Daily Archives: June 23, 2010

More 2011 rules: Weight, fuel samples, safety car line, licences and more

Michael Schumacher's Monaco penalty has been clarified by the FIA and WMSC

Michael Schumacher's Monaco penalty has been clarified by the FIA and WMSC

After the announcement of Pirelli being the sole tyre supplier, adjustable rear wings, and the 107%, the World Motor Sport Council have announced even more (but smaller) rule changes for the 2011 season. I would be here all year if I were to write separate articles, so I have put them all into one post:

The safety car line

The WMSC have clarified the issue regarding the safety car line, after what happened to Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso during the last lap of the Monaco Grand Prix:

"With immediate effect, no car may overtake until it has passed the
first safety car line for the first time when the safety car is
returning to the pits. However, if the safety car is still deployed
at the beginning of the last lap, or is deployed during the last
lap, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the lap and the cars
will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking."

This is good news, as there will be no more arguments about whether overtaking is allowed on the last lap after the safety car pits. The safety car line was introduced this year, so as to create more exciting restarts during the race, but not for the end.

“Competitor’s staff” FIA Licence

While this is not a rule yet, it is a proposal. This is to give licences to “staff of competitors”, in other words, all team personnel, at and away from the track:

"A proposal relating to specific licences for members of staff of
competitors entered in the FIA World Championships has been
submitted to the Formula One Commission. This is under consideration
for implementation in the FIA Formula One World Championship from
the start of 2011, with a view to inclusion in other FIA World
Championships in the future."

The only real use of this, as far as I can see, is to stop Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds returning to the sport in 2013. To be honest, apart from suspicious employees (Mike Coughlan?) this rule shouldn’t be put into use much. Hopefully.

Fuel samples and stopping out on track

This is a rule for Lewis Hamilton only, after what happened at Canada. This new rule states that, after all practice and qualifying sessions, the car must be brought back to the pits via its own power. In other words, the car cannot be switched off in order to save fuel for a fuel sample:

"With immediate effect, any car being driven unnecessarily slowly,
erratically, or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other
drivers, will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether
any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the
pit lane.

In order to ensure cars are not driven unnecessarily slowly on
in-laps during qualifying or reconnaissance laps when the pit
exit is opened for the race, drivers must stay below the maximum
time set by the FIA between the safety car line after the pit
exit and safety car line before the pit entry. The maximum time
will be determined by the race director at each event prior to
the first day of practice, but may be amended during the event
if necessary.

With immediate effect, if a sample of fuel is required after a
practice session the car concerned must have first been driven
back to the pits under its own power."

Charlie Whiting has already issued a warning, that anyone who tries what Hamilton and McLaren did in Canada will be punished, so again this is simply a clarification of the rules.

Minimum weight

The minimum weight of the cars will be increased from 620kg to 640kg. This is to encourage teams to run the KERS system next year (which FOTA is now allowing their members to use for 2011). This year, the minimum weight was increased from 605kg to 620kg, for the refuelling ban and for KERS, although the latter was not used this year.

"From 2011, the minimum weight of the car must not be less than
640 kg at all times during the event."

Hopefully this will encourage all teams to run KERS next year, rather than just a few. Certain teams have already announced that they will be running KERS next year. More on this later.

Ho-Pin-Tung’s Superlicence

Ho-Pin-Tung has been granted a probationary 4-race superlicence, which suggests that his Renault team applied for one. The Chinese driver had just taken part in a test session in a Renault R29 last weekend.

"Based on his career résumé and comparative F1 testing times, the
World Council has approved the granting of a four-race probationary
super license to Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung."

As I always say, I love giving new drivers a chance in F1. However, I hope this superlicence isn’t for this year, as surely Pin-Tung has not had enough testing yet. Having said that, there was a rule implemented a few months back, that said that a new driver in the middle of an F1 season was allowed a test session before his first race.

Driver conduct on the road

Another Lewis Hamilton rule here, after what happened to him during the Australian GP weekend:

"The FIA, both in its motor sport and mobility roles, has a strong 
interest in promoting road safety. Competitors at FIA events must 
act as ambassadors for the sport, be aware their conduct on the 
road must be exemplary and respect road safety rules. The World 
Council agreed that the International Sporting Code be examined 
to ensure the Federation’s overall objectives and, in particular, 
its commitment to road safety, are upheld."

In other statements, the FIA and WMSC have suggested penalties to drivers who are dangerous on the road, and this should be good news. While us sensible F1 fans know how to behave on the road, there are plenty of idiots who don’t. If a race driver is driving dangerously on the road, it needs to be shown to everybody that nobody is above the rules of the road. If that means compromising the driver in their sport, so be it.

