Red Bull escapes penalty through rule loophole
22 July 2012 – German Grand Prix stewards have elected not to penalise Red Bull following a technical investigation on Sunday morning. Should the Milton Keynes team have been found guilty for running illegal torque maps, it could have been thrown out of today’s race.
Tension was raised in the Hockenheim paddock earlier today, when FIA Technical Delegate Jo Bauer published a press release.
In his opinion, the cars of Mark Webber and World Champion Sebastian Vettel were breaching article 5.5.3 of the Technical Regulations, which states that a specific amount of torque must be applied to the engine when the throttle pedal is in certain positions.
"Having examined the engine torque map of cars 1 and 2 it became apparent that the maximum torque output of both engines is significantly less in the mid rpm range than previously seen for these engines at other events,” Bauer explained.
This, in effect, meant that the cars could have been running exhaust blowing-like technologies which have been outlawed since the start of the campaign. Bauer submitted his findings to the stewards, which include ex F1 racer Derek Warwick, who soon replied that no penalty has been given.
"While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not break the text of article 5.5.3 of the Formula One Technical Regulations and therefore decide to take no further action," a statement reads.
This all but confirms that Red Bull is taking advantage of a loophole in the regulations; should they have been found guilty, it is possible that the cars may not have been able to start today’s race or, if they disagreed with the stewards’ decision, Webber and Vettel would have raced under appeal.
The stewards’ decision confirms that the results of qualifying do stand and that Red Bull will head into Sunday’s race in normal circumstances. In the event of no further investigations taking place, it may now be up to rival squads to come up with similar tactics.
The German Grand Prix begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report