Blown exhaust ban raises McLaren hopes

Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 22, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.

McLaren hoping to close the gap on rivals Red Bull

Jun.16 (GMM) McLaren is hoping the blown exhaust crackdown gives their MP4-26 a big performance boost in qualifying, relative to the dominant Red Bull RB7.

With their race pace now close, McLaren believes a big reason for its qualifying deficit is due to Red Bull’s perfection of the blown exhaust strategy on Saturday afternoons.

“It’s quite possible we will close up in qualifying by half a second (if there is a ban),” McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Jenson Button told Blick: “They (Red Bull) use the exhaust gases into the diffuser non-stop on a qualifying lap, but not in the race.”

The FIA’s intention to clamp down on the controversial technology for Silverstone in mid July will be discussed between team bosses and Charlie Whiting on today (Thursday) in London.

It has even been rumoured that Red Bull is not ruling out a legal challenge on the FIA’s decision.

“This is about an interpretation of the rules,” said Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer. “If the interpretation is different to the FIA, the teams can appeal, but on the other hand the court’s ruling will be the interpretation of the federation.”

Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has expressed surprise and anger that the FIA seems to be pressing ahead with a mid-season technical rule change on the grounds of something other than safety.

But a Pirelli source told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: “The (Red Bull) exhausts are too close to the tyres.”

The source said teams have been told that, on safety grounds, there should be at least a 40cm distance between the exhausts – producing on average 700 degrees C – and the tyres.