Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull team escaped a penalty at his home German Grand Prix on Sunday after stewards cleared them of a possible breach of the technical rules.
The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) had raised concerns, only hours before the 10th race of the season, about the engine torque mapping on the cars of Vettel and his Australian team mate Mark Webber.
However, stewards said the rules had not been breached.
“While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not breach.......the Formula One technical regulations and therefore decide to take no action,” said an FIA statement.
Former race driver Derek Warwick, one of the stewards, told Sky television when asked whether there needed to be a clarification of the rules: “It’s certainly not the end of it.”
Vettel is due to start on the front row and team boss Christian Horner said the timing of the controversy had been awkward.
“Obviously it wasn’t great to have to go and explain torque maps and so on this morning,” he said. “But we went through it with the FIA and the stewards and thankfully the verdict...was as we expected.
“There is nothing in the regulations that talks about the intent of a rule so it either complies or it doesn’t. We were always very clear that our torque maps were compliant and that was the case.”
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer had said earlier in a statement that “it appeared “the maximum torque output of both engines is significantly less in the mid rpm range than previously seen at other events.
““In my opinion this is therefore in breach....of Formula One technical regulations as the engines are able to deliver more torque at a given engine speed in the mid rpm range.
““Furthermore this new torque map will artificially alter the aerodynamic characteristics of both cars which is also in contravention of (technical directive) 036-11. I am referring this matter to the stewards.”
Double world champion Vettel, third in the overall standings, has never won a Grand Prix in his native Germany.
Webber is second in the overall standings behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who starts Sunday’s race on pole position.
The FIA clamped down on the use of engine electronics and exhaust gases for performance gain last year after teams were found to be using what technical director Charlie Whiting called “extremely extreme” engine maps.
Red Bull still won both of last year’s championships but has been less dominant this season even if their car is widely held to be the fastest.
The team’s 2011 car was designed heavily around the exhaust system and now-illegal ‘blown diffuser’ and Red Bull have had to try and recover some of that lost performance.