Usually at this time of year we get the first hints of the next year’s F1 calendar, but the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which met at Goodwood House in England on Friday, published no dates for the 2014. The Council reported 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”. Among the other decisions is a penalty system for drivers. If a driver accumulates more than 12 such 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.
There will also be 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. There will be allowance for four two-day track tests 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 safety reasons all team personnel working on a car in a race pit stop will be required to wear head protection.
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.
Mercedes will be permitted to supply engines to a maximum of four Formula 1 teams in 2014.
There are also a number of new regulations 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. 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. Drivers must now use a gearbox for six consecutive events, an increase from the current five. 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.
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.
Other changes include a rule to stop cars the cars having a step in the chassis. These changes will also ensure that a genuine low nose, introduced for safety reasons, is always used. 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.
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.