F1 News, Views and Reviews

F1 Rules

Hispania Fined For Pitlane Incident

Hispania HRT have been fined $5,000 for their pitlane incident involving Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto in practice for the Korean Grand Prix today.

The Spanish team let Yamamoto leave the pit garage with one of the tyre warmers still attached.  This was in breach of rules 23.1(j), 30.7 and 30.9

“It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car after a pitstop only when it is safe to do so,” states article 23.1.


The 107% Rule Makes A Return To F1

The famous 107% qualifying rule, which takes incredibly slow qualifying cars out of a Formula One race will be officially re-introduced from the start of the 2011 season it was announced today.

The rule, which was brought into Formula One in 1996 was taken away at the end of 2002 with the introduction of single lap qualifying for 2003.  It was not brought back ahead of the influx of new cars this season, the new teams have been accused regularly of holding up faster cars.

The FIA and World Motorsport Council knew something had to be done, and the re-introduction of the 107% rule seemed like the right thing to do.

A statement released by the World Motor Sport Council said: “From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107 per cent 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 laptime 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.”

It was introduced in 1996 at the Australian Grand Prix, and in the first session it was breached by both drivers for the Forti team, one of those drivers was Luca Badoer who is infamous for his chronically poor pace driving for Ferrari when he stood in for the injured Felipe Massa.  Another famous breaker of the 107% rule was Ricardo Rosset, a well known Brazilian ‘pay-driver’. It was broken some 37 times in total, most appallingly at the 2002 French Grand Prix when the Arrows drivers deliberately failed to ualify due to the teams financial problems, the only reason they went to qualifying was to miss the fines the FIA would impose on the team.

Domenicali In Push For Spare Car Return

Stefano Domenicali, the team principal of Ferrari has said he is going to try and lobby to change the rules regarding the test or spare car which were banned in attempts to reduce costs through equipment and crews.

However last Saturday Ferrari’s top driver Fernando Alonso smashed his car up in practice so badly he was unable to qualify.

This has meant the question over whether T-Car’s as they are known has reared its head into conversations with the FIA with the discussions stating that the teams want there to be a third car once again, based on the fact they take all of the equipment to build a third car in the event of such an accident – all that happens is that the mechanics have to work around the clock to build the car rather than adjusting it for each driver.

“Let’s start from the reasons why the rule book was modified a couple years ago: costs had to be reduced by getting rid of the T-car and reducing car crews,” said Domenicali. “This was the reason why the regulations were changed.

“After that, as usually happens in F1, we lost sight a bit of the events that may happen, like on Saturday. So I think this is an issue that will be re-discussed again as soon as possible, because preventing spectators from seeing the car for this sort of reason is in my opinion worth looking at.”

Double Diffusers Banned From 2011

The contraversial “double diffuser” design which rocked the start of the 2009 season will be banned from the end of the 2010 season it has been revealed.

The FIA ruled that the design was legal after a major challenge to the double diffuser which was designed by Ross Brawn’s team, BrawnGP and then replicated.  Major players like Ferrari and McLaren said the contraversial advantage was what lost them the title challenge when the small Brawn team took easy early victories, and eventually the title.

It has also been said that the diffuser design un-did all of the work done by the technical working group in terms of stripping away aerodynamic pieces in order to combat the boring procession races that had been occuring.

Mike Gascoyne, of the Virgin Racing team enterting F1 this season was bouyant on the move.

“I think it is exactly right,” he said.

“It is what we should do, and it is what both FOTA and the FIA are looking at for 2011. I think it is very sensible and very easy to do – just tighten up the regulations and it is done.”

2010 Formula One Rules Announced By FIA

The FIA have published their 2010 sporting regulations and technical regulations today.

The articles, posted on the official FIA website (Sporting: Click Technical: Click ) outline some new rules, most notably qualifying regulation.

Q1 and Q2 will now see 8 cars demoted out of each session, with 10 cars being able to run in the final Q3 portion.  These cars in Q3 will run in the low fuel format as seen this season to allow for the fact that no refuelling may take place during the race itself.  The 8 car rule comes in as 3 new teams, Campos, Manor and USF1 are joining the sport.

Another important point to note is the lack of change to the point scoring system, meaning that Bernie’s silly medal system is out of the window completely.

Tyre warmers will be allowed despite previous indications from the FIA being that they would be banned.  Minimum car weights have been increased to 620KG to allow for the KERS system, despite all teams saying they will run without the power boosting systems for 2010 to allow a level playing field.

Also worth noting is the lack of two tier racing.

Further Cost Reduction Detail Emerge From German Magazine

Highly regarded German car magazine Auto Motor und Sport have revealed some of the future cost reduction methods being outlined by the FIA.

While the overall actual plan of cost reduction is a closely guarded secret, AMuS claim these findings are from the highest sources.

The cost reduction proposals include:

  • Reducing the number of staff travelling to races to 45, meaning double-ing up of jobs in a similar way to how driver Physio’s act as their pitboard men.
  • Tem expenditure (excluding Driver + management salary and marketing) will be capped to 100m Euro in 2010 and 50m Euro in 2011
  • Factory based staff reduction to 350 for 2010 and 280 for 2011.  More staff will be allowed if teams make more in-house products like engines, gearboxes etc.

These proposals don’t really fill me with hope here at The F1Fanatics Blog. In truth, the cap on members of staff at races is stupid as people already double up, such as those physio’s being pitboard men, and sometimes you find Chef’s and refuellers who are also truckies and stuff.  We dont want too few staff so that corners are cut and safety is hindered.  Staff will also have to be fired from teams which is unfair given the current economic problems and the lack of job availability especially for these highly skilled workers.

