The FIA issued on Saturday a response on a theoretical fuel-flow ploy submitted by Red Bull which would allow for an engine to deliver an extra boost of power under certain conditions.
Red Bull’s inquiry – the outcome of which it knew in advance – was destined to force the governing body to clarify the legality of a complex system that the Milton Keynes-based outfit suspects another team may be running.
There is no doubt that Red Bull’s initiative targeted Ferrari, whose engine gains and straight-line speed have left its rivals scratching their head in the last few months.
In simple terms, the scheme outlined by Red Bull in its inquiry with the FIA would allow for an increase of the fuel flow while maintaining measuring points of the flow within legal requirements by using electrical noise to disrupt the sample pulses sent from the fuel flow metering units.
Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of technical matters, predictably dismissed such a system in his response to Red Bull’s query, providing teams with a technical directive that cites articles from F1’s technical regulations.
5.10.3: All cars must be fitted with a single fuel flow sensor, wholly within the fuel tank, which has been manufactured by the FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA. This sensor may only be used as specified by the FIA. Furthermore, all fuel delivered to the power unit must pass through this homologated sensor, and must all be delivered to the combustion chambers by the fuel injectors described by Article 5.10.2.
5.10.5: Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate or to store and recycle fuel after the measurement point is prohibited.
The FIA’s clarification doesn’t preclude further inquiries from teams. But Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto remains defiant in the face of the suspicions, encouraging F1’s governing body to offer as much clarity as possible on Ferrari’s engine prowess.