When Caterham F1 and Williams F1 released their 2013 cars, there were concerns over the exhaust outlets and devices that were added to the outlets that could direct heated air to the underside of the car… or so the allegations go.
As the teams were quick to claim their exhausts legal, the FIA was summoned to the debate and have passed jusdgment on the design:
“As with many areas of the Formula 1 rules, those governing exhausts are, to a degree, open to interpretation.
“The rule in question is article 5.8.4 of the technical regulations but there are also a series of ‘clarifications’ to teams from the FIA – which are not published – which constitute part of the rules.
“The key point here, according to the FIA, is that the sides of the channel down which the exhausts can run may not converge – ie the sides of the U-shape have to be either vertical or slope outwards.
“Both the Williams and Caterham designs are in clear contravention of this – Williams’s because the sides form almost a complete circle separated only by a small slot; and Caterham’s because there is a piece of bodywork across the whole channel.
“The FIA believes that if the sides of the tunnel begin to converge then the bodywork is stepping over the line which separates an exhaust with an incidental aerodynamic effect from one where the primary purpose is to affect the aerodynamic performance of the car.
“As ever, though, that line is grey – every single car on the grid has an exhaust outlet design that is designed to affect the aerodynamics.
“It is the FIA’s very difficult job to decide which ones lie on the right side of the line of acceptability and which ones do not.”
So there won’t be any magical silver bullet like the Brawn dual diffuser (Williams also had that at the first race in 2009 along with Toyota) when i comes to the exhaust. back the the drawing board and so much for innovation.