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What caused Ferrari's lack of pace in Austin?
Engine changed to comply with technical directive 59%  59%  [ 19 ]
Circuit does not suit their car 19%  19%  [ 6 ]
Had to avoid kerbs and bumps 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Trialing high downforce setting 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Sandbagging 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Leclerc ate too much of Binotto's birthday cake 9%  9%  [ 3 ]
Other 9%  9%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 32
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:26 am 
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Ferrari appeared to be much slower in a straight line in this last race.

This has obviously raised a lot of suspicions with people, giving the timing of the technical clarification that Red Bull requested.

Max Verstappen has outright accused them of cheating, but obviously whether they were or were not it's not something that can ever be proven, other then by circumstantial evidence, such as the connection being made regarding their pace.

However, it's not the only explanation for why they were slow. Austin could have just not suited their car - although with the long straight and Suzuka esses, the circuit style is one you'd expect them to be closer than Leclerc was prior to his fastest lap pit stop.

Of course, it was very bumpy and after Vettel's failure Ferrari instructed Charles to avoid the major kerbs and bumps so that could have compromised his pace, the Ferrari certainly looks more fragile than the Red Bull and the Merc.

One final hypothesis I saw was that Ferrari were experimenting with a higher drag set up - which would make sense given they are out of contention for the championship, they may as well get data on a Merc style set up. They wouldn't be competitive with it as it goes against the philosophy of their car, but they can learn data for tyre wear for next year.

But whether you see it as cheating or a legitimate loophole that's been closed, the engine factor is always going to a suspected by many, but the question is, what do you think caused Ferrari's pace drop off?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:32 am 
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Boring answer but we really need another race to judge.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:42 am 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Boring answer but we really need another race to judge.

I agree 100% - I meant to put this in the OP, that one race isn't enough to draw an accurate conclusion - but it's more down to what people's gut instinct/suspicions are.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:46 am 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Boring answer but we really need another race to judge.


100% agree

COTA is a lot like Silverstone which was also a poor race for ferrari


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:48 am 
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I'd like to hope they haven't been doing anything dodgy. It did seem strange though how both Ferrari's struggled off the line and had a race pace inconsistent with the second half of the year.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:54 am 
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I've read a couple of news articles that mention this but haven't really seen any details on what this concerns more specifically. Are there any documents released that explain this in more detail?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:01 am 
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Agree with all those above who say "too early to tell" it would be nice if they just came out and said it like it is!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:17 am 
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Are there any speed trap figures from Austin?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:31 pm 
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Covalent wrote:
Are there any speed trap figures from Austin?

Here ya go. It's a PDF file so I can't post it in the forum.

https://www.fia.com/file/106230/download

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:32 pm 
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Covalent wrote:
Are there any speed trap figures from Austin?


This tweet is all I’ve seen: https://twitter.com/thomasmaheronf1/sta ... 49281?s=21

So an advantage but not the advantage theyve has recently.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:38 pm 
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Lewis, Toto, and Max all voice their opinions over the weekend that Team Red's lack of pace had something to do with complying with the directive. We may never know if Ferrari was exploiting a previously grey area or if they were infringing on a regulation and backed off because of the FIA's scrutiny.

It will certainly be interesting to see if Ferrari can regain their previous straightline speed advantage in Brazil or Abu Dhabi.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:24 pm 
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I think it was mostly because the track. This track punishes the tires and Ferrari's weakness compared to the other top cars is their tire degradation anyway. I reckon Leclerc would have had pole if he had a current spec power unit. Vettel did say he left time on the table and I believe him.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:15 pm 
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froze wrote:
I've read a couple of news articles that mention this but haven't really seen any details on what this concerns more specifically. Are there any documents released that explain this in more detail?

In simplified terms: Red Bull believe that Ferrari were getting their impressive power output by delivering more fuel to the engine than the regulations allow. Of course, the fuel flow to the engine is monitored by FIA mandated fuel flow sensors - however Red Bull discovered it was possible to fool the sensors with a certain electronics arrangement, causing them to underreport the fuel being delivered.

If this was used by a team, they would feed fuel to their engine at a faster rate than the rules allow, but the sensors would not detect the increased fuel flow.

