Technical Red Bull floor declared illegal by the FIA


Staff Member
So far this is the only article I can find on it, but it appears Red Bull's floor has been declared illegal by the FIA.

“Following on from a number of discussions in Monaco, during which it became clear that certain misunderstandings existed, we feel it would be helpful to make our position clear with respect to the presence of a fully enclosed hole in any surface lying on the step plane,” a note from the FIA to teams said.

“It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward from the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas.

“We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there,” the note declared. “If they were permitted the opening part of the second paragraph of Article 3.12.5 (which was added to the regulations at the same time as Articles 3.12.9 and 3.12.10 for 2011) would be superfluous).”
What's confusing is Sky posted this just a few hours ago:
So either the first article is incorrect or Sky (and everyone else) are out of the loop.

If true, that will mean making changes for the Canadian GP.

It remains to be seen how that will affect performance.
They were, but that was due to failing post-race scrutineering.

The Red Bulls have passed scrutineering at every race.

Really this is no different to the Renault mass damper, which was also made illegal part way through the season.
Their previous results also stood.
It comes down to what the scrutinisers actually do- which largely consists of checking bodywork with templates, weighing the car and testing the flexibility of wings... If the scrutinisers don't have a test for a certain area, it's likely that the car will pass!

Furthermore, a lot of rules come down to interpretation.... It's like those Michelin tyres- which passed all tests when measured, but failed at the end of the race, when they weren't measured!
Brogan Re. the impact of having to change the floor

Aerodynamically, the wheels and tyres are quite disruptive. Looking at the position and shape of the slots they appear to be designed to have some kind of stalling effect on the airflow over and/or under the tyres. Knowing how effective the quite small hole of the outlawed F-duct's were in in stalling air flow over the rear wing it's possible that the effect could be quite significant. I've had a look at Scarb's take on the RBR floor but he doesn't really talk about those slots or their effect so I'm left with my own imagination at this point.

I may be very wrong so this is just a hypothesis until we get more info', but what i think they do is this:

For this exercise imagine te car is travelling from right to left. If we visualise an airflow (I imagine smoke blowing and I've tested this blowing fag smoke over some of my F1 models!) around the side of the chassis and over the expose area of flow around the "coke bottle" we can see the flow "bumping" into the rear wheel. We can also imagine the rear wheel rotating anti-clockwise so there are eddies and disturbed air above the wheel. Without the slot all of the airflow bumps into the wheel and spills over the top and around both sides. With the hole and the small vertical vane some of the airflow is guided outboard of the vane and down the hole.

The main effect that we can visualise in our imagination, then is that the spill inside of the vane toward the coke bottle is reduced and airflow in that area is "tidied" up and more controlled. The area in fromt of the tyre is perhaps tidied up a bit as well, possibly creating a lower pressure zone in front of the tyre where air collides with it.

The area around the coke bottle is the most important though as this where the designer wants to control what is happening above and around the rear diffuser. The more efficient the airflow in that area then the more efficient will be the diffuser.

.. in theory and in my imagination anyway!
I do believe the difference in performance will equate to a tenth of a second at most. I doubt it will harm RB's chances too much, you do have to wonder why this is only being looked at now if it's been on the car since Malaysia.
Thanks Viscount. I hadn't seen that. Scarb's and I appear to concur about the desired effect of the slot. It's nice to have my aero-visualisation technique backed up by someone else's observations, heh, heh.:)

Edit: no-FIAt-please Don't be surprised if the effect is greater than one expects. Bear in mind it's not just a hole in isolation. There are the vertical vanes running along the floor to the inside of the holes and the holes have "cups" directing some of the "spill" down under the floor in front of the tyres. Could be worth two tenths in my book. Bear in mind that the difference in qualy lap times between one bloke and another can be less than a tenth this could equate to a couple of places on grid.
you do have to wonder why this is only being looked at now if it's been on the car since Malaysia.
The FIA have shown themselves time and time again to be extremely reluctant to (proactively) investigate claims made by other teams. We saw the same thing with the flexing front wing last year.

It either takes an official protest or media coverage for them to take action.
Why weren't the cars declared illegal in any of the scrutineering sessions? Do the stewards even check the cars...

One thing I don't get is how Red Bull 'believed' the system to be legal. I loved what Gary Anderson said on the BBC forum after Monaco, it went along the lines of "Yes the Red Bull system is legal if you believe a sieve is impervious".
What is interesting though is that the tech reg's haven't been changed so the holes always were illegal.
It did however take a technical directive to clarify the FIA's position.

The FIA are useless at policing these type of things though, as you rightly point out regarding the flexi-wings. Given that the holes were always illegal and the FIA say they "consider it implicit" that they always were, then for me there is no way that a) the car should have passed scrutineering and b) previous results should be allowed to stand given that the car has now been declared illegal and therefore has been illegal any time these holes are in place. Misunderstanding or interpreting rules differently is not an excuse - get caught speeding and try telling the police officer you didn't realise what the speed limit was, see how far you get with that. Horner's statement that they believe the car to be fully legal now looks a little stupid, and while i'm glad they have been caught with this one, yet again questions have to be asked as to how a team can run illegal aero parts for a third of a seaosn before they are caught.
When I first read the term fully enclosed hole I thought if a hole is fully enclosed then it isn't a hole is it so thought about it for a bit and have come to the conclusion that they must be talking about some sort of tube or duct that directs the airflow to somewhere or other.

But a tube is not a hole so if the FIA want to say tube or duct then say tube or duct don't start off by saying something is a hole and then try and describe what you mean by a hole and in doing so come up with a whole new meaning for a hole that isn't a bloody hole and should never have been described as a hole in the first place...... :givemestrength:

If dig a hole my garden then it maybe fully enclosed but it is still a hole because it doesn't go anywhere and that's the thing about holes on the whole that is what they do; not go anywhere whereas a tube or a duct goes somewhere it starts here and ends there thus serving a purpose..

Why does the FIA have to make something so simple so bloody complicated?
As I understand it, the term "fully enclosed hole" refers to something like this: O
As opposed to this: C

The second hole would only be possible if the open side was at the edge of the flat plane.
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