2018-05-29 01:11:48 UTC
bottom of the page.
Off track, Monaco was dominated by a row over Ferrari's battery, which its
leading rivals suspected of being illegal.
Governing body the FIA has been investigating it for a month. F1 director
Charlie Whiting says they were already on it when Mercedes technical
director James Allison brought it to their attention before the race in
Azerbaijan a month ago.
Mercedes knew about it because of a new employee, who had recently joined
from Ferrari after six months' gardening leave.
Batteries are important in F1 because they are part of the engine's hybrid
system. And if a team can find a way of supplying more energy from the
battery to the hybrid system, that is more power overall. It would also be
against the rules.
The issue was that Ferrari's battery design was different to that of the
Whiting told BBC Sport: "The architecture does potentially allow some of the
current going to the MGU-K to bypass the meter - the FIA-approved sensor. It
doesn't mean it is by-passing it. We wanted to be absolutely sure it
The FIA says it is now satisfied that Ferrari had not been using the system
inappropriately and has put in place a fix to ensure it can now be monitored
more effectively than before.
But it is less than perfect because it requires, Whiting says, "some fairly
complex checks" and the FIA would rather Ferrari added a sensor that enabled
them just to see the answer straight away.
The governing body, Whiting says, has discussed with Ferrari how this might
be done via "a robust long-term solution" through "the implementation of
additional sensors to verify more quickly that the energy and power limits
are not being exceeded".
But as battery systems are complex, teams only have two for the season, and
a sensor would have to be custom-designed and made, it will take time.
Right now, though, with Mercedes and Red Bull both concerned about whether
Ferrari have been exceeding the limits on power produced by electrical
energy, there is a fundamental question: can the FIA assure people that the
integrity of the championship has not been undermined?
Whiting said: "Absolutely."
That is about the most comprehensive report of the issue I've seen written
in one place but I have a few notes to add that I've picked up from reading
Firstly; The ex-Ferrari Mercedes employee who bought the issue to their
attention did so because he had experience of it from last year.
Secondly (and this isn't clear above); Whiting as said that he's confident
Ferrari hasn't exceeded the allowed energy deployment based on data gathered
over the last two races - this statement can only apply to those races. That
leaves the first four races of this year (and who kinows how many previous
to that) as unknowns due to Ferraris crafty wiring.
Thirdly; When Whiting says that he can assure people that the integrity of
the championship hasn't been undermined he's saying that as an employee of
FOM with a vested interest and knowing that there isn't anyone who is in a
position to bring facts to disagree with him. There are no facts or data to
say otherwise as Ferrari deliberately designed their system so that energy
could be deployed without being monitored.
If Whiting was absolutely sure Ferrari were playing within the rules why
then is he talking about further sensors and future changes to more
accurately monitor the energy deployment?
This is what annoys me about Ferrari. They don't hesitate to... bend the
rules. This combined with their elevated position within F1 (the right to
veto propositions and taking the biggest bite of the profits) means that if
they get caught it's higly unlikely they'll be punished. I like fair play
and it bugs me that my favourite motorsport series is often *not* unbiased
and fair to all teams.
"Humans will have advanced a long, long way when religious belief has a cozy
little classification in the DSM*."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)
(*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)