How new rules will change 2010 F1 cars

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Good news - refuelling is officially banned for 2010

The FIA has announced further details of changes to F1’s technical rules for 2010.

Chief among these is the widely-expected banning of refuelling and tyre warmers. The minimum weight of the cars is also being increased from 605kg to 620kg, and there are revisions to the rules governing KERS.

How are these changes, together with the expected reduction in front tyre size, likely to change the cars of 2010? And will they encourage more drivers to use KERS?

Bigger fuel tanks

The refuelling ban – which I am very happy to see – was originally proposed by the F1 teams’ association but subsequently dismissed by Max Mosley as he felt it would interfere with ‘the show’ too much.

However the F1 teams have now convinced the FIA that a refuelling ban makes sense on cost grounds, as it saves them having to hip refuelling equipment around the world at great expense. To my mind a ban has always made sense in pure sporting terms and I now hope refuelling is gone for good.

The consequences for the cars are clear – they will now require larger fuel tanks to last a full race distance. Tyre wear over a race distance will now be more critical as the cars will be heavier.

(At this point it is often suggested that, as the cars will have to carry more fuel, they will be less safe. Logically that might make sense, but given how infrequently F1 cars catch fire it may make little difference. Indeed the number one cause of F1 car fires – refuelling – will be gone, so I expect it will be beneficial for safety on the whole.)

More on refuelling

KERS and tyre changes

The 15kg minimum weight increase is designed to encourage more drivers to use KERS. Already this year we have seen taller, heavier drivers like Robert Kubica not using KERS because it reduced his ability to position ballast where he most wanted it.

Another change not mentioned in the FIA’s revised rules may aid that cause further. Bridgestone are working on a narrower front tyre, which should address a handling imbalance brought about by the return to slick tyres this year. This may make the cars’ sensitivity to ballast less acute.

Tyre warmers ban

The tyre warmer ban was originally slated for this year, but dropped after Bridgestone felt its present generation of slick tyres could not get up to operating temperature quickly enough without them. Several drivers agreed vociferously.

Presumably these concerns have now been addressed – if not, expect a disgruntled GPDA to make its feelings known in due course. Few other top-line single seater series continue to allow drivers to have their tyres pre-heated, so if F1 drivers can be given rubber that is up to the job there is no reason why the same should not apply to them.

With more fuel to carry, increased weight and narrower front tyres, designers may struggle to make next year’s cars much quicker than this year’s. But as the diffuser row proved, we should never underestimate their inventiveness.

More on tyre warmers

Other changes in the 2010 technical rules

  • Changes to bodywork dimensions to prevent tyre damage to other cars
  • More technical freedoms for teams who agree to abide by the budget cap including greater adjust-ability of the front wing, an adjustable rear wing element, doubling of maximum KERS power output and relaxation of the rules limiting engines to a maximum of 18,000rpm and two driven wheels (see here for more: FIA aims to get all teams to cap budgets using one-sided regulations)
  • KERS may not be used above 300kph (186mph)
  • Restrictions on where KERS batteries may be positioned
  • Drivers may use a special valve to reduce rear brake pressure when KERS is operated

You can find the new technical regulations for 2010 on the FIA website: 2010 F1 Sporting Regulations – published on 30.04.2009 showing alterations

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “How new rules will change 2010 F1 cars”

  1. I think next season will be very interesting to watch develop, whether thats for good or bad reasons remains to be seen, but like usual the promise is good, so hopefully it will deliver.

  2. Hopefully whatever technical freedoms are allowed under the budget cap will not serve to undo the improvements made by the Overtaking Working Group. Ideally all teams will go for the budget cap or all will choose not to go for it. Whatever the outcome my preference is to avoid a two-tier formula.

  3. HounslowBusGarage
    30th April 2009, 19:51

    Changes to bodywork dimensions to prevent tyre damage to other cars

    Does that mean narrower front wings?

    1. Macademianut
      30th April 2009, 20:50

      Currently, the wider front wings are vulnerable as they don’t seem to be causing tire damage to others. Particularly in the first corner after start, there’s a good chance of front wings getting knocked down. I think the front wings are too wide for this year. I would be glad to see it reduced.

    2. i hope so! :) i just can’t stand to see how the wide front wing works in Monaco. i think ste. devote will be like full of broken front wings.

  4. I could hard remember races without refuelling. I only have some memories they were so exciting. The drivers that stress tyres too much at the beginning of the race paid at the end, and impressing recover were always behind the door.

    I think it is a good idea.

    On the other rules I’m quite reluctant. To me it doesn’t make sense to have so many race rules…racing is racing, nothing more.

  5. i know that we are in a position were money is tite and that we need to cut down on CO2 emissions, but i feel that it has got the stage where F1 is moving away from what it used to be which was just racing. All these bans and restrictions although are there to help the sport, but i think that it should go back to the way it used to be were it was just about racing.

