October 21, 2007
Article 6.5.5 of the Formula 1 Technical Regulations states that "no fuel on board the car may be more than 10 degrees centigrade below ambient temperature". This is to prevent teams from freezing their fuel and thus reducing its volume. Of course, that'd allow teams to get more fuel into the tank, providing themselves with an advantage.
The ambient air temperature in Sao Paolo today was 37 degrees Celcius. Nick Heidfeld's fuel was measured at 24C and 25C at his two stops.
Both Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, as well as Nico Rosberg, are now in danger of being excluded from the results of the Brazillian Grand Prix (that's a lot of Grand Prix!)... which would move Lewis Hamilton to FOURTH PLACE, giving him the Driver's Championship.
UPDATE: The results stand. Nothing to see here.
Except now the FIA is in a no-win situation. The tech regs have been violated. I'm interested in hearing why BMW and Williams won't be penalized, even if there was no performance advantage, if McLaren was hit with their death penalty for a violation of the rules that gave no performance advantage.
One could argue that the FIA is playing fast and loose with their own rulebook, enforcing or not at their whim. Unless there were defective thermometers, why shouldn't the teams be penalized?
If McLaren wanted to fight this, they probably could, and it seems to me that they stand a good chance to win some concessions at the very least.
F1 is an unforgiving sport, and Hamilton blew it today. By all rights he shouldn't win because he didn't drive like a winner today.
I want to see winners and losers chosen by the competition, not by the judges. And I don't like having someone (like Kimi) think he's won, only to have it taken away from him hours later.
I understand why they have rules like that, but this one seems particularly picky and stupid. The critical factor in fuel is weight, not volume. And cooling fuel doesn't change how much it weighs.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 21, 2007 05:16 PM (+rSRq)
As much as I'd like to see Hamilton get the championship, things like this should be decided on the spot. To take it away from Kimi now would not be fair, nor would it be fair to give it to Hamilton when he is unable to celebrate. They might as well give Massa the Brazilian win while they're at it.
Posted by: Mallory at October 21, 2007 05:28 PM (BelkO)
True, but it DOES affect how much fuel you can put into the tank, how fast you can get it in, and, apparantly, it gives a slight performance boost until it warms up (reportedly, about four laps).
Whether or not it's enough of an advantage so to improve performance (I'd think the extra weight might balance out the boost) is another question.
But having MORE fuel in the car for the same volume, that could make a difference.
Having watched the race, I didn't particularly notice that the cars in question were operating out of the ordinary, so I'm guessing that the result of the race will stand.
Posted by: Wonderduck at October 21, 2007 05:46 PM (AW3EJ)
Fine. Then let everybody do it. Then it's not an unfair advantage.
For the sport, today's decision is just about as bad as it can get. If there was a violation, which affected the season outcome, why wasn't the rule enforced? If the rule is not going to be enforced when it matters, why is it in the rulebook at all?
This season is a shambles. I'm sure Kimi is glad to have won, but I'm equally sure he would rather have won it without the assistance of draconian and inconsistent judging.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 21, 2007 06:47 PM (+rSRq)
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