Red Bull asked the FIA if this was allowed (knowing the answer would be no) to trigger greater FIA scrutiny on this area of the engine. Ferrari in retaliation triggered some technical clarifications regarding aspects of the Red Bulls and the Mercs (something to do with suspension on the Mercedes, I don't know what it was on the Red Bull) so those teams were also swamped by extra FIA inspections.

In my opinion - if Ferrari (or any team) did this then it would be pretty low. It's one thing to find a clever loophole in the regulations (like the double diffuser) which the rules didn't intend but is legally possible to design. It's completely different to design something that covers up a breach of the rules. The rules don't say "the engine's fuel flow sensor mustn't read a fuel flow rate higher than 100kg/h" - they say the fuel flow rate mustn't be higher than that. Coming up with a way to trick the sensors is not clever engineering.

Having said that - we don't have proof Ferrari have done this, and even though it's looking suspicious (not proven, and we still need more races to show a trend) - I would be shocked if they had done it. It's the sort of thing that would inevitably get out, and not only that it would taint the victory should they manage to win. Once it came out the story would be "you only managed to beat Mercedes because you cheated" - so, while it does look like something is off, at the moment I believe they were either trialing new aero or just had issues with the circuit. But I will admit a large part of this is because I don't want it to be true for the sake of the integrity of Ferrari and of the sport.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:33 pm 
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That's the second detailed explanation today ATH, Albon's tyres being the other one, thanks. Whilst its seems that this whole incident might not just be a coincidence and Ferrari might have been 'fiddling the books' there is no clear , proof as yet.
Max saying that 'Ferrari cheated' is typical Max , he is playing a dangerous game really, not only blotting his copybook with Ferrari but open to legal challenge if he is wrong. Hamilton and Mercedes have said the same but a bit more cautiously.
Of course both Mercedes and Red Bull might have more info than the rest of us but there is going to be a lot of 'egg on faces' if Ferrari disappear down the straight in Brazil.

It is odd though that is such a difference in Ferrari's performance in practice and race. More to follow I'm sure.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:06 pm 
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Mort Canard wrote:
Covalent wrote:
Are there any speed trap figures from Austin?

Here ya go. It's a PDF file so I can't post it in the forum.

https://www.fia.com/file/106230/download

Thanks. Without knowing what kind of tows each car had though, I'd say this is inconclusive.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:31 pm 
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Another one of the "too early to say" brigade here , but the coincidence is hard to ignore. A drop off off in qualifying after a run of car being the car to beat, and they they were nowhere in those opening laps although that did seem more grip related.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:46 pm 
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My understanding was that Ferrari's straight line speed changed overnight from Friday to Saturday, which was reported by Red Bull and Mercedes whose data showed that they were suddenly losing much less time to Ferrari down the back straight in qualifying compared to practice. I believe this was reported on the Sky broadcast at some point in the weekend. If true, it's pretty damning evidence.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:52 pm 
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j man wrote:
My understanding was that Ferrari's straight line speed changed overnight from Friday to Saturday, which was reported by Red Bull and Mercedes whose data showed that they were suddenly losing much less time to Ferrari down the back straight in qualifying compared to practice. I believe this was reported on the Sky broadcast at some point in the weekend. If true, it's pretty damning evidence.


Yes I read somewhere that the straight-line difference on Friday was double that on Saturday. Obviously could be engine modes but I'd guess that would be unlikely


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:09 pm 
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If what we hear is true -- that their advantage was cut in half between Friday and Saturday -- it's an awfully long coincidence to be anything else. I agree we'll have to wait and see, but my gut instinct says they were doing exactly what the directive says you can't do.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:40 pm 
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This from Toto : "“We just had a discussion about the data from the race, and the speed trace looks totally different to the last few races, whether it’s down to the technical directive or down to another issue, I honestly don’t know as we can’t look into what Ferrari has done.”

The argument of higher down force for better cornering isn't exactly helped when Hamilton literally drove round Vettel around a corner either, unless you fully buy that can't get-heat-in-the-tyres suggestion.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:51 pm 
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Mort Canard wrote:
Covalent wrote:
Are there any speed trap figures from Austin?

Here ya go. It's a PDF file so I can't post it in the forum.

https://www.fia.com/file/106230/download

Leclerc's start/finish speed would suggest there is still a substantial advantage in acceleration. The gap was similar in qualifying.

