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5 Dec 2012

The last 2012 meeting of the World Motor Sport Council took place today (05/12/12) in Istanbul.  The following pertains to the alterations relative to F1 and I have Italicised my notes alongside:

2013 F1 Technical Regulations

  • More stringent front wing deflection tests have been introduced - In response to further developments regarding flexing Front Wings the FIA will adjust the load tests.  As I've discussed here and on twitter in the past a serious area of development for teams now is aero-elasticity.  Being able to manipulate the Front Wing under aero load can offer significant benefits and so teams will continue to chase development in this area.  The FIA may be best placed to also look at the adoption of further deflection/load tests to other regions (ie Nosecone, Wing Pylons etc) as these too are areas the teams will use in order to further impact the rotation, flex, pitch etc of the Front Wing.
  • There is an increase in minimum weight to compensate for an increase in tyre weight for 2013 -  As I looked at in my previous article: the Pirelli test tyres used at Interlagos had a new construction.  Due to the change of construction for the 2013 tyres the weight per tyre has been raised by 1KG.  The overall minimum weight therefore has been adjusted to accommodate this. 
  • Deletion of the ‘force majeure’ allowance when a car stops on the track in qualifying. The FIA will determine how much fuel the car would have used to get back to the pits and add it to the one litre sample minimum. - Several instances have occurred where teams have opted to stop their driver/car out on circuit due to an irregularity with fuel claiming that further damage could have been incurred to the engine/powertrain had they continued.  This tactic was most recently adopted by Red Bull at Abu Dhabi who stopped Sebastian Vettel on his in lap after qualifying.  In the case of Sebastian the car didn't give up enough fuel (0.850) to make the required sample anyway.  However in the future teams could stop a car out on track without the need to veil the stoppage as an engine problem.  Without further regulatory adjustments this in my opinion leaves the minimum sample rule up for abuse.  For example if a team realises early enough they can make the necessary adjustments to the engine map / revs / driver gearing etc in order to manipulate the calculations the FIA may use in order to ascertain how much fuel it would take to recover to the pits.
  • All chassis will now have higher static loads applied to them (formerly only one chassis was tested to the higher loads with subsequent chassis being tested to 20% lower proof loads) &
  • Minor changes have been made to the front roll structure design. - In order to further assist the development of safety precautions in the sport it would be irresponsible of the FIA not to change area's of the cars structure/design to reduce the chance of incident.
2013 F1 Sporting Regulations

  • For safety reasons, use of the DRS during practice [inc Qualifying] will now only be allowed in the place(s) it will be used on the track in the race - Many teams have been skewing their DRS delta to allow their drivers to use DRS out of (or indeed even during) corners to further reduce drag.  The FIA have decided that this is unacceptable in terms of safety and decided that only the standard DRS zone(s) will allow DRS usage throughout the whole GP weekend.  The FIA have stated they will however have 2 DRS zones at most GP's throughout 2013.
  • The team personnel curfew will be extended from six to eight hours on Thursday night and only two exceptions will be allowed during a season (formerly four) - In order to help teams with the processes involved in preparing the cars for the GP the curfew has been extended.  This allows for genuine preparatory work to be completed by the teams and so the FIA have also reduced the amount of exceptions available to the teams.
2014 F1 Technical Regulations

  • A new draft with numerous changes was discussed and agreed by the F1 Technical Working Group and Powertrain Working Group -
  • The requirement for cars to be driven exclusively under electric power in the pit lane has been postponed until 2017 - The electric pitlane rule has been debated ever since it was placed within the original '14' regulations with general consensus being it wouldn't make the final 2014 draft.  The largest barrier that's faced by electric pitlane usage is noise, although a car powered only by electricity will still make noise it would be almost silent when compared to a contemporary F1 car.  This brings into question the safety of team personnel with the car traveling at 100kph and producing little noise it is easy to see how someone could be injured.
  • A number of changes have been made to the power unit regulations with the aim of limiting technology in some areas in order to reduce development costs. - As no specifics have been given here all one can assume is that strides could/can be made in the implementation of ERS that would add large financial burdens on the manufacturer who hasn't initially included them in their design.  The other area that could allow costs to spiral is the materials used, although the type of materials available is already restrained they do allow for a more exotic exploitation of materials with modern techniques.
  • The minimum weight limit has been raised to compensate for additional power unit weight - This will have been a decision made by the TWG/PWG/FIA based on information given to them by the engine manufacturers who have already stated that the weight targets set out for the new engines were un-reachable.


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