Tag Archives: FIA

FIA approves V6 engines for 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

The FIA has today approved the change in engine regulations for the 2014 season.

The move will see the sport switch from 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engines to more efficient 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 power units.

It has also been confirmed that this new engine formula will feature several energy recovery units, though this detail has yet to be elaborated on.

The last time turbocharged engines were used in F1 was back in 1988.

A statement issued today from the FIA reads as follows:

"Following a fax vote by its members, the World Motor Sport Council has ratified the
engine regulations recently drawn up in consultation with the main stakeholders in
Formula 1.

“he new power plant will be a V6 1.6 turbo unit with energy recovery systems. This
new formula will come into effect as from the start of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world
championship season."

It has been revealed that the original push for 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines, which was rejected several  days ago, was being put forward by Audi, a prospective engine supplier to F1 teams from 2013 onwards.

The switch to efficient turbocharged engines is not a surprise, considering the FIA has been keen to improve the “green” aspect of the sport in recent times. It is currently unknown how this regulation change will affect total power output, but it is expected that the energy recovery systems (KERS, exhaust gas recovery units) will compensate for any loss in engine power.

Update: The FIA has confirmed today that these new engines will use a 15,000 rpm rev limiter.

FIA to enforce Monaco tunnel DRS ban

DRS will be banned in the tunnel in Monaco

DRS will be banned in the tunnel in Monaco

After safety complaints from many of the drivers, the FIA has made the decision to ban the Drag Reduction System in the tunnel of the Monaco Grand Prix street circuit this weekend.

To prevent drivers taking risks at the sharp right-hander, race director Charlie Whiting has decided to ban the use of DRS in between two specific points on the circuit.

The distance markers 1350m and 2020m (the area of the tunnel) has been specified as an area that DRS cannot be used in.

Otherwise, the device is free to be used around the track during practice and qualifying, and the start/finish straight will soon be confirmed as the race location for DRS use.

In a letter to the Grand Prix Drivers Association on Monday, Whiting claimed that the FIA’s initial tough stance on DRS in the tunnel (they believed there was no safety concern) has since softened.

While most drivers are pleased with this announcement, Renault team principal Eric Boullier doesn’t see the point:

"Some feel that the incentive to benefit will force drivers to take unnecessary risks.

My own view is that the drivers will build up their confidence gradually during free 
practice and by the time qualifying arrives they will know in how much of the tunnel 
they can safely use the DRS wing.

Often in the past the tunnel has been very tricky to take flat out at the start of 
the race weekend when the track is poor.

"This has not caused the drivers to crash, they have simply built up their pace 
gradually until they were confident that it could be taken flat - I think the same 
approach will emerge with the DRS."

FIA make changes to blown diffuser rules

The exhaust blown diffuser has been limited by the FIA

The exhaust blown diffuser has been limited by the FIA

The FIA has informed all F1 teams of changes to the technical regulations concerning blown diffusers, which will come into effect at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

One of the main points of development for the teams this year has been the blown diffuser, which channels exhaust gases onto the diffuser, which initially only brought downforce benefits while the driver was on the throttle.

However, several teams, particularly Red Bull, have been believed to have exploited the blown diffuser, by allowing the system to work even while the throttle is not being used. A constant flow of gas through the exhaust system is rumoured to be the cause for this.

This is the innovation that the FIA will soon ban. They have written to all the teams, instructing them that the use of the throttle is only to increase torque, not for aerodynamic performance.

If any team is caught to evade this ruling, they will have broken Article 3.15 of the technical regulations, which bans movable aerodynamic pieces or devices.

McLaren believe that this exploitation may be the key to Red Bull’s scintillating qualifying pace, so it will be interesting to see how Vettel and Webber perform in Barcelona this weekend.

Update: The FIA has decided not to go ahead with this regulation for this weekend, after several “unforeseen and unintended consequences” were brought to their attention. However, they are planning to move ahead with the new ruling as soon as possible.

No DRS ban for Monaco

DRS will be used in Monaco

DRS will be used in Monaco

The FIA has decided that there will be no ban on the Drag Reduction System for the Monaco Grand Prix, despite safety concerns from drivers.

