FIA banned party mode to protect itself

17-09-2020 12:37 | Updated: 17-09-2020 16:02
F1 News
FIA banned party mode to protect itself

A bit out of the blue, the FIA recently came up with a fairly important change in the regulations concerning the engines. The qualifying mode or party mode was suddenly banned for the Italian GP onwards. A relatively far-reaching ban and that during an active season was striking, the technical man of the FIA, Nikolas Tombazis, now explains what made the FIA move in that direction.

No change

Several teams have indicated for some time that such a mode should be banned, also in view of Mercedes taking full advantage of it. Now that the ban has entered and we are two qualifications/races ahead, the differences are not really special. So the question is whether it has had an effective impact on sportsmanship.

In the end, the FIA went over and not only at the insistence of the teams, it was also to protect itself. This in order to guarantee that the engines would always operate in line with the rules. Something that is very difficult to control with different engine settings because of the complexity of the power sources today.

Complex engines

Tombazis explains at Auto, Motor und Sport: "Unfortunately, it's no longer as simple as the days of V8 engines. In order to reach the maximum speed at that time, it was necessary to have the dimensions correct and that the fuel complied with the rules. The problem with today's power sources is that although the hardware can be completely legal, there is still a possibility of operating it illegally."

"To prevent this, we need to continuously monitor an endless amount of parameters through the software, as well as the signals and sensor messages while driving. If a driver adjusts the engine settings every lap, it is very difficult to check the operation of the engine every lap to see if it complies with the rules. Especially during special moments in a race, such as the lap before or after a pit stop or when overtaking."

That's what the FIA was up against, and at the time of any disturbances, a lot of factors have to be compared and that made it too complex.

Oil consumption during races

Tombazis also sketches a practical example with regard to oil consumption during a race. "We have limited oil consumption to 0.3 liters per 100 kilometers to prevent oil from being used in the combustion process. However, we do not measure this consumption over the entire race distance, but after each lap. It is forbidden to use more for a short period of time and save some later on."

"If you switch between different engine settings now, it is extremely difficult to continuously monitor oil consumption. This was one of the reasons why we implemented this technical guideline," which is in line with self-protection. In other words, the FIA wants to avoid endless wrangling over legality should an incident occur.

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