I'm not totally convinced but I think this was just a tyre issue. The Ferrari really didn't like the yellow stripes for whatever reason.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:27 pm 
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It's hard to be sure from one race, but given that they actually looker faster Friday than the rest of the weekend, I'm willing to believe that it may have something to do with a regulations breach (or potential regulations breach, I suppose).

If it weren't for the difference between Friday and Saturday/Sunday, I'd suspect the unexpectedly low - although very pleasant for attending the race! - temperatures were more of a factor, since this year and last the Ferrari generally seems to perform better when it's warmer. It's also hard to be sure, given that Vettel was out so quickly, rather this was just Leclerc being off the pace for some reason or a general lack of pace from the Ferrari. So, yeah; no way to be sure just from this race, but it does look suspicious.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:34 pm 
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Marc Priestley's youtube video talks abiut Ferrari's pace in Austin from the start and the issue with Vettel's car. I dont know how to link videos but worth a watch.

https://youtu.be/TarVSio8jqc

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:17 am 
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It could be that they had to make some changes to the car because of the restriction FIA imposed and their car got even worse than expected. 52secs off in a 56lap race is a huge drop in performance compared to Mexico where the difference was only 2secs.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:29 am 
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Mercedes-Benz wrote:
It could be that they had to make some changes to the car because of the restriction FIA imposed and their car got even worse than expected. 52secs off in a 56lap race is a huge drop in performance compared to Mexico where the difference was only 2secs.

Remember, Leclerc did an extra stop to get the fastest lap, so the true difference is around 30-35 seconds.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:30 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:51 am 
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Alienturnedhuman wrote:
froze wrote:
I've read a couple of news articles that mention this but haven't really seen any details on what this concerns more specifically. Are there any documents released that explain this in more detail?

In simplified terms: Red Bull believe that Ferrari were getting their impressive power output by delivering more fuel to the engine than the regulations allow. Of course, the fuel flow to the engine is monitored by FIA mandated fuel flow sensors - however Red Bull discovered it was possible to fool the sensors with a certain electronics arrangement, causing them to underreport the fuel being delivered.

If this was used by a team, they would feed fuel to their engine at a faster rate than the rules allow, but the sensors would not detect the increased fuel flow.

Red Bull asked the FIA if this was allowed (knowing the answer would be no) to trigger greater FIA scrutiny on this area of the engine. Ferrari in retaliation triggered some technical clarifications regarding aspects of the Red Bulls and the Mercs (something to do with suspension on the Mercedes, I don't know what it was on the Red Bull) so those teams were also swamped by extra FIA inspections.

In my opinion - if Ferrari (or any team) did this then it would be pretty low. It's one thing to find a clever loophole in the regulations (like the double diffuser) which the rules didn't intend but is legally possible to design. It's completely different to design something that covers up a breach of the rules. The rules don't say "the engine's fuel flow sensor mustn't read a fuel flow rate higher than 100kg/h" - they say the fuel flow rate mustn't be higher than that. Coming up with a way to trick the sensors is not clever engineering.

Having said that - we don't have proof Ferrari have done this, and even though it's looking suspicious (not proven, and we still need more races to show a trend) - I would be shocked if they had done it. It's the sort of thing that would inevitably get out, and not only that it would taint the victory should they manage to win. Once it came out the story would be "you only managed to beat Mercedes because you cheated" - so, while it does look like something is off, at the moment I believe they were either trialing new aero or just had issues with the circuit. But I will admit a large part of this is because I don't want it to be true for the sake of the integrity of Ferrari and of the sport.

Thanks! If it's true that Ferrari triggered some clarifications in retaliation, then it might very well be that they were up to no good, or why else would they have reacted that way?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:13 am 
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So practically how would such a device work? Is it hard wired or perhaps switchable, locally or remotely. Is it a component on a circuit board or a little black box? Does it automatically switch to allow standard flow when monitored? I'm just wondering if it would be visible on scrutineering. If it exists of course!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:14 am 
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Option or Prime wrote:
So practically how would such a device work? Is it hard wired or perhaps switchable, locally or remotely. Is it a component on a circuit board or a little black box? Does it automatically switch to allow standard flow when monitored? I'm just wondering if it would be visible on scrutineering. If it exists of course!

