We are currently experiencing the most exciting drivers’ F1 title duel since 2016. However, alongside the daring maneuvers and wheel to wheel action there has also been mind games and politics. Now, as published in Auto Motor und Sport, Red Bull Racing is apparently interested in seeking a clarification from the FIA regarding Mercedes’ use of their intercooler. As according to Red Bull, the Silver Arrows may be generating more horsepower from this part of the car.
Germany’s leading motorsport publication, Auto Motor und Sport has said that Red Bull Racing have been analysing GPS data recorded from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. In particular, the area which has caught the eye of the would-be challengers to Mercedes’ throne is the way the W12 accelerates.
Red Bull Racing are not the only team to have been attracted to this data as Scuderia Ferrari have also been monitoring the situation. So, what has allegedly been happening?
Auto Motor und Sport have reported that Ferrari and Red Bull Racing believe that Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have found a trick with their intercooler, through a loophole for cooling compressed air to 10 degrees below air temperature.
The reason that this would benefit car performance comes from the property of the colder air as now it would be much denser. Therefore, with air in a denser form more fuel can be burned especially in the first part of the acceleration phase. The belief directed towards the Silver Arrows, is that the way Mercedes has the air flow directed between the intercooler and plenum of their engine means the air is separated quicker. Should this be the case, any car able to do this could produce up to 20 horsepower extra through the acceleration phase.
As a way to put their minds at ease, Red Bull Racing has submitted an official request for clarification to the FIA. This is a term already heard recently this season with Red Bull Racing on the other end of it.
On that occasion, it was Mercedes who sought clarification from the FIA on a safety mechanism used by Red Bull Racing. The safety mechanism was related to pitstops and the consequence of such a question snowballed into the new FIA Technical Directive aimed at slowing down pit stops. A regulation that should have been seen at Spa-Francorchamps but will now debut at Zandvoort.
At the time Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff remarked:
"On the pit stop, we enquired with the FIA on a safety mechanism which is related to a system that we were using, and whether that could be optimized, and that happened, I would say, three or four weeks ago, and it was a technology question. So, did that trigger anything else? Maybe? I don't know. But this is the question we've asked."
So, now what question is Red Bull Racing asking, possibly in return?
Red Bull Racing have submitted an official request for clarification to the FIA, believing that the temperature sensor is measuring in part of the engine that would still be above the required minimum. What will come from this request who knows but we have already seen this season that a simple question can maybe trigger something else.
Thankfully, this weekend we get back to the racing and hopefully that comes to the fore rather than the mind games and politics. Well, one can hope.