Technical McLaren MP4-27 exhaust vents - legal or illegal?

Porceliamone

This cost me a tenner, but so L'Oreal.
Contributor
Has anyone seen where the McLaren exhaust exits are in the test? Apparently the 'plastic car' they unveiled might have been misleading on where they are actually placed. McLaren say thay have various options available so do we have any photos of this so far?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
 

Porceliamone

This cost me a tenner, but so L'Oreal.
Contributor
I was just going to post that image.

From others I've seen it appears McLaren are blowing the brake ducts but suffering from burning the rear floor of the car too. To be expected at a first test and easily resolvable apparently.

The purpose of the bulges remains unclear. It's possible they do not adhere to regulations but are being used as a device to adjust the direction of the exhaust gas flow but without having to actually change exhaust setup.

Time will tell....
 

tranquility2k9

Podium Finisher
Also there's a lot of talk about protests against some of the exhaust designs, most notably Ferrari's. I imagine McLaren's too.

James Alison has been particular vocal about it ( http://twextra.com/astlvb )saying whilst the rules are black and white, there is a technical directive that says exhausts cannot be used principally for aerodynamic gain. Even Newey seems to be siding with all the other teams as it looks like at the moment only Ferrari and McLaren are really exploring some extravagant solutions which look to be aiming to blow the rear brake ducts.

In my mind, I hate this sort of stuff - to me the whole point of writing a rule that declares clear measurements and mathmatical boundaries is that something can either be declared legal or not legal. If you then start saying something is not legal even though it complies with the rules because 1 person has judged so, then this is kind of absurd. All teams will be gaining some kind of aerodynamic gains for the exhausts and if those who have explored more advanced avenues within the rules get told they are illegal then it could really hurt them if they have designed their car around having exits in certain places.

I think if the FIA just wanted to completely stop exhausts being of any aerodynamic gain then they should have just made the positioning of them explicitly within a tiny area. Other wise you just get this drama throughout the season. It's not like the teams can use anymore fuel to blow the exhausts now because off-throttle is banned so I do not really see the problem with blowing exhausts wherever a team wants to, so long as the exhaust pipe, geometry and surrounding bodywork conforms to the rules.
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
I think if the FIA just wanted to completely stop exhausts being of any aerodynamic gain then they should have just made the positioning of them explicitly within a tiny area.
I thought that's what they had done (well, a reasonably small area anyway). But I agree that this 'must comply with the rules and the intent of the rules' stuff is a bit ridiculous. they ought to be able to formulate a rule that guarantees compliance with its own intent, if not what purpose does the rule serve?
I can't help thinking that the best way of preventing the exhaust affecting aerodynamic parts, as I suggested in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek posting of a picture of a Lotus 25 in a thread on the subject last year, would have been to force the designers to terminate the exhausts beyond the rear of the wing / diffuser, so that it couldn't possibiy blow onto anything (except the car behind).
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I can't help thinking that the best way of preventing the exhaust affecting aerodynamic parts, as I suggested in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek posting of a picture of a Lotus 25 in a thread on the subject last year, would have been to force the designers to terminate the exhausts beyond the rear of the wing / diffuser, so that it couldn't possibiy blow onto anything (except the car behind).
What happened to the statement that they were going to have to be periscope exhausts?

As I always say, the FIA deliberately write the rules this way to give the designers some freedom; they have done for years.
Either that or they really are incompetent.

Regarding the "intent", Red Bull weren't too bothered about that last year with their flexi wing which passed the static tests, but was quite clearly illegal when under load.

Here's an article from Autosport on it: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/97400
 

tranquility2k9

Podium Finisher
Regarding the "intent", Red Bull weren't too bothered about that last year with their flexi wing which passed the static tests, but was quite clearly illegal when under load.

Exactly. Newey actually made a statement earlier that I found very interesting.

"We know what we have done over the winter but with things like the exhausts, front wing stiffness [tests] and other things there have been significant regulation changes. Where that leaves us is impossible to say."

Essentially, im not sure if you've heard but the Front Wing tests this year are supposedly going to largly stop flexing wings because the load is placed on just 1 side of the wing or something like that. They've made a new test which might actually work. Anyway, if this is truely the case then I find it intriguing how Newey basically admits there that they will be hurt by the new front wing stiffness tests. Why would he refer to it unless they had a flexi-wing and would be getting hurt by the new test.

In other words, Red Bull have been lying to us quite openly for maybe a year and a half about this and now Newey himself has inadvertently admitted they've been flexing the wing all along.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Exactly. Newey actually made a statement earlier that I found very interesting.

"We know what we have done over the winter but with things like the exhausts, front wing stiffness [tests] and other things there have been significant regulation changes. Where that leaves us is impossible to say."

Essentially, im not sure if you've heard but the Front Wing tests this year are supposedly going to largly stop flexing wings because the load is placed on just 1 side of the wing or something like that. They've made a new test which might actually work. Anyway, if this is truely the case then I find it intriguing how Newey basically admits there that they will be hurt by the new front wing stiffness tests. Why would he refer to it unless they had a flexi-wing and would be getting hurt by the new test.

