Formula One: Red Bull under investigation

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Defending constructors champions Red Bull faced a technical investigation by stewards at the German Grand Prix here on Sunday after an FIA report claimed they were suspected of breaking the rules.

The ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), released a statement that said both Red Bull cars driven by defending drivers champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Australian Mark Webber were affected by illegal engine mapping.

If found guilty the two drivers could be forced to start from the back of the grid in Sunday's race.

Double world champion Vettel is starting second in the front row behind pole sitter Fernando Alonso of Spain.

Webber, who finished third in qualifying on Saturday, has already been penalised five places for an unscheduled gearbox change, and is starting from eighth place on the grid.

The statement, released by the FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer, said the issue related to problems with the engine torque maps of the two drivers' cars that could offer illegal aerodynamic benefits.

In the statement, Bauer said: "Having examined the engine base torque map of car numbers 01 and 02 it became apparent that 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 article 5.5.3 of the 2012 Formula 1 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 TD 036-11. I am referring this matter to the stewards."

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said: "I'm not aware of any irregularities. The result was declared after qualifying."

The FIA effectively banned the exhaust-blown diffuser technology, that was widely believed to have been a major part of Red Bull's successes, by introducing a revised set of rules at the start of the year.

These included new regulations for engine mapping.

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