How much does McLaren lose with the ban on 'party mode'?

The FIA is considering eliminating the exclusive engine maps for qualifying and Renault's power unit loses out.


Lewis Hamilton dubbed the engine map that delivers maximum power for a couple of laps in qualifying as 'party mode' in order to extract every last drop of performance. It is probably the technical climax of a modern Formula 1 and the four manufacturers exceed 1,000 hp of power under these fleeting circumstances. But the FIA has been limiting the operation for years because the manufacturers have circumvented all kinds of loopholes. Now the referees are proposing to abolish the special qualifying modes, most likely from the Italian GP, although at first it was thought in Belgium, this weekend's race. Spa-Francorchamps can witness the last laps in full swing of the fastest cars ever in the World Championship. And it will undoubtedly be discussed in the paddock of the Forest of the Ardennes.

Among the causes of the more than probable ban, two reasons stand out: that the stewards have fewer resources than the teams, and they cannot always guarantee the legality of the procedures used, and that the variety of modes directly interferes in the competition and becomes in an aid to the pilot. Lando Norris' on-board camera going up to the podium in the Austrian GP reflects the maximum rapport between engineer and driver, designating at all times the map to use or the seconds to press the 'overtake button', but There is also a certain alienation on the part of the pilot, who should be able to make his own decisions at a decisive moment.

How will it affect the cars? As AS has learned, the Renault engine used by both the official team and McLaren, with Carlos Sainz, provides an extra two tenths thanks to those 'party mode' laps, which are a maximum of two or three per weekend. It cannot be used any more because it would compromise the reliability of the power unit. The French manufacturer is the one with the most to lose, because Ferrari said goodbye to its extraordinary push in qualifying after the FIA investigation, concluded with a private agreement, and Honda has never excelled in this facet, although in the race it is couple with Renault.

In the case of Mercedes, what is interpreted as a measure to limit their enormous advantage can have opposite consequences: from the garage they threaten that if they avoid those laps of the 'party mode' (they only use it in Q3), they will have more benefits for spend in career. And it is that the FIA does not want to prohibit the engine modes, but the differentiation between those that are used on Saturday and those that are available on Sunday.Too many tricks

From using lubricant as a combustion additive to altering fuel flow without the FIA sensor knowing. The maximum power modes have forced manufacturers to investigate and innovate on a regulation that is mature, but that allows possibilities, because the old noisy propellants are now complex machinery that includes a conventional turbo engine and two electric ones, plus batteries or the control unit. electronics. State-of-the-art hybrid technology offering hard-to-pursue loopholes. The hope from now on: that these limitations serve to control the superiority of Mercedes. Because they have taken all the poles of 2020 with four for Hamilton, world leader, and two for Bottas.

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