June 4, 2014

Poisoned letter for Red Bull.

Here's a new one for F1, anonymous letters!

There is a bit of mystery this morning about reposts of an anonymous letter mailed from Switzerland to the FIA, Mercedes, Ferrari and Sauber alleging Red Bull and Renault conducted illegal tests.

The letter, according to Germany's AutoBild and MotorsportTotal, alleges that "a Red Bull Team" conducted six days of testing on a rolling road dyno at the AVL facilities in Graz, Austria between the last pre season test in Bahrain and the Australian GP.   AVL is an independent engine development, simulation and testing facility.

As you remember Red Bull and Renault had disastrous results in pre season testing yet were competitive enough for Daniel Ricciardo to come in second (on track anyway).  

The crux of the issue  is that you can't really test an engine on a rolling road in anything but a 1:1 car and that for F1 cars to work they need to have air blowing through them.     Blowing air over a 1:1 F1 car is restricted.

We can confirm a Toro Rosso was indeed tested but it had no front or rear wings and no air was blown over it.   The rules do allow for testing for the purposes of developing cooling components with the caveat that absolutely no direct or indirect measurements be taken for anything relating to aero load.

The car was tested with hoses attached directly to the the engine air inlets,  something which is specifically allowed (F1 Sporting Regulations appendix 8, 1.2 )

"...The only allowable exceptions from this definition are as follows : 
a) Wind tunnel testing which aims to develop components associated with cooling, or the running of the engine from a boundary commencing at the engine air intake duct, passing through the engine and finishing at the exit of the exhaust tailpipes, provided that there is no direct or indirect measurement of aerodynamic force during the test. In this context, pressure and flow measurements within a duct shall not be considered to be measurements of aerodynamic force. ..."

So if this is not anything illegal, the more interesting question is, who and why would someone mail this letter (or invent that such a letter was sent)?


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