The unlimited use of the adjustable rear wing in the tunnel is the primary concern from some drivers, who feel that it is an unnecessary risk.

However, some teams voiced their support for retaining the system, claiming it would be difficult to create a Monaco-specific rear wing.

Williams technical director Sam Michael has said that Charlie Whiting has told the teams there will be no ban, as only a handful of teams objected to the device:

"Charlie told us this morning. There were some teams that did not think DRS would be 
good there, but other teams were saying they did not agree [with the ban] and did not 
understand on what basis [it would be banned].

So Charlie was quite straightforward about it. He said that there wasn't a strong 
enough argument to not have it, so it is staying. We were neutral on it, we didn't 
mind."

On the other hand, several drivers are unhappy with using DRS on the street circuit. Rubens Barrichello in particular feels that the sport’s governing body has made the wrong call:

"I just think it is wrong. I would love the people at the top to sit in the car and 
try to do the tunnel with the DRS open.

In my opinion, they are waiting for something bad to happen. And when it happens, 
they will just say, 'oh, next year we will not have it for Monaco'.

The drivers have not been listened to right now and I think it is the wrong 
decision.

I can see a race [filled] with safety cars. If they could listen still: I think 
Monaco is what it is. It is not overtaking territory.

Do they think they can introduce overtaking through the DRS? They possibly can, but 
they might hurt someone. That is a voice from experience."

FIA allows 1 month Bahrain deadline extension

The 2011 Bahrain GP still appears uncertain

The 2011 Bahrain GP still appears uncertain

The FIA has allowed the Bahrain Motor Federation an additional month to decide the future of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix.

With the original deadline expiring yesterday, rumours mounted that the Grand Prix was in serious doubt for 2011. However, after encouragement from Bernie Ecclestone a few days ago, the FIA is giving more time for the event organisers to make the call.

Violent protests against the Bahrain government caused the race to be cancelled in March, and since then the country has been in a state of emergency.

This one-month extension is being granted to assess the condition of the state’s political climate, which is currently tense to say the least.

With this, it seems almost certain that, if the race is rescheduled for 2011, it will take place after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and before the Brazilian Grand Prix. This is because the 4-week break in the summer is too close to organise a race, and the 20th November seems to be the only achieveable target for the race to go ahead.

DRS may be banned in Monaco

The adjustable rear wing may not be in place in Monaco

The adjustable rear wing may not be in place in Monaco

The banning of the Drag Reduction System at the Monaco Grand Prix is being considered, after complaints from drivers regarding safety were brought up.

It has been said that a number of drivers are concerned about the unlimited use of DRS in practice and qualifying at the tight and twisting street circuit.

Because qualifying is so important in Monte Carlo, there are fears that drivers may take risks with the DRS system – most notably at the right-hander in the tunnel.

While no decision has been made yet, the FIA are considering banning the device for this one Grand Prix. Discussions will be held with the teams and drivers at the Turkish Grand Prix, with a decision from the FIA expected after that race weekend.

So far, the combination of the DRS unit and Pirelli tyres have brought an extra spectacle to F1 racing this year. Strategies are diverse and unpredictable, and DRS allows overtaking without making the passing too easy.

However, safety must be respected at all times, and in the case of a track where two cars simply can’t run side-by-side, I believe the device should be banned.

Bahrain GP decision delayed until May

The 2011 Bahrain GP is still in doubt

The 2011 Bahrain GP is still in doubt

After the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was due to take place this weekend, the race organisers have been given until May 1st to decide the future of the 2011 event.

Speculation over the past few weeks has been mounting over if the 2011 race can actually take place, as the 20-race calendar contains very few empty slots for Bahrain to fill. Only two choices are currently being discussed. The first is to host the race during the summer break, in early July. However, the searing temperatures (up to 40 degrees) has discouraged this date.

The second option, and the better one in my opinion, is to move the race one week before or after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. However, this poses logistical problems to the teams, who would have up to 3 races in 3 weeks.

