Sebastian Vettel facing another blow as diffuser row hots up

 

Hot on the heels of the 20-second penalty that saw him drop from second place to fifth in Sunday's German Grand Prix, after an illegal pass on Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel could find out this week whether his Red Bull team will be further penalised for their controversial engine mapping.

On Sunday morning at Hockenheim, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer told the race stewards that he believed Red Bull's torque map breached regulations, by creating a measure of hot exhaust blowing over the diffuser to boost downforce. "Blown" diffusers were banned for 2012. The stewards said that the map presented was not illegal but also did not accept all of the team's arguments. The matter was further discussed in a meeting of teams' engineers in London yesterday.

Much was made in Hockenheim on Sunday of whether design guru Adrian Newey's system contravened the spirit of the rules, but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner dismissed this idea. "The regulations are straightforward. It can't be a little bit in or a little bit out. The stewards looked at all of the evidence and deemed that the car was in full compliance."

Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali said: "We rely on the regulator, the FIA, to make sure the fight is fair."

If the FIA deems that the system is illegal and makes Red Bull revert to previous engine maps, Vettel and British GP winner Mark Webber could face a loss of performance at this weekend's Hungarian GP.

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