Pirelli will continue as Formula One’s sole tyre supplier until at least 2019, it has been confirmed.
The deal was initially completed during the winter – but had not been formalised – when the FIA and Pirelli agreed major changes to the technical regulations for 2017. This includes the introduction of wider tyres.
In order to prepare for the changes Pirelli had put forward the need to modify the sporting regulations regarding tyre testing. As a result they will be able to carry out tests with 2012, 2013 and 2014 specification cars using ‘prototype elements’ in order to prepare for next season.
They will also be allowed a total of 25 days of testing with modified 2015 cars. For this test prototype tyres in 2017 size will be used.
While the first type of testing- prototype elements with current sized tyres – is currently underway, the second type is due to start in the summer. A testing programme has been agreed between the FIA and participating teams.
Fernando Alonso has been given the go ahead by the FIA to participate in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Question marks had been raised over whether or not the Spaniard would be allowed to race following being made to sit out the Bahrain Grand Prix. The FIA deemed he was not fit to race following the injuries he picked up in his heavy Austrailian Grand Prix crash.
A statement released by the FIA states that Alonso may participate in FP1 but must then undergo further examinations following that session. This will then determine whether or not he can continue with the remainder of the weekend.
Qualifying will revert to the 2015 system as soon as the Chinese Grand Prix, pending confirmation from the World Motorsport Council and F1 Commission.
The new elimination format for 2016 has received a lot of criticism after the first two races of the season and it looks like a way forward has finally been agreed between the FIA, FOM and the teams.
Team bosses had previously met on Sunday at the Bahrain Grand Prix but no solution was decided. Talks of an aggregate time system had been proposed but in the end teams united to request a return to the 2015 format.
The new system was rushed through with no proper testing and met mixed reviews at the season opener in Australia. Many felt that Q1 and Q2 worked but the pole position shoot out was heavily criticised. In Melbourne Sebastian Vettel – who qualified third – had time to change into his jeans before the end of the final session as pole was decided with four minutes to go. Much of the sessions were spent clock watching with many drivers opting to stay in the garage instead of getting out on track. One major flaw in the elimination format was the fact that drivers on a flying lap were not able to complete it if their time ran out while on track.
A joint statement from the FIA and FOM today said:
At the unanimous request of the teams in a letter received today, Jean Todt, President of the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, commercial rights holder representative, accepted, in the interests of the Championship, to submit a proposal to the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council to revert to the qualifying format in force in 2015.
This proposal, if approved by the F1 governing bodies, will take effect as from the Chinese Grand Prix and will apply for the rest of the season.
Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the idea put forward by the teams to have a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017.
The FIA has confirmed that the controversial new elimination qualifying style will go ahead at the Australian Grand Prix.
Updated 2016 regulations published today included details for the new style of qualifying. It had initially been approved but then concerns over software meant it looked like it may be delayed until the start of the European season.
The new regulations will see drivers eliminated throughout the three sessions rather than waiting until the end. Q1 will see all 22 cars take to the track and after the first seven minutes the slowest driver will be eliminated. They will have to return to the pits immediately and will take no further part in qualifying. Then a driver will be eliminated every minute and a half until just 16 are left. At the end of the 16 minutes drivers will be allowed to complete the lap they are on and then the slowest driver gets eliminated leaving 15 to go through to Q2.
Q2 will take the same format with the first elimation taking place after six minutes. Eight drivers will then remain going into Q3. The first elimination will take place after five minutes and will continue until just two drivers are left to go head to head for pole position.
Drivers will then line up on the grid in the order they were eliminated, for example the last driver eliminated in Q1 will start 16th with the first eliminated driver in 22nd.
Both Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas will return to action for their respective teams at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Alonso was forced to sit out the entire Australian Grand Prix weekend due to the concussion he sustained during testing. Bottas pulled out on the morning of the race due to back problems but both drivers will return to their cockpits this weekend.
