News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Formula 1 Rule Changes

At a meeting of the F1 Commission recently a number of technical and sporting rule changes were put forward and agreed.

First of is the proposal for yet another qualifying system. This one splits qualifying into three parts. This first two parts being two 15 minute sessions where the slowest five cars will be eliminated in each session. A total of 10 cars will therefore be eliminated from proceedings before a final part which is a 20 minute session where the remaining cars will fight for pole position.

According to this article on GrandPrix.com, as a result of this proposed qualifying session, tyres are no longer restricted to one set for the weekend. However a total of 28 identical tyres (7 sets?) will be allowed per driver per weekend. In addition, tyre changes will be allowed during the race.

Personally I've always preferred a single session where everyone just went for it running on vapour. There was a complaint from the smaller teams notably Jordan that a free sessions would lose them the exposure (air-time) from single lap qualy. However, I do confess to not watch the early part of qualifying because I know its full of slow runners. A lot of folks I know do the same. In fact, if it were a free session, I'd be more inclined to be glued to the telly because you never know when the leaders will be out. This means that I was more likely to watch a Minardi run in previous years than I do during single lap qualifying.

There are merits to this new system. You'll see the leaders in action throughout the session and thats a good thing. There will be battles all the way through the entire session and the brilliant thing is it'll be done on vapour and we'll really see the ultimate pace of the cars and drivers during qualifying as opposed to free practise that we don't get to watch anyway.

I somehow do not think this new system will be too confusing to viewers. Its a knock out system plain and simple. Some are worried about the casual viewer but if they're really interested they'd catch on quite quickly. Otherwise they aren't real motor racing fans and I think I've seen enough of racing diluted and corrupted to meet the expectations of those who have no real interest in this sport.

As for the revised tyre regulations, apparently many of the teams were against it. No prizes for guessing that it was probably the Michelin teams who disagreed. Arguably they're losing a huge advantage but I would agree that its going to raise costs once more.

The most radical of changes proposed by the FIA and one which everyone is talking about is this new Centreline Downwash Generating (CDG) wing. You can view the FIA press release here. The CDG wing is best explained visually as per these images.

My first reaction is that they'll lose a huge rear wing to fix sponsorships on to. But on the other hand I guess the marketing folks would probably charge more per square inch for each of the two wings behind the rear wheels.

Second, the rear profile of the car reminds me of old Can Am sports cars. However, the diagram doesn't seem to show any rear diffuser. Does this mean that they will be banned? I hope not. The aero profile in the diagram does suggest that cars following immediately behind will still feel turbulence but they'd have to be absolutely bumper to bumper. A car behind following a little further back will still have plenty of fresh air for their front wings to work.

It seems like a good idea and it would be interesting to see how it works in practise. I'd like to know what the aero profile would be when going through a long fast corner as opposed to merely going in a straight line. I'm hoping it will work out so that we get more 2005 vintage Suzuka races.

Back to tyres, the FIA will be reintroducing wider, fully slick tyres in the future. Finally, they've come to their bloody senses. This should make cars quicker in the turns but the increased drag should slow the cars on the straights. Of course the FIA are adamant that these new tyres will be supplied by a single official supplier. So there will be some cost control there as the FIA will be in a position to dictate compounds and construction.

All in all, some radical but on the face of it, good ideas. We'll probably be seeing them introduced around 2007. However, I would have liked to see the two race engine rule thrown out. And I would have liked to see Max Mosley get a vote of no confidence and thrown out in the forthcoming elections as well. But we can't have everything can we?

1 comment:

cccp said...

i don't get the max issues. if everyone hates him so much, why is he getting another four years as president? nobody seems to want to object to it. the way i see it, it's just such a tough scapegoat-like position, nobody has the balls (or is stupid enough) to take the position. so what's this max issue they have? i'm quite confused.