WMSC ratify 2014 Sporting and Technical regulation changes

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.

Driving Standards

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.

Testing

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.

Engines

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.

Gearboxes

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).

Tyres

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.

Safety

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.

The Cars

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.

Want more?

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.

New rules for 2012

While 2011 saw major changes in Formula One with the return of KERS, the introduction of the Drag Reduction System (DRS), and Pirelli returning as the sole tyre supplier, 2012 looks to continue in the same way but with some adjustments to the current regulations. The FIA published the revised regulations after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in December 2011.

Testing

Teams may not run their new cars in pre-season testing without having passed all crash tests.

There will be one three-day in-season test. Previously the only testing was pre-season and the Young Driver test at the end of the season. Teams will be allowed to run their drivers during this in-season test.

Races

A maximum race time of four hours has been put in place in the event of lengthy suspensions of a race.

Safety car rules have been revised so that lapped cars will be allowed to unlap themselves before the race restarts. This will allow racing to re-commence safely and promptly without backmarkers getting themselves in the way. In 2011, on a number of occasions, lapped cars found themselves in the middle of races at the front, while they themselves were racing other cars which caused confusion and at times unintentional blocking.

If a car is in the pit-lane when a race is suspended, they will be allowed to re-join the grid in the position they were in when the race was halted.

Drivers cannot drive off the track without a justifiable reason. At times drivers have cut chicanes to save time and fuel on in-laps during qualifying, but this will no longer be allowed.

If a driver moves off the racing line to defend a position then they cannot move back onto it.

Tyres

Drivers are permitted to use all tyres allocated to them on the first day of practice (Friday Practice) as opposed to just three sets which was the previous rule.


What’s new for 2011?

There are once again a number of changes in Formula One as we head into a new season. These are outlined below.

RETURN OF KERS

KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) was first used in 2009, but it was mutually agreed by all teams to drop it for 2010. It has been re-introduced for 2011. KERS stores the energy produced under braking which can then be used for an added ‘boost’ in acceleration. Each driver can only use a certain amount of this per lap, and this will be reset every time they cross the line. The downside of KERS can be that, because of the extra weight distribution, taller or heavier drivers may be at a disadvantage. (Minimum car weight has been raised from 620kg to 640kg which reduces the disadvantage). It also provides a challenge for engineers, as this time out fuel tanks are bigger due to the refuelling ban during races – in 2009 the fuel tanks were smaller, therefore it was easier to accomodate the KERS system.

ADJUSTABLE REAR WINGS

In 2011 drivers will be allowed to adjust the rear wing from the cockpit – when enabled the gap between the main plane and and flap will increase from 10-15mm to 50mm. Drivers will be able to use this system at any time during practice and qualifying, however come race day it cannot be used in the opening two laps and will only be activated when a driver is less than one second behind a car ahead at a pre-determined part of the track.

It is hoped that both the use of KERS and adjustable rear wings will improve overtaking.

F DUCTS AND DOUBLE DIFFUSERS BANNED

In 2011 the use of any system or device which uses driver movement to alter the aerodynamics of the car is banned. This means the F Duct (originally pioneered by McLaren, it required the driver to cover a strategically placed hole to alter the airflow to the rear wing) is no longer allowed. Double diffusers (Brawn GP’s race winning concept) are also banned for 2011, however, single blown diffusers are still allowed.

WHEEL TETHERS

To increase safety and reduce the chances of wheels coming loose, cars are now required to place a second tether on every wheel. The tethers are bigger, stiffer and have to pass a bigger load test. Each tether must be contained in a seperate suspension member.

RETURN OF PIRELLI

Pirelli become the sole supplier of tyres for Formula One after Bridgestone decided to leave after 13 years in the sport. As well as the new tyre supplier, the allocation of tyres has also been reduced for 2011 with drivers now having 11 instead of 14 dry weather tyres available to them for the weekend.

During Friday Practice drivers will receive three sets of tyres (two prime and one option) and they must return one of these sets after FP2. They will then have a further eight sets to use for the remaining sessions, however, one of each specification must be returned before qualifying.

A driver must use both specifications of dry weather tyres during the race, or face being excluded from the results. If intermediate or wet weather tyres are required, drivers do not have to use both specifications of dry if they have only used one. If a dry race is suspended and a driver has not used both types of tyre, then 30s will be added to their race time.

GEARBOXES

Gearboxes must now last five race weekends rather than the previous four.

107% QUALIFYING RULE

In Q1 drivers must set a lap within 107% of the fastest time, or they will not be allowed to start the race. In exceptional circumstances, such as if the driver set a suitable time during practice, the stewards may allow the car to start.

TEAM CURFEWS

A curfew is being introduced, meaning that team personnel will not be allowed into the circuit to work on the cars between midnight and 6am (when practice starts at 10am) and 7am if practice starts at 11am. Every team is permitted four exceptions to this rule during the season.

PENALTIES

Stewards will have greater power to impose more penalties for driving and other rule transgressions. They can now impose time penalties, exclude drivers from race results and in extreme cases suspend them from subsequent events.

TEAM ORDERS

The FIA have dropped the clause in the sporting regulations which banned team orders. However, teams found being in breach of Article 151c (bringing the sport into disrespute) will still find themselves being penalised or in front of the WMSC. While team orders are now technically allowed, this rule is not to be taken advantage of.