The World Motor Sport Council has today (Friday 28th June) ratified a number of changes for the 2014 Formula One season, after a meeting held at Goodwood House. Penalty points, in-season testing, and tyres were on the agenda, amongst other things, and this led to a number of changes being made to the 2014 Sporting and Technical Regulations. A number of the key points are summarised below.
From 2014, drivers will face a penalty points system which will see drivers accumulate up to 12 points before receiving a race ban. Points will be issued – one, two or three – in accordance with how severe the offence is. The points will remain on a driver’s licence on a 12 month basis, meaning that they can be carried from one season to the next. In 2012 Romain Grosjean was given a one-race ban after causing a number of first lap incidents throughout the season.
Drivers will now also be given the opportunity to give back any unfair advantage they may have gained from running off the track. Failure to do so will presumably result in a penalty for the driver in question, as is the case now.
The pit-lane speed limit will be set at 80km/h for the whole event, rather than 60km/h for free practice and 100km/h for qualifying and the race. The exception to this are the Australian Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix where the speed-limit is 60km/h for the whole event.
For the first time since 2009, teams will be allowed to run in-season tests. These were banned as a cost cutting measure, but from 2014 there will be four two-day tests. In order to keep costs down, particularly for smaller teams who do not have the resources of front-running teams, these tests will be run on the Tuesday and Wednesday after selected European rounds.
As a result of this, teams will lose their allocation of eight one-day promotional events and the three day Young Driver Test. The promotional events were limited to 100km per day and were on tyres provided for the purpose of the test. The Young Driver Test gave drivers, with less than two F1 World Championship races to their name, the opportunity to drive over the course of three days.
With the introduction of new power units in 2014, teams will be permitted to start track testing in January. In previous seasons, including 2013, pre-season testing normally starts in February.
With an increase in track testing, there will be a restricted amount of wind tunnel testing and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) work allowed through the season.
The number of engines available to a driver over the course of the season will be reduced from eight to five power units. While a ten-place grid drop has been the penalty for using a new engine outside the allocation, drivers will have to start from the pit-lane after the sixth new power unit in 2014. If changes to individual components are made after the permitted five then this will result in the driver receiving a 10 place grid-drop.
Mercedes are permitted to supply engines to a maximum of four Formula One teams in 2014. For next seasons they are currently contracted to supply the Mercedes works team, McLaren, Force India and Williams.
Manufacturers will not be allowed to homologate more than one power unit during the period from 2014-2020. Changes are permitted, however, for installation, reliability and cost saving reasons.
Teams and drivers will have to make gearboxes last six, rather than five, races. Currently, drivers are permitted to change their gearboxes before that time if they retired from the race before and can show there was a legitimate reason for retiring (i.e. drivers cannot retire just to get a new gearbox at the next round).
There has been much talk about the lack of running in free practice, as teams look to preserve tyres. From 2014, ever driver will be provided with an additional set of tyres, however these must be used within the first 30 minutes of Free Practice 1. This will hopefully encourage teams and drivers to get out on the track more.
The amount of deflection during static load tests has been reduced from 20mm to 5mm to ensure that the cockpit rims either side of the driver’s head are stronger.
All team personnel will now have to wear head protection if they are working on a car in a race pit stop.
Two years after their introduction, stepped noses are on their way out again. In 2013 teams have been permitted to run vanity panels, but some teams have decided against this as it adds unwanted weight to their cars. The FIA have revealed that measures have been put in place to ensure that cars don’t have a step in the chassis behind the nose.
Cars will not be allowed to use more than 100kg of fuel for the race. This will be measured by the use of an FIA approved fuel flow meter, and measures from the time the lights go out at the start to the chequered flag.
The minimum weight of the car will be raised from 640kg to 645kg due to the power units weighing more than originally thought.
For a full breakdown of the news rules and regulations, including information about other classes of racing (as well as news on Formula E), click here. The council will meet again in September.