Tag Archives: Superlicence

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.

Klien given Superlicence 10 minutes before practice

Christian Klien almost didn't make it to Friday Practice 1

Christian Klien almost didn't make it to Friday Practice 1

It turned out today that HRT test and reserve driver Christian Klien was only granted his Superlicence 10 minutes before the start of Friday Practice 1.

The Austrian driver was being offered to drive in FP1 as part of being the team’s second reserve driver, alongside Sakon Yamamoto. However, his debut drive for the team nearly didn’t happen at all, as Christian explains:

"It was a bit exciting today as I got my Superlicense only ten 
minutes before the start of the first practice session! 
Fortunately, everything had been prepared perfectly and then I was 
allowed to jump into the car.

I had 90 great minutes in the car. It was my first time in a Formula 
1 car since January last year and felt perfect right away; I was 
able to feel the limits of the car and posted constant times, which 
will help the engineers - I was able to give them important feedback 
to improve, in terms of setup, and my work with top teams will help 
them."

I’m glad that Klien is being given a chance to drive in F1 again, but he still needs a good car to be able to prove himself. However, the fact that he beat Bruno Senna by an entire half a second in only 90 minutes of practice shows what potential he has.

The problem is the testing ban. With this, test and reserve drivers, especially young drivers, will be unable to get attention for themselves and therefore struggle to get race drive positions. One idea I had would be a “reserve driver test”, once or twice a year, where the test and reserve drivers would test and develop the car. This would help the teams with their development, and also give a chance for reserve drivers to show what they are worth. I’ll write more on this idea after this weekend.

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