In other words, Red Bull have been lying to us quite openly for maybe a year and a half about this and now Newey himself has inadvertently admitted they've been flexing the wing all along.

Red Bull have been completely upfront. Just because a wing flexed at speed under load didn't make it illegal. They past all required tests last year. End of story.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Red Bull have been completely upfront.

That is not strictly true. Red Bull and Christian Horner in particular were and are very evasive when it comes to discussions about their technology and how it works. They repeatedly denied their wing flexes. The only people who know for sure whether it does or not have never and will never admit it does or how they do it. Which is perfectly normal in F1.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
That is not strictly true. Red Bull and Christian Horner in particular were and are very evasive when it comes to discussions about their technology and how it works. They repeatedly denied their wing flexes. The only people who know for sure whether it does or not have never and will never admit it does or how they do it. Which is perfectly normal in F1.
Snowy......I was replying to someone who suggested Adrian Newey was lying. I'm not a big Red Bull fan but in reality Newey designed a wing that flexed more than some but pasted the FIA tests. All wings flex to a degree, if Red Bulls flexed more than the FIA anticipated but passed their tests, thats clever engineering, not dishonesty.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Newey designed a wing that flexed more than some but pasted the FIA tests. All wings flex to a degree, if Red Bulls flexed more than the FIA anticipated but passed their tests, thats clever engineering, not dishonesty.
That just highlights how inadequate the tests are.

It goes back to the original comment about not being in the spirit of the rules, something which other teams are now being accused of.
Red Bull were guilty of the same thing last year.
 

Bushi

Pole Sitter
Exactly. Newey actually made a statement earlier that I found very interesting.

"We know what we have done over the winter but with things like the exhausts, front wing stiffness [tests] and other things there have been significant regulation changes. Where that leaves us is impossible to say."

Essentially, im not sure if you've heard but the Front Wing tests this year are supposedly going to largly stop flexing wings because the load is placed on just 1 side of the wing or something like that. They've made a new test which might actually work. Anyway, if this is truely the case then I find it intriguing how Newey basically admits there that they will be hurt by the new front wing stiffness tests. Why would he refer to it unless they had a flexi-wing and would be getting hurt by the new test.

In other words, Red Bull have been lying to us quite openly for maybe a year and a half about this and now Newey himself has inadvertently admitted they've been flexing the wing all along.

In 2007 Mclaren's radical wing was also flexing, yet not a bird was whistling about that.
 

tranquility2k9

Podium Finisher
Snowy......I was replying to someone who suggested Adrian Newey was lying. I'm not a big Red Bull fan but in reality Newey designed a wing that flexed more than some but pasted the FIA tests. All wings flex to a degree, if Red Bulls flexed more than the FIA anticipated but passed their tests, thats clever engineering, not dishonesty.

I am that "someone". Maybe I was wrong to use the word lying. Better way of saying it is that Red Bull in general (not Newey specifically) would avoid answering the question as to whether their wing flexed, when everyone could see it was. I'm pretty sure Christian Horner did say at some point that it did not flex, however, their usual answer would be to ignore the original question and just say that it passed the tests. The only point I was really making was that I found it interesting that Newey in an interview the other day specifically noted that the new front-wing stiffness tests they've devised this year would hurt them and their car design. I just thought it was the most open they've been about their wing flexing before, but he probably said it inadvertently because he's usually very clever with his words.

I am not fussed that their wing flexed so much, they were clever for doing so, but more annoyed by how incompetent the test was and has been for a long time. Hopefully they have now finally sorted it out so they actually have a test to meet the defined regulation, otherwise the regulation is essentially meaningless!

The other reason I was looking at was the fact that teams are now complaining about some exhaust solutions, notably on McLaren and Ferrari's 2012 cars. Their solutions perfectly comply with the actual dimensions and layout specified in the rules, but there are complaints that these solutions are against the "spirit of the rule" and in essence a technical directive that is not actually part of the rules. Newey is one of the people who has referred to this, as in all honesty I think he would be happy to run with something similar to their existing solution as that is what they ran with in 2009 and early 2010. So he probably believes they can make it work better than McLaren and Ferrari for instance. Christian Horner has notably said they have other exhaust solutions they may try but are a bit behind on it compared to the other big 2 teams.

I just find it funny how designers care about the "spirit of the rules" when it does not affect a solution they are using (e.g. the front-wing flexing that was against the spirit of the rule but met the actual rules / tests), but then as soon as it comes to something else that does not suit them so much or may hurt others they soon care so much about the "spirit of the rules" irrelevant of the fact that these exhaust solutions will meet the rules / tests.

