• Exhaust regulations

Exhaust ban was 'unpoliceable' - Lowe

ESPNF1 Staff
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Paddy Lowe leaves the Technical Working Group meeting on Sunday with McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh © Sutton Images
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McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe believes the ban on off-throttle blown diffusers at the British Grand Prix was "unpoliceable", but insists the FIA was not to blame for the confusion and controversy over the weekend .

The FIA went to Silverstone with the intention of banning the systems, which use complex engine maps to boost the performance of the diffuser by continually blowing it with exhaust gas. But because each manufacturer had a different method for exhaust blowing, which in some cases was closely linked to the engine's reliability, it soon became clear that it would be difficult to create a level playing field with one rule.

As a result the teams and the FIA have now agreed to return to the regulations used at the European Grand Prix for the rest of the season, with a fresh set of rules ready to outlaw diffuser blowing completely in 2012. Lowe, whose McLaren team was hit hard by the ban at Silverstone, said the FIA had only been acting in what it considered to be the best interests of the sport and believes it made the correct decision by having an open discussion with the teams.

"I think the FIA have done an honest job and worked very hard to try and police the regulations as they see they are," he told ESPNF1. "I think they've only realised now as the weeks have gone on how difficult it is and I don't think there is any embarrassment for them as long as you reach a view that the regulations are unpoliceable in this respect and in the short-term."

The Technical Working Group (TWG), which is made up of senior technical staff from all the teams, met twice over the weekend to thrash out a solution. Lowe said the only fair course of action for the rest of the season was to return to the Valencia regulations.

"That was the case with [the mid-1990s ban on] traction control and the FIA decided it was unpoliceable for a number of years until they brought in the standard ECU," Lowe said. "Just because you have regulations it doesn't mean they are always policeable, [especially] if they are complex and difficult to interpret and difficult to measure. The best regulations are things that are measured in millimetres or weighed in grams. What the TWG have a duty to do is create regulations that are clear and policeable and I think this is a clear case of that."

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