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Apr 18th
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FIA propose dropping engine map ban

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The governing body has made a sudden about-turn on their plans to ban the use of off-throttle blown diffusers for the rest of 2011, proposing that the move will be dropped for the rest of the season if the teams agree to the move.

The sudden potential end to Mapping-gate came out in an FIA statement on the issue on Saturday afternoon, after the British Grand Prix weekend became overwhelmed by disputes on the issue.

The FIA had originally planned to limit every team to using mapping designed to produce exhaust flow through the blown diffuser up to a maximum of 10% of that generated when the driver is on maximum throttle.

But it emerged over the last two days that both the Mercedes and Renault engine makers have pushed for types of concession over the issue, citing reliability concerns as their reasons.

The Mercedes concession, using engine over-run under braking to guard against potential reliability concerns, was accepted, but the Renault proposal, increasing their maximum to 50%, was not.

That led to angry words being exchanged by team bosses, and accusations that the new rules would benefit some teams at the expense of others.

And after an extraordinary meeting of the Technical Working Group this morning, the FIA has now suggested that the ban could be dropped altogether from the next race in Germany, and for the rest of the 2011 season.

"The measures which were communicated to the teams this morning by the FIA Technical Department stand for the rest of the weekend," the statement read.

"During Saturday morning’s Extraordinary Technical Working Group meeting, the members discussed the viability of returning to the pre-Silverstone set-ups and strategies.

"If the teams are in unanimous agreement, the FIA is prepared to adopt this arrangement until the end of the current season."

The teams will therefore have the chance to stop the ban, with unanimous agreement. The engine maps will be mothballed for 2012 regardless, with the FIA having banned blown diffusers entirely for next season.

However, it remains unclear as to whether the teams would agree unanimously on the proposal.

Earlier in the season, the Hispania Racing squad threatened to protest teams running with off-throttle systems, claiming that they went against the rules.

The only reason that Hispania's protest was not followed through was that the FIA promised to secure a ban on the devices before the end of the year.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has already said that he will be happy for his team to run at a "disadvantage" this weekend, provided that a long-term solution to the issue was sorted out for the next race.