FIA's new technical directive may have slowed Honda
While the technical directive sent by the FIA regarding Honda's energy use in the last 4 months may have slowed down the Japanese manufacturer; According to some, Mercedes has gained "illegal" performance in its engine.
As we enter the turbo-hybrid era, Mercedes has mostly been the leader in powertrains since 2014 in both performance and durability.
However, Honda managed to raise the 2022 engine project to the 2021 season and managed to catch up with Mercedes with its new power unit developed in many areas.
In the French Grand Prix, Honda switched to its second engine and started to get ahead of Mercedes with this new engine.
In France, it was claimed that thanks to the durability updates that Honda brought with its second engine, the vibration problem in the engine was resolved and the engine could be used at full power for a longer period of time.
According to the report of AMuS, Honda was ahead of Mercedes by 15 horsepower with its new turbo feeder produced by jet engineers and with the elimination of durability concerns.
In Austria, Red Bull's advantage on the straights has grown even more, and this is not just due to Red Bull's less drag-inducing rear wing.
Mercedes thought that with the second power unit that Honda passed in France, it was able to use the engine at its full potential for a longer period of time, and it was 15 hp ahead.
However, since performance updates were not available to the engines this season, Honda said this was not possible and already stated that other manufacturers were able to control these updates.
Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe responded to these claims: "Under current power unit regulations, we have to submit our changes to the FIA. You can only make changes for durability, logistics and cost reasons."
"Before we make the changes, we first need to present the change in detail to the FIA. Then the FIA has to accept the change."
"The FIA distributes the detailed documents we send them to all engine suppliers. So other engine suppliers are aware of the changes we've made and they need to approve the change before they happen."
"Why are we doing such a detailed investigation? Because a long time ago some teams were improving their performance by introducing stamina updates."
"Therefore, we are very careful not to increase our performance. As the season continues, it is not possible for us to improve our performance. This is my answer to these allegations."
Discussions in the engine area have seemed to have stalled for the past few weeks, but both teams consider each other to be gaining performance the "illegal" way. According to the Mercedes camp, Honda has made illegal practices related to energy use and the FIA has therefore sent a technical directive to Honda.
From the Red Bull camp, it was claimed that Mercedes gained performance illegally by cooling the plenum.
Let's take a look at these claims in the paddock together.
Honda slowed down by new technical directive?
According to AMuS, the answer to this question may be "yes". According to AMuS reporters, it can be understood from the Mercedes camp that Honda has been slowed by a new technical directive, and Mercedes thinks that Honda has slowed down with the new directive.
Tanabe attributed the development of its engines from France to the Japanese manufacturer's better understanding of the engine and better management of energy use at the trackside.
Although Tanabe says they have improved in energy use and management, the FIA allegedly; He's not very happy with the way Honda has used and managed the ERS in his vehicles for the past 4 months.
Therefore, it is thought that a technical directive was sent to Honda on this issue and corrections were made to the engine. However, no penalty was given to the Japanese team. Just like with the fuel flow limit thing in Ferrari's 2019 engine, the corrections made to the engines are tried to be kept secret.
Is Mercedes starting to gain performance in an "illegal" way by cooling the air intake chamber?
Again, according to AMuS, the Red Bull camp thinks that Mercedes is illegally gaining performance by cooling the air intake chamber.
The British driver was able to accelerate so well on the short straight up to Copse Bend, which is claimed to be why the 7-time world champion was able to attack Max Verstappen on that short straight in the first lap.
Cooling the air intake chamber means more power. During qualifying or at the start of the race, you can cool the air intake chamber the old-fashioned way, like dry ice. Of course, the effect of this lasts very little and probably after the first lap the air intake chamber will return to its former temperature.
However, systematic cooling of the air intake chamber is prohibited under current rules, and other teams think Mercedes has found a gray area in this area or is not following the rules. According to rumors, Ferrari is among the teams considering this.
One of the Red Bull camps told AMuS that it is illegal to cool the air intake chamber, and that "in particular, putting more fuel in the air intake chamber and delivering cold air in a shorter time" is prohibited.
Hamilton, on the other hand, denied the claims that they gained performance by using cooling methods.
The fight for the world championship is getting hotter and this time it seems that the engines will be on the agenda of the teams. These two claims may come to the fore in the coming weeks, especially as the upcoming race is on the Spa track, where engine power plays an important role.
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