2 Oct 2013

Was Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull RB9 fitted with traction control?

Sebastian Vettel's dominance has been so much that F1 has become seriously dull of late.  His 2.5 seconds per lap margin could be down to pure driver skill, or it could be down to something else.

Take a look and listen to this video, which shows Vettel in action in Singapore 2013.

That noise, that sounds similar to an F1 car running over rumble strips, is very much like the sound of cylinder de-activation, which aids traction.  Or, to put it another way, traction control.  Which is illegal in F1.

James Allen reckons it's some kind of engine mapping, rather than traction control.

Ex Minardi owner, Giancarlo Minardi has quite a lot to say on the matter too.  He wrote a column on the Minardi website and said:

Sebastian was able to speed up 50 m before any other driver, Webber included. Whilst all the other drivers speeded up on the same stretch, Vettel was able to speed up before them. The thing that surprised me the most was the RB1 engine’s output sound. Besides speeding up 50 m before any other driver, the Renault engine of the German’s car grinded like no other French engines on track, neither like Mark’s. That sound was similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system got into action in the past seasons. 

Furthermore, that sound was only heard when Vettel chalked up his excellent performances. For example, after the safety car went off, he took a great re-start and chalked up many excellent laps, gaining a 32 sec. gap over Alonso, then he leveled off, taking precautions in the case he would have had to pit one more time. In those moments the Renault engine was more powerful than any other engines (Renault and other brands)

This is what an F1 car sounds like with traction control fitted.  It's a Honda at a test at Spa in 2007, when traction control was legal.

Do you think Vettel's Red Bull is fitted with traction control?