Indeed, I believe if the FIA wants to save money on personnel at races they should have less races outside of Europe to dramatically cut down on flight and freight costs.  More European GP’s should help the staff to be available much more cheaply.

Renault Handed European Grand Prix Race Ban After Alonso Tyre Failure

The Renault F1 Team have been handed a suspension from the next round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in Valencia, the European Grand Prix after Fernando Alonso’s tyre incident in this afternoon’s Hungarian GP.

The Spaniard was released from the pits, his first scheduled stop with the front right hand wheel not correctly attached.  The wheel hun “spinner” then spun round at high speed, undoing the centre nut and releasing the tyre from its housing sending it bouncing down the Hungaoring circuit.  It was a tyre that hit Henry Surtees’ helmet in Formula 2 last week, killing the 19 year old.

The FIA reprimanded the team under safety breach 3.2 with article 32.1.i being broken, with the car being knowingly released from a pitstop without being safe.

The statement said that Renault “knowingly released car no. 7 from the pitstop position without one of the retaining devices for the wheel-nuts being securely in position, this being an indication that the wheel itself may not have been properly secured.”

It added that Renault, “being aware of this, failed to take any action to prevent the car from leaving the pitlane….failed to inform the driver of this problem or to advise him to take appropriate action given the circumstances, even though the driver contacted the team by radio believing he had a puncture.”

Renault will appeal the decision, with an appeal, the letter and 6,000 Euro fee being lodged around 20 minutes ago by Renault management at the circuit.  The hearing will likely take place within the next 2 weeks.

Alonsos Renault with the near wheel rim clearly out of position compared with the other Renault of Nelson Piquet passing.

Alonso's Renault with the near wheel rim clearly out of position compared with the other Renault of Nelson Piquet passing.

Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen was cleared of any wrong doing in connection with making contact with Sebastian Vettel, the stewards deemed he lost control of the car and touched in a “racing incident”.

Refuelling Ban Still On For 2010 Despite FOTA/FIA Agreements

The refuelling ban set out by the FIA as part of it’s eleborate new rule system for the 2010 season will still go ahead despite the majority of the new regulations being binned after FOTA/FIA agreement talks for FOTA team involvement in the 2010 Formula One Season.

The teams are fairly positive towards the refuelling ban due to the high cost of transporting refuelling equipment around the world, and also some accidents which have led to large fires, such as Jos Verstappen’s memorable pitfire at Hockenheim 1994, Eddie Irvine 1995 at Spa and Michael Schumacher’s at the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix when despite flames licking the car he still went on to win the Grand Prix.

A source within FOTA said this was still on track, despite 2009 rule revisions for 2010.

The source said: “There will be a few amendments to the rules that need to be agreed unanimously. This will be about refuelling and a few other items, and should be completed in the next few weeks.”

A pitfire for Gianmaria Brunis Minardi in 2004

A pitfire for Gianmaria Bruni's Minardi in 2004

Just wanted to add, R.I.P Michael Jackson – King of Pop who sadly died yesterday evening of a cardiac arrest.

No Agreement Reached Between FIA and Teams In Pointless Meeting

The FIA and Formula One Teams made no agreement in today’s emergency meeting held at Heathrow in London.

The manufacturers in F1 want a block on the budget cap rule which is coming in next season, Max Mosley thinks they’re stupid so all the manufacturers have threatened to pull out.

“It was quite a friendly meeting, but in the end all that happened was that the teams have gone off to see if they can come up with something better than the cost cap,” Max Mosley told reporters after the Heathrow meeting.

“We explained we cannot put back the entry date, as this has all been published, and we cannot disadvantage the potential new teams who will come in. But we are prepared to listen to whatever they have to say.

“In the meantime, the regulations are as published. We have explained that we want everyone to race under the same regulations. We have explained that we would like all of the teams to come in under the cost cap and that is what they have gone off to consider.

“We have said that we cannot see why anyone wouldn’t want to operate under the cost cap, and it would mean a gradual relaxation of the technical regulations – which all the engineers would want. We said in the end the choice was between intellectual freedom and financial constraint, or intellectual constraint and financial freedom – which is what they have had up until now.

“We have pointed out, and it is something the engineers have said, that current F1 consists of endless refinement at enormous expense and we want to move away from that and have invention and creativity, but we can only do that if we restrict the cost – because if we have unrestricted cost nobody would be able to afford it.

“I think some of the teams agree with that idea, and some don’t, and they have gone away to discuss it.”

Meanwhile, it was discovered during the meeting that Ferrari have taken the new rules to a French court claiming that it is a breach of the technical regulation veto they have.

“During the meeting it became apparent that Ferrari has made an application to the French courts, and I don’t know the details, but it is to apply for an injunction to stop us doing what we want to do.  So that is where the situation rests as far as Ferrari is concerned.”

FIA Sneak Winner Takes All Rule Through For 2010

When the FIA brought out the official rule book for 2010, the headline grabbers were the budget caps, the theory from teams it would create a two tier series and the ban on refuelling during the race.

But many of us have missed one of the biggest rule changes, one which the FIA conveniently decided NOT to highlight in the packs.

The FIA have revived the idea that whoever wins the most races wins the title.  Irrespective of overall points. “Article 6 states that the drivers’ title ‘will be awarded to the driver who has been classified first in the greatest number of races”

Another thing that lacked discussion until now was what will happen with Q3, where the cars used to have to pick a strategy for the race and run with race fuel.  The FIA confirmed it will be a low-fuel dash for pole system.

Talk about underhand from the FIA though…