July 27, 2012
Red Bull graced by the FIA again!
There's a term in Italian, not clearly translatable: "Fare il furbo" it's somewhere between being clever and devious. F1 is naturally rife with "furbi" but currently Red Bull Racing are the champs.
While Helmut Marko is lamenting a conspiracy against the team with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone conspiring to keep Sebastian Vettel from winning a third title, Christian Horner is usually answering questions with a "who us? we are not doing anything..." and rival teams have been grumbling about RBR and Renault since pre season testing, e the FIA has been quite lenient with the team.
Sure there have been on track penalties (all deserved) and the FIA disallowed their brake ducts venting through the front axle in Canada but let's have a look at what they have gotten away with, without sanctions, this season so far.
1. Illegal holes in Monaco: FIA could have disqualified RBR and not let them start. Of course that's not the sort of thing you want in Monaco, not with that enormous Red Bull Energy Center floating in the middle of the harbor. Michael Schimidt of Auto Motor und Sport writes Jean Todt himself intervened with the other teams to stop them from protesting. Webber went on to win that race.
While you have to admire the brilliance of Renault engineers in finding a way to do this in the gray areas still in the rules specifically banning the very thing they accomplished, you can see how this would irk others, much like Brawn's double diffuser did a few seasons back. The FIA rather than punish the intent, preferred to put a patch on the wording of the rules.
Shocks settings cannot be changed between qualifying and the race. Rather than punish, the FIA allowed RBR to reset the shock and enacted a rule forcing all suspension adjustments to require a clearly visible tool so tech inspectors can better police Parc Fermée. How many times has Red Bull adjusted suspensions before?
Of course, anything not specifically forbidden in the rules is by definition legal so the FIA does share some responsibility and perhaps they simply don't want to look bad for having missed those points.
As I said... Furbissimi!