The F1 Commission met on Thursday 17th October in Munich to go over a host of suggestions made by the Formula One Strategy Group for F1 racing seasons going forward. A few changes made include reductions in the usage of wind tunnels; in-season testing regulations as well as standing re-starts. Stakeholders believe that the idea behind these changes is to save costs as well as enliven the performances for better spectator experience.
A few of the changes
1. Introduction of standing restarts will be present in some scenarios of the F1 races. This follows the introduction of the Safety Car to be present in races, though not all of them. The change passed despite a largely negative response from the drivers, pundit and even fans.
2. In addition, the number of in-session testing has reduced to two from four. Only European Grand Prix venues will be subject to the three tests pre-season.
3. During race weekends, parc ferme conditions will start during Saturday morning’s third Practice session, rather than during the qualifying session in the afternoon.
4. Mechanics’ curfew on Friday nights has seen an extension to seven hours from six in 2015, with another hour’s increase come 2016.
5. There will be further restrictions on the teams’ wind tunnel usage as well as CFD technology. The former will be reduced to 65 hours from 80 hours weekly, even though the new rules allow for two periods of tunnel occupancy on the same day, as opposed to the single one provided by current regulations. Changes will allow teams to nominate a single wind tunnel for every complete F1 season.
6. Every car that has a complete change in the power unit will have to begin the race at the back in the grid, as opposed to the pit lane, which is what current regulations stipulate.
7. Drivers only have freedom to use four engines penalty-free for the campaign period. However, they may get a chance to use five if the 2015 calendar schedules 20 races or more.
Change in the Technical Regulations
Regulations changing the nose design of vehicles are universally welcome, since the new regulations aim at improving the safety and aesthetic appeal of competing vehicles. In order to meet the 2014 low-nose regulations, this year’s cars had to have quite unseemly exteriors.
In addition, the commission approved changes to lighten the skid blocks under the cars, as well as also set mandatory two-stage wheel fastener retaining systems.
The changes, which have in large part been driven by a bid to increase affordability of the F1 race for smaller teams, have still yet to come close to the levels that satisfy the smaller competing teams.
The current practice is for drivers to run at lowered speeds in files behind the Safety Car. Marshals are responsible for clearing the tracks of any incidents. Once the circuit is clear, rolling restarts can take place.
With the new regulations for 2015, drivers will have to realign themselves on the grid for restart following the pattern of a traditional race starting. Rolling starts will only be where there has been use of the Safety Car within two laps of a start or restart or where five laps or less left in the race.
The changes ban pre-season testings outside of Europe. Europe will have 3-4 day tests carried out next season, with a reduction to just two tests in 2016. The in-season schedule, which saw reintroduction this season after six years, will also only be in Europe, where the timing is halved to four days – two two-day testings. Completion of half of the running will be by the younger drivers.
Most importantly, changes in Sporting and Technical Regulations for the 2016 season without unanimity has been changed from June 30th to March 1st.