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FIA to ban engine party modes?

NEWS STORY
13/08/2020

It is understood that the FIA is looking to ban engine modes, such as Mercedes infamous qualifying 'party mode' in time for the forthcoming Belgian Grand Prix.

The move, which would mainly impact those teams using the Mercedes power unit, would come at a time the paddock is already divided by the Racing Point row and the need for a new Concorde Agreement.

In a letter to all the teams, the FIA's secretary general for motorsport, Peter Bayer states that a technical directive is in process and will be applicable by the time the F1 'circus' arrives at Spa later this month.

Under the heading, "power unit ICE modes - reduction of the scope of adjustability between qualifying and the race", the letter makes clear that the FIA is looking to make teams run the same engine mode in both the race and qualifying.

According to Motorsport.com, the non-regulatory letter references two FIA rules:

Article 2.7 of the 2020 technical regulations, which is headed "Duty of Competitor," and which reads: "It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an Event.

The design of the car, its components and systems shall, with the exception of safety features, demonstrate their compliance with these regulations by means of physical inspection of hardware or materials. No mechanical design may rely upon software inspection as a means of ensuring its compliance.

"Due to their nature, the compliance of electronic systems may be assessed by means of inspection of hardware, software and data."

And Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, which requires cars to be driven "alone and unaided", the letter noting 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".

"In order to address the above concerns in the future," the letter continues, "we will be requiring that during the qualifying session and the race, the PU should operate in a single mode," subsequently confirming that a technical directive will be in place in time for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Other than the 'party mode' which enhances qualifying performance, the directive would also apply to engine management during races, such as when drivers are told to "turn down" their power units for the purpose of reliability.

If nothing else, the mid-season timing of the ban seems odd, and we await Toto Wolff's comments with interest.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by aroutis, 14/08/2020 10:38

"Finally a good decision. Of course it is a driving aid when you're getting all boosted while qualifying, while during race you cannot use the same mode because you'll ruin your engine.
These modes should've been deemed illegal a good while now.
But then, how would we have Luis talking about party mode and getting his records straight hm?

Hopefully we'll see other good decisions, for the good of the sport , like the ones that were made in 2003, 2005, those that were made after RBR 4 consecutive championships. "

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by C5, 13/08/2020 20:05

"I also don't buy that the driver selecting different modes is not the driver driving the car. When I push the Sport button or reduce the traction control or selective damping or any of all the other gadgets my car might have, surely it is still me driving the car?

If it isn't, could the FIA please provide me a letter with that in writing?

I'm sure their arguments are SO convincing that when I appear i court for doing 120 in a 55 zone I can just show the just their letter the judge will instantly dismiss the case on the grounds that I "wasn't driving the car". Yearh, that's sounds right. Sure!"

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3. Posted by C5, 13/08/2020 19:57

"And the point of this is... what?"

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4. Posted by kdxrider, 13/08/2020 16:53

"Got to dumb it down to Ferrari level right?"

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5. Posted by Burton, 13/08/2020 15:59

"Can't say I disagree with the move, but definitely not mid-season, c'mon!"

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6. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 13/08/2020 14:57

"That's sounds like a pretty lame mandate. "

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7. Posted by Oldgit, 13/08/2020 14:39

"I smell a rotten egg with an aftertaste of Ferrari veto!"

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8. Posted by Nortim, 13/08/2020 14:12

"No more scenario 7?"

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