FIA denies bias against Red Bull Racing
Formula One's clampdown on the use of engine electronics and exhaust gases for performance gain is purely technical and not an attempt to rein in Red Bull, race director Charlie Whiting said on Friday.
Briefing reporters at the European Grand Prix, the Briton said the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) believed teams were using illegally 'blown' diffusers and 'extremely extreme' engine maps.
Champions Red Bull have won five of the seven races so far and started all of them from pole position, leading to suspicion that the clampdown at such a point in the season is intended to slow them down.
"I am aware of some stories being written but to be frank with you I know it is not a political one," Whiting said. "I know it is a purely technical intervention from our side and I feel perfectly comfortable with that.
The FIA has told teams that with immediate effect they cannot reconfigure their cars engine mapping between Saturday qualifying and the race.
Red Bull have been blisteringly quick on Saturday afternoons but McLaren have been much closer on race pace.
From next month's British Grand Prix, teams cannot use the engine's electronic systems to gain aerodynamic performance by keeping exhaust gases flowing constantly through the rear diffuser even when drivers lift off the throttle.
Whiting said effectively teams could not now make any changes that involved plugging a computer into the car after qualifying.
"They are allowed to change things that they can do with a switch, on the steering wheel for example," he said.
Not the first time
He likened the clampdown on mapping and exhaust gases to the 'mass damper' controversy that hit Renault halfway through the 2006 season and said the rules themselves had not changed.
"What we are doing is stopping people breaking the existing rules," he explained.
"It's not for us to say whether a certain team would be more penalised than others. It just depends how extreme they are going. But I have certainly seen evidence of maps on a number of teams which are extremely extreme.
"It's not confined to one team, I can assure you," added Whiting.