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29 Jun 2013


The following decisions were taken by the World Motor Sport Council (I have added my own notes after the relevant sections):

FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

The FIA President and the Commercial Rights Holder advised that negotiations regarding the Concorde Agreement were close to conclusion with the intention the contract between the FIA and FOM will be signed in the near future.

The following summarises the changes made to the 2014 Sporting Regulations:

Further to a request from Mercedes, it will be permitted to supply engines to a maximum of four Formula One teams in 2014. (Mercedes, McLaren, Force India and Williams)

A penalty point system for drivers will be introduced. If a driver accumulates more than 12 points he will be banned from the next race. Points will stay on the driver’s licence for 12 months. The amount of points a driver may be given for infringements will vary from one to three depending upon the severity of the offence.
The procedure for a driver to be given the chance to give back any advantage he may have gained by leaving the track has been adopted. (The system has been being mirrored in the background of the current system in order to assess how valid the points system is, it seems that the process has been validated and will be introduced next season)

A significant reduction in the amount of wind tunnel testing and CFD work has been imposed to help reduce costs and potentially allow two teams to share one wind tunnel. (An interesting development as save any undisclosed caveats in the Concorde Agreement the restriction on Wind Tunnel testing has only really been limited to model size and wind speed whereas CFD has never been expressly defined in the Sporting Regulations framework.  The use of CFD has clearly become a powerful tool and the only restriction I was aware of was the gentleman's handshake of no more than 80 Teraflops to be used in the FOTA agreement)

Four two-day track tests will be allowed in season in place of the current eight one-day promotional days and the three-day young driver test. These will take place at tracks in Europe on the Tuesday and Wednesday after a race in order to ensure minimal additional resources are necessary.
Track testing will now also be permitted in January 2014 in order to allow earlier testing of the new power units.  (For a long time now I have talked about the use of post race testing as a tool to increase F1's productivity whilst maintaining a lower cost ratio.  The problem most teams face is the correlation between the virtual world (CFD), scaled testing in the Wind Tunnel and then implementation at the track.  These test days after each GP will allow teams to adapt a different strategic development plan resulting in more successful adaption of upgraded components.  The only problem I forsee is waste, teams currently design and process thousands of components in CFD and the Wind Tunnel before reducing it to a handful of parts to be tested on the car.  This process will of course change and those designs that were marginal before may very well be processed for trial on the car)

For safety reasons all team personnel working on a car in a race pit stop will be required to wear head protection. (Speaks for itself)
 
Each driver will be provided with one extra set of tyres for use only during the first 30 minutes of the first practice session on Friday, to encourage teams to take to the track at that time without having to worry about using valuable tyre wear. (This will of course increase the costs for Pirelli but enables the teams more test/setup time and of course the fans some action on track)

A number of new regulations have been confirmed to govern the new, far more complex power units. It is agreed that only five power units may be used by each driver for the whole season. Any use of an additional complete power unit will result in that driver having to start the race from the pit lane. Any changes of individual elements above the permitted five, such as turbocharger, MGU or Energy Store, will result in a 10 grid place penalty.  (The complexities and number of components in the new power units was always likely to cause an issue with regards to penalties so it's good to see a ruling of this nature)

No manufacturer will be allowed to homologate more than one power unit during the homologation period from 2014-2020. Changes to the homologated unit will continue to be permitted for installation, reliability or cost saving reasons. (No real change from the V8 era)

Drivers must now use a gearbox for six consecutive events, an increase from the current five. (Not really a surprise as the FIA force the teams to increase the longevity of components to reduce costs, it's worth noting though that 2014's Gearbox is brand new, with 8 forward gears rather than the current 7)

No car may use more than 100kg of fuel for the race, from the time the lights go out at the start of the race to the chequered flag. This will be monitored by the use of an FIA approved fuel flow meter.  (There is no point having a drastically more efficient power unit if you can then use more fuel in order to raise power and/or alter strategy)
 
The pit lane speed limit, which is currently set at 60km/h for the free practice sessions and 100km/h for the qualifying practice and race (60km/h for the whole event in Melbourne, Monaco and Singapore), has been amended so it is set at 80km/h for the whole event (except the three races mentioned which would stay at 60km/h for the whole event). This is for safety reasons, as most accidents happen during the race when the speed limit is higher; drivers also have very little chance to practice stopping from 100km/h until the race.

The following summarises the changes made to the 2014 Technical Regulations:

Measures have been put in place to ensure that the cars do not incorporate a step in the chassis behind the nose. These changes will also ensure that a genuine low nose, introduced for safety reasons, is always used. (Following on from the 'Step Noses' of 2012 the FIA were not eager for a repeat and although aesthetics really have no place in a racing series they were seen to be a commercial problem.)

The minimum weight limit has been raised by 5kg, as the power unit is now likely to weigh more than originally expected. The weight distribution has also been changed accordingly.

Electronic control of the rear brake circuit is permitted in order to ensure consistent braking whilst energy is being recovered.

In order to ensure that side impact structures are more useful in an oblique impact and more consistent, they will become standard items made to a strictly laid out manufacturing process and fitted to the cars identically. The impact tests currently carried out will be replaced by static load push-off tests and squeeze tests. This will also help reduce costs as no team will need to develop their own structures.  (Another example of how the FIA is improving safety whilst reducing cost, certain areas of the car being "spec'd" is an inevitability in order to control these 2 elements)

In order to ensure that the cockpit rims either side of the driver’s head are stronger, the amount of deflection during the static load tests has been reduced from 20mm to 5mm.
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2 comments:

  1. A set of very good decisions taken by FIA ( it's a bit strange,isn't it? ) and all the decisions point in the same direction - lower costs. It will be nice to see car on track for more times as they'll be able to test more often. The only thing I didn't understand well is: From the 4 avalable tests 3 will have to be with the YTD? Is that so? If it is then it's really good

    ReplyDelete
  2. Matthew what's your take on the change to the rule on gear ratios? The new rules say in 2014 the ratios will stay fixed for all races save for one full set change during the season.

    ReplyDelete

Whilst I'm trying to keep atop of the blog you may have noticed of late that there is less content appearing. For those of you that haven't realised, most of my work has now been moved over to Motorsport.com where I'm working with Giorgio Piola.

I'm still doing the technical image gallery for each GP with the continued support of friend of the site Sutton Images. However, as always my time is limited and so this might not be updated as quickly as it once was, so keep checking back.

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