Statements put out by the FIA read as follows:
In accordance with normal procedures, McLaren-Honda [Williams-Martini] driver Fernando Alonso [Valtteri Bottas] was this morning examined by the FIA Medical Delegate and Chief Medical Officer at the Sepang Circuit Medical Centre. During the examination the driver passed all mandatory fitness tests and has thus been declared fit to race in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
An addition to Bottas’ statement said:
The driver has been informed that in case of a recurrence of pain or any abnormal feeling he must stop at the earliest opportunity.
Alonso also took part in the Drivers’ Press Conference where he faced a number of questions about his accident. He rebuked rumours that he had woken up in 1995 speaking Italian after the incident. He also explained that his steering locked just before the accident. The Malaysian Grand Prix has been good for Alonso in the past – he took his first ever pole position back in 2003 and has won the race three times. He won it for Renault in 2005 before going on to lead home a McLaren 1-2 in 2007. He won the race for Ferrari in 2012. It was a difficult start to the 2015 campaign for McLaren, however, as they qualified on the back row of the grid and Kevin Magnussen’s engine let go on his way to the grid for the start of the race. There is rain forecast for the weekend which could help McLaren get closer than they might be otherwise.
The World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) has today confirmed that there will be a 21 race calendar for the 2015 Formula One World Championship.
The WMSC met in Doha to discuss a number of issues before the end of the year. This included a confirmation of the 2015 calendar which includes the shock involvement of the Korean Grand Prix. It also includes a new Grand Prix in Mexico. The season will run from March to November once again starting in Australia and finishing in Abu Dhabi.
- 13th – 15th March – Australian Grand Prix
- 27th – 29th March – Malaysian Grand Prix
- 10th – 12th April – Chinese Grand Prix
- 17th – 19th April – Bahrain Grand Prix
- 1st – 3rd May – Korean Grand Prix (TBC)
- 8th – 10th May – Spanish Grand Prix
- 21st – 24th May – Monaco Grand Prix
- 5th – 7th June – Canadian Grand Prix
- 19th – 21st June – Austrian Grand Prix
- 3rd – 5th July – British Grand Prix
- 17th – 19th July – German Grand Prix
- 24th – 26th July – Hungarian Grand Prix
- 21st – 23rd August – Belgian Grand Prix
- 4th – 6th September – Italian Grand Prix
- 18th – 20th September – Singapore Grand Prix
- 25th – 27th September – Japanese Grand Prix
- 9th – 11th October – Russian Grand Prix
- 23rd – 25th October – US Grand Prix
- 30th October – 1st November – Mexican Grand Prix
- 13th – 15th November – Brazilian Grand Prix
- 27th – 29th November – Abu Dhabi Grand Pri
A number of decisions were also taken in relation to the 2015 sporting and technical regulations. The controversial double points rule which was introduced for the first time in 2014 will be dropped as well as the introduction of standing restarts following a safety car. If a race is suspended, drivers should make their way to the pit-lane – and not the grid as has been the case in the past – where they will line up behind the first car in the fast lane. A solution for backmarkers has also been introduced. In the case of a backmarker needing to unlap themselves before the race restarts after a safety car period, the safety car will enter the pits at the end of the following lap, regardless of if the cars have joined the back of the group.
During this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race weekend drivers tested a new Virtual Safety Car (VSC) system which has now been given the green light for 2015. It will be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of the track but when circumstances do not warrant the use of the safety car itself. Other decisions made include the introduction of a rule which means a driver will have to start from the pit-lane if any team personnel or equipment remains on the grid following the 15 second signal. If a driver does not start from the pit-lane they will be given a ten second stop/go penalty.
On the subject of penalties, drivers will no longer be forced to carry the remainder of a grid penalty for the next race. Instead time penalties will be enforced as follows:
- 1 to 5 grid places remain: a five second stop/go penalty
- 6 to 10 grid places remain: a drive through penalty
- 11 to 20 grid places remain: a ten second stop/go penalty
- more than 20 grid places remain: a time penalty
So, for example, if a driver is given a ten place grid penalty but qualifies 16th out of 22 cars, they will have four grid places remaining so will be given a five second stop/go penalty.
Further news from the World Motorsport Council’s meeting in Doha can be found by following the link, including the conclusions from the Accident Panel’s investigation into Jules Bianchi’s accident.