What was behind Ferrari-powered cars' smoking during F1 testing?

The huge plumes of smoke being emitted by the Ferrari-powered cars was one of the more unusual elements of 2018 pre-season Formula 1 testing at Barcelona

What was behind Ferrari-powered cars' smoking during F1 testing?

Rather than being a one-off occurrence, the sight of a cloud of smoke engulfing the Ferrari part of the pitlane just prior to its car emerging become commonplace - and was seen with customer teams Haas and Sauber too.

It left some in the paddock speculating that Ferrari might be deploying some form of engine trick.

But it appears the smoke was in fact a consequence of new F1 regulations brought in this year to clamp down on 'oil burn', something that Ferrari was believed to be particularly active in last year.

As well as new requirements to help the FIA monitor the amount of oil that teams are burning, other tweaks to the rules have been introduced regarding the piping of oil vapour from catch tanks.

Previously it had been possible - through the use of active control valves - to feed this vapour back into the car's airbox, where it could then be sent into the engine and burned for a power boost.

Two new 2018 rules now prohibit such behaviour and force teams to feed out any excess oil vapour from the back of the car.

Article 5.1.12 of F1's technical regulations states: "All power unit breather fluids may only vent to atmosphere and must pass through an orifice which is positioned rearward of the rear axle centre line and less than 400mm above the reference plane and less than 100mm from the car centre plane. No breather fluids may re-enter the power unit."

Article 7.8 adds: "The use of active control valves between any part of the PU and the engine intake air is forbidden."

These rules have prompted teams to fit piping to feed oil vapour out of the backs of their cars, which was causing the smoke in testing.

Ferrari has elected to pipe its vapour through a channel built into the lower part of its crash structure casing.

This, paired with what appears to be much more oil vapour being dispensed by the engine than other teams, resulted in the distinctive vapour trail.

The very cold conditions increased the visibility of the warm oil vapour too, and on track it would have been exaggerated by air flowing around the crash structure and through the diffuser.

Other teams opted to place their pipework either alongside their exhaust, most likely following recommendations from their engine suppliers, or to have it venting to the atmosphere from other locations.

It is not yet clear whether the smoking characteristic has caused any concern for Ferrari or if the design will be tweaked ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Although the smoke looked dramatic, the FIA does not feel it need to interfere because it is not appearing on the circuit.

F1 race director Charlie Whiting suggested the characteristic was similar to what happened with Toro Rosso on occasion last year on the grid.

"We see it quite often, we saw it a lot with the Toro Rosso last year whenever they fired up," Whiting told Autosport.

"We think that's just oil getting into the turbo through the seals. It's not doing it on the track."

shares
comments
Formula 1: FIA confused by the 'short memories' of halo critics
Previous article

Formula 1: FIA confused by the 'short memories' of halo critics

Next article

FIA dismisses Formula 1 drivers' fear of 'carnage' at 2018 restarts

FIA dismisses Formula 1 drivers' fear of 'carnage' at 2018 restarts
How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Plus

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost Plus

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga Plus

Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022