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Red Bull not worried about diffuser ban

The FIA has banned the use of ‘off-throttle’ blown diffusers ahead of this weekend’s European Grand Prix, with further restrictions in place for Silverstone onwards.

If you are unsure what an ‘off-throttle’ blown diffuser is, it’s relatively simple to explain but horrendously complicated to practice, so here goes…

Rear diffusers channel the airflow to generate downforce for a car (remember the chaps’ Britcar 24hr BMW with the front-splitter?) allowing it to fire through corners at great speeds. An F1 car’s exhaust supplies hot air to the rear diffuser, giving it a lovely supply of constant downforce - but only when the driver is on the throttle.

When the driver lifts, this airflow stops, the car loses downforce and, consequently, cornering speed. Some teams have adapted their engine maps for qualifying to keep hot air flowing through the exhaust even when the driver isn’t on the throttle. It consumes more fuel, obviously, but on a flying lap it gives incredible pace.

Now the FIA has banned this practice, saying ECU maps can’t be altered between qualifying and the race, prompting some - including McLaren - to suggest the tearaway pace of Red Bull might be pegged back.

Red Bull chiefs Dr Helmut Marko and Christian Horner have both shrugged off the suggestion, but who knows what could happen? Dr Marko himself reckons the Lotus Renault GP R31 featuring front-exiting exhausts could be one of the biggest losers.

Keith Collantine from F1 Fanatic said: “Changing how rules are enforced in the middle of a season is always going to affect some teams more than others.

“Naturally, suspicion will fall on the team that are performing best - and that’s definitely Red Bull.

“They haven’t been beaten in qualifying all year and lap times suggest they have a special something in reserve for their final flying laps.”

What say you, TopGear.commers? Reckon this ban will finally allow somebody else to win? Or are Red Bull too smart to be outwitted by an ECU mapping ban?

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