Yes that's the information that would interest me; how exactly is the alleged cheat technically working.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:11 am 
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Mark Hughes wrote this in the comments under his race report:

"Tec Directive 0035/19.
In response to Red Bull asking if it would be legal to run a pulsing electrical signal to interfere with the fuel flow meter so that in between the 2000Hertz frequency measuring points, it could momentarily (and repeatedly) exceed the nominal fuel flow regulation limit (sort of like momentarily doing 80mph in a 70mph limit but still staying within a 70mph limit as measured between two points).

The FIA said no TD 0035/19, citing the following regs.

5.10.3 All cars must be fitted with a single fuel flow sensor, wholly within the fuel tank, which has been manufactured by the FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA. This sensor may only be used as specified by the FIA. Furthermore, all fuel delivered to the power unit must pass through this homologated sensor, and must all be delivered to the combustion chambers by the fuel injectors described by article 5.10.2.

5.10.5 Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate or to store and recycle fuel after the measurement point is prohibited."

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:20 am 
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Option or Prime wrote:
So practically how would such a device work? Is it hard wired or perhaps switchable, locally or remotely. Is it a component on a circuit board or a little black box? Does it automatically switch to allow standard flow when monitored? I'm just wondering if it would be visible on scrutineering. If it exists of course!

Well I don't think that Red Bull know how Ferrari implemented it (assuming they were doing it) - and presumably it would be hidden away, in some electronic device that ostensibly served some other purpose that the drivers could activate but in the process ended up interfering with the fuel flow sensor.

(Again, assuming Ferrari were doing this) It would also explain why the other Ferrari powered cars didn't get the same performance bonus - Ferrari would want as few people as possible to know about it and other teams would be more susceptible to leaks. It's entirely possible the drivers didn't even know it was on the car. They would just know they had a high power mode without knowing how it worked.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:21 am 
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One question : If you manage to cheat by bypassing the fuel flow sensor, and so get a "much higher" fuel flow rate than allowed, doesn't it imply that your fuel consumption is higher than allowed. The total fuel consumption being limited and controlled, you should run dry before the end of the race. Or did I miss something ?

As for Verstappen comment... Let's say he will never win a WDC. I may find some WDC more likeable than others, but can't name one who had a neuronal deficit (yes, not even Mansell...). As I wrote elsewhere, statistics let very little chance to see Verstappen Junior win one.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:25 am 
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Harpo wrote:
One question : If you manage to cheat by bypassing the fuel flow sensor, and so get a "much higher" fuel flow rate than allowed, doesn't it imply that your fuel consumption is higher than allowed. The total fuel consumption being limited and controlled, you should run dry before the end of the race. Or did I miss something ?

As for Verstappen comment... Let's say he will never win a WDC. I may find some WDC more likeable than others, but can't name one who had a neuronal deficit (yes, not even Mansell...). As I wrote elsewhere, statistics let very little chance to see Verstappen Junior win one.

The cars can't even run at the legal maximum for the full duration of the race - they are only allowed 105kg of fuel, and the fuel flow rate of 100kg/h would mean they'd need over 150kg of fuel for most circuits.

So if a team was exceeding the 100kg/h, they wouldn't be doing it constantly, just like none of the legal teams are running at the max fuel rate all the time. The benefit it brings is greater acceleration out of corners and higher top speeds at key moments (such as qualifying laps or overtaking / defence)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:49 am 
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Alienturnedhuman wrote:
Harpo wrote:
One question : If you manage to cheat by bypassing the fuel flow sensor, and so get a "much higher" fuel flow rate than allowed, doesn't it imply that your fuel consumption is higher than allowed. The total fuel consumption being limited and controlled, you should run dry before the end of the race. Or did I miss something ?

As for Verstappen comment... Let's say he will never win a WDC. I may find some WDC more likeable than others, but can't name one who had a neuronal deficit (yes, not even Mansell...). As I wrote elsewhere, statistics let very little chance to see Verstappen Junior win one.

The cars can't even run at the legal maximum for the full duration of the race - they are only allowed 105kg of fuel, and the fuel flow rate of 100kg/h would mean they'd need over 150kg of fuel for most circuits.

