FIA issue directive on trick engine-mode exhaust-blowing

Renault caused some buzz by showing up in Australia with an exhaust pipe pointed upward to its furthest limit and they even added some protective rear wing material. Clearly, the consensus goes, they are blowing hot exhaust air on to the rear wing for more aerodynamic downforce.

In China, the buzz was centered around a new paddle/button/switch on Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari steering wheel. Some now consider this to be part of an elaborate engine mode feature which bypasses the compressor-turbine system or routes the flow through the cylinders. The point here is that the accusations are mainly focused on generating exhaust air flow which harkens back to the days of off-throttle exhaust creation.

The FIA’s Nikolas Tombazis have has offered a directive this week in order to clamp down on this technology:

“We do not accept that engine modes specifically designed to increase the exhaust flow in corners are permissible,” wrote Tombazis.

“Such (not permissible) engine modes can be either specific to a compressor-turbine by-pass system, or to flow passing through the cylinders.

“To be permissible, such flows should be the result of settings that genuinely increase the performance or reliability of the power unit, and not contrived to increase the exhaust flow.”

The challenge here is that each team may be using varying technology and engine modes in order to achieve this feature and the FIA know it is difficult to throw a blanket over the entire issue.

“Notwithstanding the above point, we do not feel that it is practical or easy to write a catch-all rule that achieves this aim in a perfect way.

“For this purpose, we intend to control the usage of engine modes on a case-by-case basis and provide the necessary requests to the teams in order to stay within the acceptable limits with regard to [the above] point.

“While this is clearly not perfectly satisfactory, we feel it is the best possible way to handle the situation for 2018, especially as the effects are not large in any case.”

The renewed interest in exhaust blowing to improve aerodynamic performance has driven by the lower rear wing with the new aerodynamic changes from last year. While the blown diffuser era had a major impact, the rear wing is still offering some gains now that it is lower and within striking distance of the exhaust outlet.

So what about that Renault up-turned exhaust pipe and rear wing composite? That’s just fine according to the FIA:

“Regarding the tailpipe position in relation to the rear wing and bodywork, we accept any position within the stated limits of the regulations,” Tombazis said.

“It is the right of any competitor to design their car in such way to have the most advantageous installation for their car’s performance, provided this installation is indeed within the limits of the regulations.”

Having said that, the FIA do make note that they will address the exhaust pipe outlet to lessen its impact in 2019.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Just as a basic principle this sport is better off with less rules.


Everyone says this until the teams find some unfair, unsporting workaround to things, and suddenly people scream for more rules.


The extreme is that a car is developed that so overwhelms the others that the series is destroyed. I’m thinking of the 917-30 Can Am cars. Still I remember how amazing the Chapararral 2J fan cars were.


Unfortunately an absence of rules tends to lead to an absence of racing in motorsports, and they go the way of CanAm, SuperTourers, Group C, etc, etc.
F1 would destroy itself too given the chance.
It’s had a good go in the past with brilliant but potentially dominant technologies I.e. Ground Effects, First Era Turbos, Fan car, Actve Suspension, CVT gearboxes, etc . etc, all the stuff I love about F1is probably actually poison as far as a long lived race series is concerned :-(

sunny stivala

Neither the FIA nor Nikolas Tombazis issued any directives on any trick engine mode exhaust blowing. Tombazis was forced by speculations to clarify that what these speculations are implying are not acceptable and are contrary to the rules. The whole tragedy of these speculations galore by a handful of well-known F1 pundits is that when the FIA is forced to clarify things it is interpreted as the speculators were right in what they speculated. First aims of these speculators were directed at Renault. The FIA came out and said that all is legal at Renault. Their second target practice aim… Read more »


Great link thanks Sunny.
You reckon that unexpected 150hp ‘power spike’ might get Ver-crash-en in trouble again this week, or can we expect Perez and Ocon style spatial misjudgements?

sunny stivala

That spike in power was the best dream-up to prove that the car crashed itself. I would very much like to see him and his likes driving the old 1.5l turbo BMW of the past so as he will really experiences what a real spike in power is like. there is one such car owned and restored back to racing condition in Australia, if you can trace the owner restoration report/article you will be amazed at the power curve recorded on the dyno test bed after the engine OH. anybody driving that beast in anger had to have real big… Read more »

Richard Bunce

Wait until some team moves the turbo inlet to the underside of the car and uses MGU-H to power the sucker through the corners. Fake air box on top remains

sunny stivala

Brabham did just that in seventy eight using a fan instead of a turbo.


I thought the fan in the BT46 was used to cool the radiators, but what it really did was suck the car to the ground.


Dunno why the FIA had to step in when whatever was happening was defeating the Mercedes Death Star. Kinda makes me wonder where their loyalties lie.


It looks like the struggle for control of F1 regulations between the FIA and LM is hotting up. We have this ‘clarification’ around exhaust blowing, and while trying to find some information on the increased fuel allowance for 2019, I came upon the article below. The FIA don’t want to wait for the outcomes of the research by the LM Technical Group on modifying aero regulations to reduce loss of downforce on following cars, they want to go straight to THE solution; Simpler front wing, bigger back wing, and a bigger DRS slot. That’s great, because all the other… Read more »

sunny stivala

agree it is a power struggle. the new owners are walking a mine field by their own chose. as is usual by our experienced friend over there at the other site, that was a good take of the real situation, it is a pity he chose to go race the speculation race with the other well known pundits, I recently told him that in my opinion he needs not do that, he will still be one of the best without resorting to the speculation race.


You know, we keep talking about the aero problems, but I don’t see how using blown elements and underbody aero is such a bad thing. I mean, aren’t either of these less susceptible to either caring about or causing a giant wake like we currently have? Just seems like it’d be a good way to keep downforce but still be able to pass. I don’t understand why the FIA is so against this stuff.