Early into the Hungarian GP weekend, Sebastian Vettel was adamant that Red Bull’s ability to tweak the way in which it delivers mid-range torque up until the German Grand Prix was negligible in terms of performance gain.

Speaking after qualifying, Vettel was complaining of balance issues… 

Lotus may have ironed out the delivery of engine torque more efficiently than Red Bull

I think for us it was more a difficulty to get everything to work properly”, said Sebastian. “I think the speed is there but it seems extremely difficult once you lose the balance a little bit, so I think we were struggling a little bit with that in qualifying”.

While it may be a little imprudent to suggest any imbalance is directly related to engine mapping (with upwards of 15 maps sometimes being trialed over a weekend), it does throw up some interesting possibilities given the tight, flowing nature of the Hungaroring circuit.

 Writing an engine map generally decrees how far the throttle opens in relation to the movement of the accelerator pedal. In general terms, how the greatest degree of pedal movement would relate to where a driver’s input (his right foot) would be most desired.

If the previous engine map made the torque curve more flat, it would stand to reason that the RB8 is harder to control without it. Around a tight circuit like Hungaroring, where throttle sensitivity is at its premium, one would expect some variation

Whilst it may be impossible to quantify in real-time what the change in engine mapping has cost Red Bull, there is little doubt it would be much more difficult for their drivers to achieve consistency in managing the car’s dynamic mass over a practice stint – let alone a Grand Prix. At Lotus the very same Renault engine is achieving a much higher relative top speed difference. One could argue this is the result of the Lotus having inherently less downforce than that of the RB8 – and yet Lotus’s brisk long-runs suggest otherwise.

Vettel’s Red Bull lines up behind Grosjean’s Lotus for the Hungarian GP

Have Lotus merely designed their car to compensate for the peaks in the torque transfer, where Red Bull up till now used the extra exhaust in its absence to create downforce? If so, Red Bull will be in close consultation with Renault’s engineers to find the right map to give their drivers the easiest time.

Either way, with Romain Grosjean one spot ahead of Sebastian Vettel with today’s Grand Prix, consistency will be paramount over the 4.3 km track.


About trentprice

Driver ICoach V8 Race Experience Freelance writer Freelance Writer (Sole Proprietorship) Sole Proprietorship; Myself Only; Writing and Editing industry 2011 – Present (less than a year) Writing for film and entertainment and motoring magazines in Australia and UK REGION 4 Magazine Responsibilities: Press releases for new media products, competitions and events co-ordinator, article concept developer, arranging and conducting interviews within the film industry including actors such as Heather Graham, Monet Mazur, Steve Coogan and Seinfeld’s Michael Richards to name but a few. Writer: creative performance Artist Services – Foxtel Cable Television Australia Responsibilities: Writer, performer and segment producer overseeing editing and post-dubbing ABC Recovery –ABC Television- Weekend Youth Music program - Writer and performer ABC Backberner- ABC Television-Australian news satire program – Writer MG Enthusiast -Kelsey Publishing UK February 2011- Feature motoring articles MG Racer Magazine- online publication www.mgracing.mgcc.com.au/mgracer/default.html Responsibilities: Co-founder, writer, editor, concept developer, promotion and marketing, sponsorship coordination MG Racing in Australia- online forum http://mgracing.forumotion.com/ Responsibilities: Concept developer, writer, monitoring of content

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