FIA order Red Bull to fix the illegal hole on the RB8 floor

3 June, 2012

(L to R): Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Charlie Whiting (GBR) FIA Delegate. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.

FIA delegate Charlie Whiting with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner

Jun.3 (Reuters) Formula One World Champions Red Bull must modify the floor of their cars for next week’s Canadian Grand Prix after the sport’s governing body issued a formal clarification of the technical rules.

Mark Webber Red Bull RB8 during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monaco on May 27, 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.A spokesman for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said race director and technical head Charlie Whiting had sent all teams a directive on Friday following allegations that the Red Bull floor had an illegal hole.

The argument in question is arcane even by Formula One standards, with technical experts arguing over ‘fully enclosed holes’, the difference between a ‘hole’ and a ‘slot’ and even what constitutes a hole.

Such holes can produce aerodynamic benefits and, in his note, Whiting set out what was permissible.

“Following on from a number of discussions in Monaco, during which it became clear that certain misunderstandings existed, we feel it would be helpful to make our position clear,” he said in the note, seen by Reuters.

Hole in the floor of the Red Bull RB8The controversy erupted hours before last month’s Monaco Grand Prix, with Australian Mark Webber starting on pole position for Red Bull.

Rivals had appeared set to protest the Red Bull’s floor which they argued had an illegal “fully enclosed hole” on the surface of the step plane of the floor.

In the end, there was no protest and Webber celebrated his first win of the season – Red Bull’s second – but the FIA was aware of the situation and acted anyway.

“It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas,” declared the FIA directive.

“We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.

Adrian Newey with Sebastian Vettel“If they were permitted the opening part of the second paragraph of Article 3.12.5 (which was added to the regulations at the same time as Articles 3.12.9 and 3.12.10 for 2011) would be superfluous.”

Red Bull, who are leading McLaren in the constructors’ standings by 38 points after six of 20 races, have been adamant that their floor is legal and rebuffed doubts in Monaco.

“There was a bit of a fuss after the Bahrain race (won by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in April) but it was clear [that]the car complied,” said team principal Christian Horner at the time.

“We sought clarification after that, but there is no doubt the car is fully compliant.”

Red Bull were not immediately available for comment on Saturday, the start of a holiday weekend in Britain and four days of Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking 60 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

Subbed by AJN.


  • Selvam

    No penalty for RB???… If Mclaren had done the same, their points wold have been reduced, trophies stripped, handed grid penalties for both the cars next race…

  • Stewy33

    “Technical experts arguing over ‘fully enclosed holes’, the difference between a ‘hole’ and a ‘slot’ and even what constitutes a hole.”

    The rules state a “hole” and indeed RBR has made a “slot.” The FIA has to look at this and go “Well… RBR interupted a hole as being a circle shape, but they made a slot which is a rectangle gap.” The way the rule is written and interputed it should be legal! When rules are written with gaps in clarification the engineers can exploit them and they shouldn’t be penalized for it.

  • Hawk

    Yeah right!

  • Hawk

    By yeah right I meant Selvam’s comment on McLaren. Not people who thq they are so clever by saying a slot ain’t a HOLE!

  • nemo

    @ Selvam. 1) wtf has this got to do with something that might have happened to mclaren??
    2) the car was declared legal before & after 3races. No one has to lose points because of the bumbling of the FIA.

  • charlie whiting

    Do red bull really think people are stupid? A slot is not a hole? And an opening is only considered a hole if it is a perfectly shaped circle? Glad these dumb fucks got what they deserve

  • Chris

    @selvam
    Mclaren makes Mistakes and Cheats every one that’s Why they get penalties and looses Points and Victories Remember Australian GP where your SO called Great great useless LH lied to stewards and by finding that LH result was DSQ’d for Aus GP in 2009 ….

  • tony sullivan

    if only some one would explain what advantage Red Bull receives by having a hole in the floor i would be enlightened to the extent i could comment like Selvam, Stewy33 and Hawk

  • Chris

    @tony
    They will say that due to the Hole RBR had 2 wins insted of Mclaren
    If RBR won it was due to their Driver’s Skills but no one accepts it cos they will say it was due to luck and if Mclaren Driver’s win they will hail them for their win and say that was due to Extra ordinary Skills

  • fools

    The fact its a hole on the platform of the car is what makes everyone ponder if the hole/slot is being used affectively for aero dynamics purposes. If they are shredding off .500 of a sec. Then that would be illegal and making advantages without penalty as other teams have not done this and have finally called RBR out on it.

    Now the FIA is on it and now they are saying it is illegal. Well, to me if it is shredding off time to make you faster and thats an advantage no matter what you say. If other teams can’t and havent done it. Then RBR shouldnt and they should be penalised in some way. But I wont say how because I’m not part of the FIA.

    Ill let them handle that.

  • Stewy33

    This slot gap is put thier to eliminate air flow that hits the tires directly. The wheels create a lot of drag from air resistance, and with this design an amount of drag is reduced helping both top speed, cornering stability, and leads to a faster lap time.

    Digging deeper into this design, the slot gap will create lift at higher speeds, this will also cancel out rear down force making less drag for higher top speed. It really is amazing how something so small on the car can do so much!

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