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Lowe contradicts Brawn's exhaust claims

NEWS STORY
27/10/2011

Mat Coch writes:

Changes to the exhaust regulations for 2012 are not the concern some would have us believe. That's the claim of McLaren's Technical Director Paddy Lowe, who refutes Ross Brawn's suggestion that exhaust regulations set to be introduced next season need to be made tighter still.

The routing of exhausts has been a hot topic - no pun intended - throughout 2011 as teams use gases produced by the engine to produce downforce. It's led to the development of blown diffusers, along with engine maps designed to produce benefits even when the driver is off the throttle. However, with little real world relevance the FIA has moved to put an end to the concepts.

While in favour of the changes, Brawn has claimed he fears teams will still try to exploit loopholes in the reinterpreted regulations and continue to find an advantage using the exhaust gases. "I don't quite understand when technical directors say they fear things like that," scoffed Lowe. "What's there to fear of? Formula One is about - the clue's in the name - it's a formula with a set of constraints which we define in regulations. Once they're set we'll go and work as hard as we can to do as much as we can to make the car quick within those regulations."

Lowe didn't stop there, claiming that the regulations - no matter how tightly worded - could never eliminate the aerodynamic benefit of an engine's exhaust. "It's never been anticipated that that would eliminate the effect of exhaust on downforce. That would be unrealistic. No regulation we've ever written has eliminated an entire affect," he countered. "There will be a finite effect of the exhaust even if you take the simple point that pointing the exhaust out the back gives you a large degree of thrust - that is an aerodynamic affect!"

It's a point he feels the teams are well aware of, implying that claims to the exhaust situation will linger if the rules are tightened is just scaremongering. "The teams went in to that with eyes wide open," he reveals of the process to change the regulations. "I do find it a bit odd when people claim that there's a big fear that people will generate performance from the exhausts. Well, of course they will, that's what we have to do. It's just some very extreme limits have been put to reduce that drastically from where that was."

From 2012 teams must design cars which have their exhaust exiting at the top of the car, similar to the Ferrari system of the late 1990's however one wonders which of the leading teams will be the first to add a fan on top of its exhaust system to help cool the engine.

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