So if a team was exceeding the 100kg/h, they wouldn't be doing it constantly, just like none of the legal teams are running at the max fuel rate all the time. The benefit it brings is greater acceleration out of corners and higher top speeds at key moments (such as qualifying laps or overtaking / defence)


I know they wouldn't do it constantly. But anyway, using a higher fuel flow "only" when exiting corners or at key moments, and using a normal fuel rate the rest of the time should result in a higher global consumption. There's not much petrol left in the tank at the end of the race in cars using a "strictly legal" fuel flow, so "cheating" even 6 to 8 times a lap during a small number of laps should dry the tank, hence my question. Or the Ferrari PU is quite abstemious when run "legally".

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:11 am 
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Harpo wrote:
Alienturnedhuman wrote:
Harpo wrote:
One question : If you manage to cheat by bypassing the fuel flow sensor, and so get a "much higher" fuel flow rate than allowed, doesn't it imply that your fuel consumption is higher than allowed. The total fuel consumption being limited and controlled, you should run dry before the end of the race. Or did I miss something ?

As for Verstappen comment... Let's say he will never win a WDC. I may find some WDC more likeable than others, but can't name one who had a neuronal deficit (yes, not even Mansell...). As I wrote elsewhere, statistics let very little chance to see Verstappen Junior win one.

The cars can't even run at the legal maximum for the full duration of the race - they are only allowed 105kg of fuel, and the fuel flow rate of 100kg/h would mean they'd need over 150kg of fuel for most circuits.

So if a team was exceeding the 100kg/h, they wouldn't be doing it constantly, just like none of the legal teams are running at the max fuel rate all the time. The benefit it brings is greater acceleration out of corners and higher top speeds at key moments (such as qualifying laps or overtaking / defence)


I know they wouldn't do it constantly. But anyway, using a higher fuel flow "only" when exiting corners or at key moments, and using a normal fuel rate the rest of the time should result in a higher global consumption. There's not much petrol left in the tank at the end of the race in cars using a "strictly legal" fuel flow, so "cheating" even 6 to 8 times a lap during a small number of laps should dry the tank, hence my question. Or the Ferrari PU is quite abstemious when run "legally".

Ferrari have had a big speed advantage in qualifying over races - Mercedes have been ahead in race pace at every circuit. They Ferrari only managed to convert Belgium and Spa due to the power advantage on the straights, and Singapore because overtaking requires a huge lap delta. Whether they used this exploit or not, this fits the profile of using it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:18 pm 
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Ferrar did look very slow on sunday but I am willing to put this down to an off Vettel weekend and Leclerc lacking track time and on an old power unit. We will get the answer next race anyway. It does seem very suspicious though. Even without any trick, judging by customers performance and the works teams the Ferrari is still probably the best engine, however the Mercedes chassis is quite a way ahead of the Ferrari one.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:01 pm 
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F1_Ernie wrote:
Mark Hughes wrote this in the comments under his race report:

"Tec Directive 0035/19.
In response to Red Bull asking if it would be legal to run a pulsing electrical signal to interfere with the fuel flow meter so that in between the 2000Hertz frequency measuring points, it could momentarily (and repeatedly) exceed the nominal fuel flow regulation limit (sort of like momentarily doing 80mph in a 70mph limit but still staying within a 70mph limit as measured between two points).

The FIA said no TD 0035/19, citing the following regs.

5.10.3 All cars must be fitted with a single fuel flow sensor, wholly within the fuel tank, which has been manufactured by the FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA. This sensor may only be used as specified by the FIA. Furthermore, all fuel delivered to the power unit must pass through this homologated sensor, and must all be delivered to the combustion chambers by the fuel injectors described by article 5.10.2.

5.10.5 Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate or to store and recycle fuel after the measurement point is prohibited."

Still taking all of this with a grain of salt but if the above is a true reflection of what Ferrari were doing, then it's blatant cheating IMO.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:26 pm 
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mmi16 wrote:
Is the Pope catholic?


No he isn't.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:30 pm 
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I think this makes back to back seasons where, as soon as the FIA took steps to "clarify" their approach, they lost performance noticeably. If you recall, the same thing happened when the FIA temporarily installed a second sensor to monitor their battery output last year. So at the very least, it seems that Ferrari are fairly consistently trying to circumvent the regulations. From there, whether or not you choose to call them cheaters is more about semantics.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:31 am 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
mmi16 wrote:
Is the Pope catholic?


No he isn't.

He isn't Jewish or Muslim......

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