Rule changes for the new year

Events in the Grand Prix world this season

Rule changes for the new year

Postby meteorite » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:23 pm

There are a number of quite significant changes to the rules for the coming season. Here we have the announcement from F1 (Bernie's bunch) followed by the ratification rationale published by the FIA, whose approval is mandatory.

FIA ratifies 2012 rule changes 07 Dec 2011
Grid girls and FIA flag. Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 31 July 2011 McLaren MP4/26 diffuser detail. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 9 September 2011 Safety Car leads the field. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 16 October 2011 Pirelli tyre on Ferrari 150 Italia Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 6 May 2011

Following Wednesday’s meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in New Delhi, India, the FIA has confirmed a number of Formula One rule changes for the 2012 season, most of which were already public knowledge.

The FIA is clamping down on engine mapping and exhaust positioning to effectively outlaw blown diffusers. There will be tougher side impact testing and new cars must now pass all crash tests prior to on-track testing.

During races, lapped drivers will be allowed to unlap themselves during a safety-car period, meaning no backmarkers will hinder the leaders at the restart. If in defending his position a driver leaves the racing line, he will not be allowed to retake it, and drivers will not be able to leave the track without good reason, thus banning such strategic moves as cutting chicanes during in-laps to save time and/or fuel.

In a change to the tyre rules, drivers will now be able to use all tyres allocated to them for the Grand Prix weekend on the Friday. They were previously limited to just three sets on the opening day. And on the testing front, there will now be one three-day in-season test in addition to the usual pre-season tests.

The full FIA statement:


Changes to the 2012 Technical Regulations

- All engine standard ECU set up and control parameters, which were formerly contained only within a Technical Directive, are now contained within the relevant parts of the Technical Regulations.
- The exhaust tailpipes are now strictly regulated in order to ensure that the aerodynamic effect exhaust gases have on the car is kept to an absolute minimum.
- Better marking of in-car emergency switches operated by marshals are now stipulated.
- The side impact structures will now have to be subjected to a further (upward) push-off test.

Changes to the 2012 Sporting Regulations

- Cars may no longer take part in pre-season testing without having passed all crash tests.
- There will now be a maximum race time of four hours to ensure that a lengthy suspension of a race does not result in a race that could run up to eight hours if left unregulated.
- Before the safety car returns to the pits all lapped cars will be allowed to unlap themselves and then join the back of the pack, ensuring a clean re-start without slower cars impeding those racing for the leading positions.
- Cars which were in the pit lane when a race is suspended will now be allowed to re-join the cars on the grid in the position they were in when the race was suspended.
- Drivers may no longer leave the track without a justifiable reason, i.e. cutting a chicane on reconnaissance laps or ‘in’ laps to save time and fuel.
- Drivers may no longer move back onto the racing line having moved off it to defend a position.
- One three-day test will be carried out during the season, formerly there were none.
- All stewards’ decisions which are not subject to appeal are now in one place instead of being in various places within the regulations.
- All tyres allocated to a driver may now be used on the first day of practice; formerly only three sets were permitted.

The 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar was confirmed as previously published.
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Re: Rule changes for the new year

Postby meteorite » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:41 pm

Despite the changes, it seems early winter testing of the cars to the new 2012 rules is not evoking any statements of optimism from the teams. All we have going around at the moment are off the record remarks from various factory functionaries, but from what has leaked out so far, Red Bull seems to feel that the forced changes are not imposing the problems the team had been fearing. Ferrari are shaking their heads and suggesting they still have some catching up to do, while McLaren are hoping for a respectable season with perhaps a better showing from Lewis Hamilton as his private distractions get resolved. As far as Mercedes goes, Schumacher seems to feel they aren't there yet, with Force India and Williams still to be heard from.

Renault suffered a devastating blow this week when Robert Kubica, still recovering from his rally accident last winter, slipped on some ice near his Italian home and broke the tibia in his leg, the one broken in the rally crash. There are some very ominous implications in this both for Kubica's career and Renault's strategic plans. It does not bode well.

But until we see the first open tests in Spain, everything is pretty much informed guessing at this point.

Meanwhile, the latest team news is from Williams, where Bruno Senna will replace Reubens Barrichello, with Maldonado keeping the other seat. After 20 years it's likely time Rubino hung up his helmet anyway, or at least moved to a less demanding type of racing, so I think this may generate a sigh of relief from his legion of admirers. Odd man out seems to be no Adrian Sutil, surprising given that he has given Force India some pretty good rides, but younger replacements to tend to turn up with more money...
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