Saturday, June 25, 2011

FIA Doublespeak

Charlie Whiting talks engine maps and diffusers:

Q: Why now?

A: Because it's illegal.

Q: So why not punish the teams that have been using it?

A: Because we say that it's 'arguably' illegal. The FIA technical department can only give an opinion. The stewards are the ones that decide whether or not the opinion of the technical department is correct. [...]
I'm sure the logic of this comes down to a couple of things: first, the Stewards don't want the Technical Delegates making definitive declarations of what is or is not illegal. That would be like parking officers making declarations about what you can or cannot do with your car.

Second, the Technical Delegates don't have standing to bring forward a complaint to the Stewards as they can't be the aggrieved party. The FIA likes the system where things are investigated as they are complained about, as enlightened self interest tends to keep complaints to a minimum. In this case, practically everyone is doing exhaust-blown diffusers to some extent, so if anyone protests them they are likely to get counter-protested right back and nobody wins. An example of I'll let you cheat because you know I'm cheating.

The other thing that this system does is it encourages teams to keep knowledge of any technical violations on the parts of their competitors quiet, so that they can be sprung at a tactically opportune time. Say for example when there were Bridgestone and Michelin tires in the series, and the Michelins got excluded at a critical juncture of the season because of the way they were constructed.

The whole thing is borderline unethical. If the rules are there, play by them. If you know of a rules violation, report it.