend everyone to stay competitive which creates a model where the lesser teams are looking to you for support and to steal your ideas.  It's going to go the customer car model IMO simple because Liberty will need to keep the big 3 happy & it appears the only way to do that is to let them make back they money they're going to lose here by settign up the customer team model; and with that goes Renault.  If they go the customer car model then I sure hope there's a regulation in there that the parts of the customer cars are identical to those being run by the works team.

Anyways, sorry for the novel there, but I think many people are missing the greater picture here due to their own personal fandom.

Edited by petro1319
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4 hours ago, petro1319 said:

Yeah, but let's face it.  They battled a Ferrari engine that they, or someone had inside information that it was illegal because it was out performing their own engine.  This is what F1 is about nowadays unfortuantely.   If you think the Merc engine in it's current state is 100% legal then I've got some ice cubes to sell you so you have some nice cold drinks in that igloo of yours.   I've got news for you, the Merc engine isn't 100% legal, it's likely why you aren't seeing Wolf throwing the fit you've described.

[...]

Anyways, sorry for the novel there, but I think many people are missing the greater picture here due to their own personal fandom.

Sorry but you're tossing strawmen at me for no reason. Never in my adult life have I thought of myself a "fan" of any corporation, whether they make shoes or race cars.

The thing is, politics - including in F1 - run on appearance. The reason Toto could do as I described is because he has the PR leverage on the matter. Compare that to Ferrari calling for transparency; everyone laughs at them for it. In any case, I have a feeling that Toto is playing a much longer game than his Mercedes-interests, but that is just speculation on my part.

I agree with many other parts you wrote about, especially in terms of the power units, as I'm sure you've noticed if you read the thread. You raised several interesting points in terms of customer cars and all that, but perhaps we could continue with that in another thread another time.

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Not getting into speculation about the FIA intent or how they will implement, but just thought this reminder would be fun - WE have Party Mode in F1 2020 ourselves!  Thanks Codemasters!

In a Qualifying session, you should have noted that the Fuel Mix setting is not Rich, it's MAX.  This is a mode that is not available to us in practice or race sessions.

Fortunately, all the teams get the same MAX fuel Mix setting.  Well, not the exact same, in that the engines vary depending upon supplier and upgrades, but you know what I mean!

Cheers, Gordon

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