Major political storm erupts at Silverstone

Saturday 9th July, 2011 - 1:25pm


Red Bull Racing is at the centre of the turmoil

Red Bull Racing is at the centre of the turmoil

The FIA is expected to make a final decision on the off-throttle diffuser blowing regulations for the British Grand Prix prior to Saturday’s final practice session.

While the sport’s governing body had intended to introduce a blanket maximum of 10 percent throttle for blowing the diffusers on the engine over-run in this weekend’s race, the rules have already received two major tweaks since the teams arrived at the circuit.

Renault and Mercedes, which power the World Championship leading Red Bull and McLaren teams respectively, are at the centre of the controversy, after each manufacturer was handed its own rule concession based upon how their diffuser blowing methods work.

Negotiations, said to be in the name of reliability, have resulted in the Mercedes engines being allowed to run with half their cylinders firing on the over-run, while the Renaults are permitted to run a maximum of 50% throttle on the over-run.

The rulings led to a fiery press conference on Friday evening at Silverstone, where Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner and his McLaren counterpart Martin Whitmarsh both expressed their displeasure with the situation.

“We’re not totally happy with the solution that we have, that’s for sure,” said Horner.

“I’m sure Martin isn’t with his and I’m sure there are a lot of conspiracies in the paddock that these are the reasons why Red Bull is performing or McLaren is performing, or some cars aren’t performing.

“That’s just circumstantial at the end of the day. The fundamentals are that the engine manufacturers have been treated in a fair and equitable manner.”

Whitmarsh described the situation as “messy,” saying the rules should have been left alone until year’s end.

“It’s messy and I think the intention people believed was that we were going to stop exhaust blowing when the driver didn’t have his foot on the throttle,” said Whitmarsh.

“I think that was the simple concept but that concept has been deflected and therefore it hasn’t been clear. And the fact that these things were only coming out during the course of today is fairly extraordinary.”

Mark Webber and Felipe Massa emerged fastest from two weather-effected 90 minute practice sessions on Friday at Silverstone.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi was an impressive third quickest in Practice 2 despite a hefty shunt at Turn 18 in Practice 1.

Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo was 24th and 23rd in the two sessions respectively.

See the full times below

Practice 1

 1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m46.603s
 2 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m47.263s 0.660
 3 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m47.347s 0.744
 4 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.422s 0.819
 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m47.562s 0.959
 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m47.758s 1.155
 7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m48.161s 1.558
 8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.549s 1.946
 9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m48.598s 1.995
10 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.678s 2.075
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m48.730s 2.127
12 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.778s 2.175
13 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m48.794s 2.191
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m48.809s 2.206
15 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.841s 2.238
16 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m48.941s 2.338
17 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m49.603s 3.000
18 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.133s 3.530
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m50.222s 3.619
20 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1m51.119s 4.516
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m52.470s 5.867
22 Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m53.143s 6.540
23 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m53.469s 6.866
24 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m54.334s 7.731

Practice 2

 1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m49.967s
 2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m50.744s 0.777
 3 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.395s 1.428
 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.438s 1.471
 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.518s 1.551
 6 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m51.738s 1.771
 7 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m51.781s 1.814
 8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m51.992s 2.025
 9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m52.169s 2.202
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m52.189s 2.222
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m52.198s 2.231
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m52.325s 2.358
13 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m52.578s 2.611
14 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m52.587s 2.620
15 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m52.869s 2.902
16 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m54.023s 4.056
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m54.274s 4.307
18 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m54.545s 4.578
19 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m54.714s 4.747
20 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m55.155s 5.188
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m55.155s 5.188
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m55.549s 5.582
23 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m55.828s 5.861
24 Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m56.037s 6.070

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