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Oct 25th
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Top bosses clash over mapping ban rules

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The chiefs of the McLaren and RBR teams came to verbal blows on Friday at Silverstone, with Martin Whitmarsh suggesting that concessions the FIA have handed to the Renault engine in the Red Bull gives them a performance boost.

Details of the concession to the Renault unit only came to light during first practice at Silverstone, and will see the French V8 unit only limited to a maximum of 50% of their maximum throttle exhaust emissions via off-throttle engine maps.

The other engine makers have also not hit the FIA's intended 10% limit on the mapping, but are only running up to 20% of max throttle.

Renault argued that they needed the extra concession for reliability reasons, with the company concerned that this sort of fundamental change would cripple the reliability of their exhaust valves.

According to a report from Autosport, this new 50% limit could even turn out to be more than Red Bull were running before the ban came in, suggesting that prior to the 50% cap the team was only hitting around 45% of max throttle flow.

But Whitmarsh was unhappy with the "messy" situation when talking in Friday's press conference at Silverstone.

"It's messy and I think the intention people believed was that we were going to stop exhaust blowing when the driver didn't have his foot on the throttle," he muttered.

"I think that was the simple concept but that concept has been deflected and therefore it hasn't been clear. And the fact that these things were only coming out during the course of today is fairly extraordinary.

"But nonetheless, I'm sure we will remain calm and pick our way through but I think it's probably better to make changes to the regulations between seasons, not in season and also make changes to regulations which are clear and unambiguous."

He added that: "I think at the moment, a lot of people are clearly getting emotional about the situation and I can understand why.

"It's frustrating for the engineers not to know what it is that we're allowed to do, because these changes... by cold blowing you're getting 30, 40 points of extra rear downforce in braking and that's quite an attractive thing.

"So if you can do it, then you're going to try and do it aren't you?"

Horner replied that he himself wasn't "totally happy" with the solution, but said that the rules were a "fair and equitable" way of treating each engine in turn.

"There was a technical directive which effectively turned [the mapping] all off. That was obviously with reticence by the manufacturers and it has been very much a manufacture issue," he explained.

"Certain teams were then allowed to have fired overrun, to fuel their overrun, of which there are also, obviously, secondary benefits through the exhaust plumes and thrusts that that creates, But that was permitted."

He went on: "It would be unfair to allow fire overrun and not allow the same parameters for another engine manufacturer.

"I think it's a very very difficult job for the FIA to pick their way through this and I think all credit to them, they've looked to try and be as fair, balanced and equitable as they decreed that they would be through the technical directive, to come up with the solutions that they have."

But he added: "We're not totally happy with the solution that we have, that's for sure.

"I'm sure Martin isn't with his and I'm sure there are a lot of conspiracies in the paddock that these are the reasons why Red Bull is performing or McLaren is performing, or some cars aren't performing.

"That's just circumstantial at the end of the day. The fundamentals are that the engine manufacturers have been treated in a fair and equitable manner."