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Media briefing with Charlie Whiting

NEWS STORY
02/04/2012

At the recent Australian Grand Prix, the FIA's Technical Director Charlie Whiting held a media briefing to discuss aspects of this year’s world championship. Covering changes to the series' sporting and technical regulations, here follows an edited version of this wide-ranging discussion:

Questions have been combined and answers abridged.

New exhaust exits

The legality of teams' interpretations of new exhaust geometry regulations
CW: There's been a fair bit of discussion about exhausts in general. Most of that discussion centres on different interpretations of the new regulations. As you know, last year there was a very simple regulation, which simply required that each car had no more than two exhaust exits. This year there's a whole page on it, and it's designed specifically to ensure any aerodynamic effect from the exhaust is incidental to its primary purpose. Obviously, engineers have had different interpretations on that. All of the systems we've seen so far comply with the extensive new regulations.

We are not in a position to be able to say exactly how much aerodynamic influence each individual system has. Hence, it's impossible for us to say: 'that's too much, or that's OK.' The aim of the new regulation was to ensure that we don't have to do that.

We have no idea how much aerodynamic influence each individual system has, nor, really, at this point, is it anything that interests us. As long as they comply with the rules, we are happy. And as far as we've seen so far, they all do comply with the rules.

Opinion on 're-ingestion'
CW: Re-ingestion of exhaust gasses into bodywork is what we've said we don't want to see. Any reingestion into bodywork would not be allowed. If you're talking about interaction of exhaust gasses with brake ducts, or what can be loosely described as brake ducts, that isn't bodywork, it's classified as suspension. Everything we've seen so far we've been happy with.

Passive F-ducts

Opinion on DRS-activated F-Duct systems
CW: We think they're going to be legal from what we've seen so far.

Why some teams are querying this
CW: Some teams are questioning it on the basis that they thought F-Ducts were banned. F-Ducts are not banned. At the end of 2010 everyone was using driver operated F-Ducts. The regulations that were changed specifically banned the use of driver movement to influence the aerodynamic performance of the car. This got rid of that generation of F-Ducts.

Engineers, being unable to unlearn things, wanted to get the things back via different means. They talked about allowing the opening and closing of a duct by having interaction with suspension. We said no, you can't do that, because it goes to the primary purpose of the suspension system.

There was a discussion in the TWG (Technical Working Group) at the beginning of the last year to make sure this was clear. It seems that a couple of teams went away from that meeting with the impression that F-Ducts were therefore banned in general.

What some teams are doing now is allowing air to pass into a duct when the DRS is operated. It's completely passive, there are no moving parts and it doesn't interact with any suspension or steering systems. Therefore, I can't see any rule that prohibits it.

Pressing the DRS button and the issue of 'driver movement'
CW: This is specifically allowed.

Driver cooling

Potential for aerodynamic benefit from the 'driver cooling' opening in the nose
CW: We would have to look at each case by case. It is there for the specific intention of driver cooling. It should not be possible to do anything else with it other than that, simply because of the one section law. You're only allowed to have one open section in every longitudinal cross-section. You shouldn't be able to get air anywhere else but into the car – so I think it would be very difficult to do anything with that. But you never know…

New safety car rules

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