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McLaren: Diffuser clampdown would be a setback 18 May 2011

McLaren MP4/26 diffuser detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 6 May 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 makes a pit stop. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 The podium (L to R): Race winner Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren; Tim Goss (GBR), McLaren Chief Engineer, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, second; Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 18 April 2010

McLaren’s engineering director Tim Goss believes that any tightening of the exhaust-blown diffuser regulations would affect most of the front-running teams - including his own. The FIA are believed to be considering ways to clamp down on teams adjusting engine modes to maintain the flow of gases from the exhaust towards the diffuser, even when drivers are off the throttle, in order to boost downforce levels.

“I think all the major teams are up to the same tricks with regards to engine mapping,” Goss explained in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 'Phone-In' session. “We certainly exploit them. And if the latest guidelines from the FIA on the use of engines to drive exhaust systems came in then it would be a performance setback to us.

“I know it would almost certainly be a performance setback to our major competitors. But as to whether it affects us more than our competitors it’s impossible for me to say. I know what we get out of it and we get quite a substantial benefit, but I imagine it would be just as much of a setback to our competitors as well.”

Goss revealed he didn’t know what had prompted the FIA’s sudden interest in the exploitation of engine modes and off-throttle exhaust flows and admitted that there hasn’t been a great deal of discussion about it within the teams’ own Technical Working Group.

“Whether they’ve taken it on themselves to clamp down on it or whether they’ve been prompted to, I’m afraid I don’t know,” he explained. “Since the middle of last season it’s become quite apparent to journalists and hence the rest of the public that the teams have been changing their engine maps to get more out of exhaust momentum and the effects of that on the rear ends of the car and the front. It’s been around for a while but there hasn’t been much debate about clamping down on it, if any.”

Initially it had looked as though the sport’s governing body could bring in tighter regulations in time for this weekend’s Spanish race, but any revision to the rules now looks to have been delayed. Even so, Goss is confident McLaren will be able to adapt quickly to any changes if and when they are introduced.

“For the moment, it would appear that the FIA have decided it’s quite a complex matter and they need more time to consider how they will police it, so it looks like at the Spanish Grand Prix it will be business as usual,” he concluded. “We are just working to the latest set of guidelines from the FIA. I think we can react to whatever they tell us reasonably promptly.”

McLaren are currently second in the constructors’ standings, 43 points behind leaders Red Bull.

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