All of these new rules will be summarised in a later post.

Adjustable rear wings for 2011 – but only for overtaking

It has been announced by the World Motor Sport Council today that adjustable rear wings will be introduced into Formula 1 for the 2011 season, but can only be deployed when a car is following another, and cannot be used by the leader. This has been implemented to assist overtaking.

The adjustable rear wings would not be allowed to be used in the first 2 laps. Also, it can only be activated when a driver is less than 1 second behind the car in front. The driver is notified by his electronics (a light probably) when the system can be used. When the driver hits the brakes after using the rear wing, the system is disabled.

The World motor Sport Council explained this system in more detail:

"From 2011, adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at 
any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose 
of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the 
driver has completed two laps.

The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race 
when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is 
enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one 
second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions 
around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first 
time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated.

The FIA may, after consulting all the competitors, adjust the time
proximity in order to ensure the purpose of the adjustable 
bodywork is met."

I’m not sure about this one. This system gives about 15 km/h extra speed in a straight line, and that is plenty to pass the car in front. However, it may be making it too easy to pass another car, and then when a driver has been overtaken, they can just repass them the following lap.

The F-duct was banned (a good thing in my book) to make way for this innovation, and coupled with KERS (I will write on this later), this could well make overtaking too complicated for the fans, and for the driver.

107% rule returns for 2011

Neither of the HRT cars would have raced in Bahrain if the 107% rule was in place

Neither of the HRT cars would have raced in Bahrain if the 107% rule was in place

As well as Pirelli being the sole tyre supplier from 2011 onwards, the FIA have today announced that the 107% rule will return to Formula 1 in 2011. This was announced at the World Motor Sports Council today. From 2011 onwards, any driver who does not get within 107% of the fastest lap of Q1 will not be allowed to start the race.

The World Motor Sport Council explained the 107% rule in more detail:

"From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of
the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part
in the race. Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may
include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session,
the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there
be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order
will be determined by the stewards."

Now I’m sure that, in the event of rain or track damage during qualifying, the stewards would allow a slower car to go through to the race, but overall I think this rule is a bit pointless. The new teams are quickly getting up to speed, and would hardly get caught out by the 107% rule next year.

After a few minutes of figuring it out, I have concluded that there would have been 5 drivers knocked out in 4 different races this year if the 107% rule was already in place. In the season-opener in Bahrain, both Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok would not have started. Then, in Malaysia, Lucas di Grassi would have been gone.

In Spain, Bruno Senna again would have been left out. Finally, Karun Chandhok in Canada would be excluded under 107% regulations. But, in the future, I can’t see how it would happen this often. If there is a 13th team in F1 in 2011, it will only make it harder on them to get into the sport.

As we have seen already, there haven’t been any serious difficulties with slow backmarkers, even in Monaco. This is why I believe that the 107% rule is a waste of time.

Pirelli announced as F1 tyre supplier for 2011

Pirelli has been confirmed as F1 tyre supplier for 2011 onwards

Pirelli has been confirmed as F1 tyre supplier for 2011 onwards

It has finally been announced by the FIA today that Italian company Pirelli will be the tyre manufacturer and supplier for all Formula 1 teams from 2011 onwards. This is after the company have had a 20-year absence in the sport. It is unclear at the moment if they will introduce 18-inch wheels.

Pirelli defeated competition from Michelin, and a brief attempt from Cooper Avon, to get the contract. It was always a 2-way battle between Michelin and Pirelli, although the main difference between the two was track sponsorship. Unlike Pirelli, Michelin would put up trackside advertising for themselves at tracks, and a share of the profits would go to the 13 teams.

However, they had also made certain demands, such as having a fellow competitor for tyres in the sport, something the teams were not keen on. Seeing as Pirelli were essentially no-strings attached, the FIA have today announced that they will be the company that wins the 3-year contract:

"Pirelli has been selected as the single tyre supplier for the FIA 
Formula One World Championship for a period of three years, 
commencing in 2011. The sole supplier will undertake to strictly 
respect the sporting and technical regulations implemented by the 
FIA."

Pirelli last competed in Formula 1, when they supplied Tyrrell, Brabham, Dallara and Benneton, while all of the other teams ran on Goodyear tyres. Their last win came in 1991, when Nelson Piquet won the Canadian Grand Prix.

Back in the 1950’s, Pirelli were the dominant force in Formula 1, winning 5 championships in the first 10 years (2 of these were when the constructor used 2 tyre suppliers).

It is good to see that this tyre saga is finally over, and there are more announcements from the FIA to be written about, while will be up soon.

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