Hopefully you now see the point(s) im making. I am not having a dig at Newey, he is a genius and it is obvious that in F1 teams who are complaining 1 minute are doing the opposite the next - it's then nature of Formula 1. The one entity that frustrates me is the FIA and those who write the rules and regulations, because yet again they've messed up with these latest exhaust layout regs and now there could be a big storm between the teams with some teams having solutions declared illegal even though they meet the criteria specified in the rules! In my opinion if the FIA did not want exhausts to have any aerodynamic influence whatsoever then they should have just made them in a complete fixed position. They have said they must go in a fixed area but this area in terms of positioning and also in terms of both vertical and horizontal angling of the exhaust still creates a lot of scope for different solutions and they are completely naive if they think teams will not try to get aero gain. It is not fair for them to say 1 is illegal and another is not if they both meet the rules. Where do you draw the line? Inevitably someone will get hurt who really shouldn't. The whole point of a formal specification written with measurements, boundaries and numbers is that 99% of the time it is unambiguous and straight forward. As soon as you get little directives written (natural language specs) or even personal judgement comes into play on it, then you get problems. I know about this because of what I do as a Software Engineer.
 

Clinton

Rookie
The whole point of a formal specification written with measurements, boundaries and numbers is that 99% of the time it is unambiguous and straight forward. As soon as you get little directives written (natural language specs) or even personal judgement comes into play on it, then you get problems. I know about this because of what I do as a Software Engineer.

As a software engineer, you and your colleagues are trying to make the most functional, sound and bug-free product possible to sell to customers. The F1 management is trying to induce a bunch of competing engineering teams to build cars that when raced together on a circuit produce entertaining racing that draws a crowd and TV audience - they aren't trying to sell the cars to anyone. Given this substantial difference, I don't believe that the formal specifications written by a software engineer and those written by the F1 management should be optimised in the same way.

If the regulations were too precise F1 would become a spec series, since modern technology would allow most of the teams to converge upon more or less a single optimal solution given well-defined and simple geometric constraints on the car design. As things stand this is almost the case, with the cars being generally very similar and the most significant differences being primarily due to rule-bending innovations like the double diffuser, flexi-wing, F-duct, blown diffuser, mass damper et al.

In other words, if the rules were more precisely defined then there would be even less diversity and originality on display in the cars than there is at the moment. The F1 specifications are really a game played by the management and the teams in which the designers try to bend the somewhat vaguely defined and enforced rules and the management allows for a little of this, but not so much that the top teams are able to obtain a huge performance advantage or such that the cars in general regain too much downforce or become unsafe. The F1 management has no reason to clamp down on every rule-bending innovation in draconian fashion, nor should they (at least not unless they change a lot of other things about the formula, for example by switching to "divergent governance" with parameter-based specifications if that be feasible).

Adrian Newey is playing the same game that all of the teams play in complicity with the F1 management, and of course it's in his interests to encourage the F1 management to regard his own rule-bending innovations as just permissible and the other teams' best ideas as being over the line. F1 is a sport and therefore not an entirely serious endeavour, so a little competitive fibbing and misdirection by the teams about their designs harms no-one and is part of the fun (although for reasons of sportsmanship one prefers the drivers and teams not to lie regarding their conduct during races, which is a different matter).
 

Westy

Pole Sitter
On the topic of cars being against the "spirit of the rules" this season and previous seasons, I can't see a problem with it in all honesty. Formula One and it's fans pride the sport for being the pinnacle of motorsport. Other motorsports like Indy car (the new home of Barrichelo?) are a spec car sport where there is little to no room for design changes. I, for one, don't want F1 to turn into a spec series. Yes, some teams manipulate the rules more than others, but if the car is ruled legal to the regs then there should be no complaints.

Red Bull did stretch the limit with their flexi wing, and I wanted Mclaren to be the dominant team, however that is the way that F1 is. Mclaren were feeling the heat in '98 or '99, whichever season they came to Melborne with their extra rear brake solution. Would we, as a forum, be as critical of Mclaren if they had introduced that this season? Or would we celebrate them as finally finding the answer to Newy and Red Bull's dominance?

The pendulum will swing back at some point.
 

Porceliamone

This cost me a tenner, but so L'Oreal.
Contributor
...Red Bull did stretch the limit with their flexi wing...

The pendulum will swing back at some point.

Indeed. As it goes McLaren have come up with a very clever exhaust solution this year, which I understand is being deemed legal - for now, at least by Charlie Whiting.

It basically uses the the air over the sidepod to force the exahust gases down and onto the rear brake ducts/ diffuser area.

Now since there is no aearodynamic effect directly resultant from the position of the exhaust and and design-wise it conforms to the regulations they're legal and free to carry on with them right?

Since in a static test there will be no aerodynamic gain from the solution McLaren have implemented? A static test just like the Redbull flexi wing passed time and time again even though it couldn't have been more obvious it was giving them quite an advantage? The Redbull was allowed to race. Sadly, my prediction is that the FIA will find some kind of reason to ban the McLaren solution even though it 'passes the test'. That or they'll just change the rules to make it illegal.
 
Top Bottom