What was behind F1's new exhaust limit

While much of the focus of Formula 1's new regulations package has been about radical changes like the cost cap reduction and the aero development handicap system, there were some interesting detail changes too that could have an impact on the intra-team battle.

What was behind F1's new exhaust limit

Sometimes such detail changes offer a fascinating insight in to the games teams have been playing, and the hidden areas where extra performance (however small) was being sought for potential big costs.

Part of the fun of deciphering a new set of regulations has been taken away in the last few years as the FIA now marks out what has been changed. However, that's not to say there isn't a valuable lesson in being able to read between the lines.

The change in the car's minimum weight from 643kg to 649kg and the power unit from 145kg to 150kg is one that requires little explanation: as they stop teams spending a fortune trying to save tiny amounts of weight.

We've also already covered the changes made to the floor, which will be changing in 2021 in a bid to limit each team's ability to increase downforce – and therefore ease concerns that F1's tyres could be pushed beyond their limit.

But one less obvious change is that teams and the FIA have now moved to better define what constitutes an exhaust system in the technical regulations, altering several articles within to do so.

On the face of it, this doesn't seem like much until you get to Article 23.3 in the Sporting Regulations which tells us that teams will only be able to use eight exhaust systems per season from 2021, bringing them in-line with the rules and penalty system that governs the power unit.

This was a change originally coming in with the 'new' 2021 rules package that has been delayed until 2022, but it seems teams have been eager to ensure it stays fast-tracked for next season rather than gets put back.

Exhausts have up until this point been excluded when it comes to being classified as part of the power unit. This has allowed teams to design and supply their own, independent of their deal with each given power unit supplier.

However, what this has done is open the door for teams to use materials that are more performance or weight orientated – and with that comes increased costs.

This not only brings added expenditure through research and development, but there are added parts cost too, through more expensive materials and the fact that exhaust systems were being replaced at a higher frequency than the limited power unit components.

Read Also:

In fact, in typical F1 fashion, it's more than likely that teams have been replacing their exhaust system at every race, as up until this rule change coming through there was nothing to prevent them doing so.

In 2019, McLaren even went one step further and replaced the exhaust systems on both cars between qualifying and the race at three consecutive races - Bahrain, China and Baku.

Under parc ferme regulations, these were like-for-like replacements, but they suggest that exhausts were getting damaged very early in their life.

Whether or not there were performance gains to be had from running exhausts right at the limit in terms of their expected mileage we can only guess, but the facts teams have pushed hard to stamp out the practice shows there was definitely a lot of focus being put on that specific area.

shares
comments
Aero handicap not “a baseball bat” move, says Wolff

Previous article

Aero handicap not “a baseball bat” move, says Wolff

Next article

Pirelli confident 2019 F1 tyres can last two more years

Pirelli confident 2019 F1 tyres can last two more years
Load comments
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021