It appears that Formula One’s blown exhaust saga is not over quite yet. The controversy over aggressively using engine gases for an aerodynamic effect came to a spectacular head at Silverstone in July, but it was ultimately resolved that the practice should be banned for 2012. Then, recently, it emerged that the FIA was clamping down even more vigorously in next year’s regulations to guarantee that the exhausts cannot be used to increase downforce.
But when asked by O Estado de S.Paulo in Abu Dhabi if Red Bull will still dominate in 2012 even without a blown diffuser, Mark Webber answered: “Maybe we can still enjoy this concept.”
What? “There are rumours that it (exhaust blowing) will continue,” the Australian explained.
Indeed, it is the FIA’s latest clampdown that has reinvigorated the saga, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. Reportedly, with an unlikely ally in the form of McLaren, Red Bull is pushing back, arguing that the designs of their 2012 cars were too far advanced when the latest FIA clampdown was issued.
On the other side of the debate is Ferrari, Sauber and HRT, vehement that the 2012 rules should not permit any ‘blown exhaust’ loopholes of any kind.
The new problem has arisen because Red Bull and McLaren refused to approve the revised clampdown rules ahead of the recent F1 Commission, with those rules needing to be agreed before they can be ratified by the FIA in December. HRT is the joker in the pack, with rumours in the paddock that the non-FOTA Spanish team might break the current peace by protesting the legality of the current exhaust layouts.
The Colin Kolles-led team would presumably justify the action by claiming their rivals have broken their Silverstone promise to agree to a total blown exhaust ban in 2012.