With a difficult decision on their hands, the Bahrain Motor Federation has been granted time to make their call, according to an FIA statement:

"The World Motor Sport Council asked the Bahrain Motor Federation to communicate by 
May 1st at the latest if the Bahrain Grand Prix can be organised in 2011."

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has also stated that he will look for every opportunity to host the race:

"I don't know how likely it is that there is going to be peace in Bahrain. But if 
there is, we will find a way.

The people there have been very big supporters of us, and are becoming bigger and 
bigger. We have much more support in Bahrain than we did when we first started 
there, and if they want the race we want to supply it for them."

1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines confirmed for 2013

The FIA has confirmed the new specification of Formula 1 engines to be used from the 2013 season onwards.

The current 2.4 litre V8s will be replaced with 1.6 litre 4-cylinder power plants. They will be assisted by high-powered injection, up to 500 bar. The engine rev limit has been reduced to 12,000 rpm.

The number of engines each driver can use will be brought down to 5. From 2014 onwards, this will be reduced to 4 per year.

The FIA claim that these new engines will deliver up to 35% reduction in fuel consumption, while providing the same amount of power (currently around 800 hp).Energy recovery systems and energy management will also be introduced, hinting that the FIA is looking at exhaust gases recovery systems to team up with the KERS unit used at the moment.

Team orders ban lifted for 2011

Ferrari's team orders in Germany are now considered legal

Ferrari's team orders in Germany are now considered legal

The ban on team orders, listed under Article 39.1 on the FIA regulations, has been scrapped from 2011 onwards. This means that team orders, such as the one Ferrari employed at the German Grand Prix this year, can now be legally made without punishment by the stewards or FIA.

The FIA’s statement for this move reads as follows:

The article forbidding team orders (39.1) is deleted.

Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the 
sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of 
the International Sporting Code and any other relevant 
provisions.

While the stewards handed Ferrari a $100,000 fine after the German GP, they failed to dock or switch the points gained by Fernando Alonso, who was allowed past by Felipe Massa.

In my opinion, this isn’t actually as bad a move as it could be. While I’m completely against team orders that deliberately disadvantage one driver, team orders are used all the time these days, just in different wording.

Now that the ban has been lifted, we can see more clearly how each team operates its strategies. While I’m sure that a driver would let their team-mate past to assist the team’s race strategy for both cars, very few of them would move aside simply for the other driver to directly gain from the order.

Team orders to assist race strategies have been used plenty of times with little controversy, such as Kovalainen and Hamilton in Germany 2008, or Heidfeld and Kubica in Canada. In the situation where one car needs to be released to make the most out of their strategies, I’d say that team orders are fine.

5-race gearboxes introduced as part of new rules

A raft of changes have been announced for 2011 and 2012

A raft of changes have been announced for 2011 and 2012

The FIA has announced a new series of rules for the 2011 season, and some to be introduced in 2012, the most important of which being that gearboxes now have to last 5 races.

This improves upon last year’s restrictions of 4 races on the same gearbox. As the 2011 F1 calendar contains 20 races, this means that most teams will be looking to use only 4 gearboxes for the entire season.

2011

Steward penalties have been revised relating for the rules on “driving and driver conduct”. Race Director Charlie Whiting also has the option to close the pit lane during the race, for safety reasons, if he deems necessary.

The rules will be clarified as to when cars can overtake the safety car, following the controversy at the Valencian GP. Shallow wet tyres (behind the full wets), are now reclassified as intermediates, but that’s what most of us have been saying anyways.

A penalty can be awarded to any driver who fails to use both specifications of tyres during the race. The cars will be modified to allow “anti-intrusion panels” to protect the driver’s legs in case of an accident. On the technical side, the definitions of the “reference plane, and reinforcement of bodywork deflection tests, especially at the front of the reference plane” have all been changed.

2012

For the 2012 season, all team radio communications will be available to F1 broadcasters. The intention of this is to allow more transmissions to be displayed to the audience.

Fuel compounds will be produced from biomass, but no further detail is available at the moment. The number of suspension uprights will also be limited.

The long-awaited 2013 engine rules have been announced, as well as a statement on team orders, and these will be dealt with in separate articles.

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