Before the start in Barcelona: Unobserved rule drama in the Red Bull box

Before the start in Barcelona: Unobserved rule drama in the Red Bull box
Written by insideindyhomes

( – In the Ferrari team’s zoom media call on Sunday evening in Barcelona, ​​Mattia Binotto raised eyebrows when he was asked by a journalist about the legality of the Red Bull RB18 at the Spanish Grand Prix. Because shortly before the start of the race, the Ferrari rivals – largely unnoticed by the public – almost had a small drama.

Max Verstappen only got on the grid at the last minute in Barcelona


“Of course I don’t know what was going on there,” said Binotto. “But I can imagine that it had something to do with the fuel temperatures in the tank, which can be a maximum of ten degrees below the ambient temperature.”

Postscript: “I think the rules should be followed at all times during a race weekend. Not just when the car goes out on the track. But also in the pits.”

Gasoline temperature: What the Formula 1 rules say

What happened? Article 6.4.2 of the 2022 Technical Regulations stipulates that the fuel may be a maximum of ten degrees cooler than the ambient temperature one hour before the start of practice or qualifying or two hours before the start of the race.

For the first five race weekends of the season, it was agreed in Formula 1 to set the minimum fuel temperature at 18 degrees Celsius. For Barcelona, ​​however, the original rule came into force again.

At the time of measurement two hours before the race, the ambient temperature communicated by the FIA ​​to the teams was 35 degrees; the petrol could therefore be cooled down to a maximum of 25 degrees.

Cooling the fuel down as much as possible helps both the performance and the reliability of the drive. A topic that has already been fatal to Aston Martin this year. On the grid in Miami, the team of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll noticed that the fuel was eight degrees cooler than allowed. So the two had to start from the pit lane.

Why was there an exception at all

Possible background: The minimum temperature of 18 degrees that the teams had agreed on for the first five race weekends was originally intended to be only ten degrees. However, some teams did not agree with this, so 18 degrees were negotiated as a compromise.

Incidentally, the reason why the petrol temperature rule was suspended at all is the introduction of E10 petrol for the 2022 season. Apparently, an FIA standard pump in the petrol system was overwhelmed.

In Barcelona, ​​both Red Bull and AlphaTauri noticed shortly before driving out onto the starting grid that the petrol in the tank was still too cold. So you waited until the last minute and meanwhile let the engines run to warm up the petrol.

Perez annoyed with Red Bull strategy “There are a few things to be clarified”

Despite second place in Barcelona, ​​Sergio Perez is not completely satisfied. In the internal duel he had to let Max Verstappen go first.

That cost the later winner Max Verstappen, whose rear wing was being worked on at the same time because of the DRS problems in qualifying, the opportunity to do two or three reconnaissance laps and practice starts again.

Binotto sows doubts without making allegations

Binotto is surprised: “I don’t think that starting the engine is enough, because the fuel should not deviate by more than ten degrees at any time during the event.” But: “I can only trust the FIA ​​in this regard. I’m sure that they have checked that.”

The association did not report any breaches of the rules by Red Bull. Especially since Article 6.4.2 literally says: “No fuel intended for immediate use in a car may be more than ten degrees centigrade below ambient temperature.” The wording “immediate use” is crucial here – in other words: the temperature only has to be correct immediately before actual use.

Ultimately, the drama did not play a decisive role in the outcome of the race. Verstappen won the Grand Prix ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez and even took the lead in the World Championship.

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