  6. “relaxtion of the rules … two driven wheels (see later article for more)”
    I missed that in the F1 Sporting Reg’s when I read it. But wow. Old school six wheelers back, eh ?

    1. I don’t think they’d allow six-wheelers, but four-wheel-drive is back on the cards.

      However I doubt anyone would actually go for it – think of the packaging and weight problems caused by the extra driveshaft, for little real gain.

    2. 4 wheel drive would dominate monte carlo

  7. Maurice Henry
    30th April 2009, 20:15

    I noted that the qualifying procedure is the same as 2009. No mention of fuel levels in Q3, so it looks like low fuel balls to the wall quali laps are back!

  8. Maurice Henry
    30th April 2009, 20:29

    Art. 25.4(d) Drivers must use at least one set of each compound of dry tyres provided.

  9. Normally I read stuff on this blog and agree with it. But I’m completely baffled by the opinion that refuelling will make races better. As I see it, without refuelling, the quickest cars start at the front, the slowest at the back, therefore the gaps between the cars just slowly increase during the race with no overtaking whatsover as you’d always have to overtake a faster car. Surely that’s a rubbish idea?

    Refuelling means we have faster cars on different strategies forced into early overtaking manoevers – look at Button on Vettel at the start of Bahrain, for instance.

    I just can’t see how this is more exciting for the sport. We want overtaking and this will discourage that.

    1. without refuelling, the quickest cars start at the front, the slowest at the back,

      That’s not necessarily the case – with low-fuel qualifying you’re more likely to see a driver drag a poor car into a strong qualifiyng position which he then has to defend on race day.

      Then you have the ever-present problem of drivers ‘waiting for the fuel stops’ to do their passing on race day, instead of doing it on the track.

      the gaps between the cars just slowly increase during the race with no overtaking whatsover as you’d always have to overtake a faster car.

      Again, not necessarily. Banning refuelling also adds an extra dimension to the challenge of a Grand Prix. At the moment the drivers have to get the best out of the cars within a narrow weight range – say 605-650kg on race day. Next year they’ll be looking at more like 620-730+kg. Some will get their car working better on heavy fuel, others on light fuel, and we’ll see more variation there.

      Jerez ’86, Dijon ’79, Mexico ’90, all memorable down-to-the-write races in non-refuelling seasons – encounters that arguably couldn’t have happened under modern refuelling rules.

      Refuelling brings in so much unnecessary complexity, artificiality and potential for things to go wrong. In getting rid of it they’ve been able to strike paragraph after paragraph of complicated rules out of the sporting regulations. And we’ll be able to have proper qualifying again.

      It’s win-win-win-win as far as I’m concerned.

  10. It’s starting to get to be a little too much to keep up with… even for avid fans like me. Nevermind when I try to explain it to friends who aren’t familiar with F1, it’s baffling!

  11. I agree simonrs. I cant believe they are even thinking about it, it just baffles me. On some tracks where its difficult to overtake the pit strategy is the most exiting part of the race. I think they got it right for this season, i dont know why they want to continue messing witht things…

    1. Can I ask, did you watch F1 pre-1994?

  12. Presumably these concerns have now been addressed – if not, expect a disgruntled GPDA to make its feelings known in due course

    I think it was Coulthard that objected and he no longer has a drive. So there’s one less unhappy driver.
    If we add in another 6 drivers for the new teams, are they really going to rock the boat when they first enter F1?

  13. I still can’t understand why so many people like the refuelling element so much… drivers driving around nose to tail (like Bahrain’s Trulli train) and waiting for the bloke in front to pull in to the pits, then setting a couple of banzai laps, pitting, and coming out in front. Where is the fun in that? I just cannot see ANY fun in that whatsoever. I want to see that car behind haul himself up and squirm past that car in front, on the track, wheel to wheel.

    I hate all this pit-stop strategy crap and can’t wait to see it get tossed in the bin.

    1. amen to that

  14. Terry Fabulous
    30th April 2009, 23:39

    Another thing we can see again is the warm up lap being an actual warm up lap!

    Today the drivers fang around the track as quick as possible to get heat in the tyres. Next year, they will be back to weaving all over the track trying to heat up their tyres.

    Which is a terrific scene…

    Also, can’t wait to see them steam into 1st Corner Albert Park with cold tyres, cold brakes and a heavy car fat with fuel no launch control, no traction control.

    It will be almost like F1 again!!!

  15. Fer no.65
    1st May 2009, 1:02

    teams can still pit for tyres, right?…

    i doubt tey will go back to the kind of tyres used in 2005. They degradated too much quickly and if i remember well, they changed that “only 1 set at race” because it was not safe enought…

    i think pit stops will still be there, so i don’t think it’s going to make such a big difference…

    i mean, they will all use the same fuel load, which is really good… But they will pit for tyres, making races dependant of strategies… pretty much like today…

    1. This will bring back the real drivers and result in epic battles ala Senna/Prost/Mansell/Piquet Sr.

      It will require recalibration by the people brought up in the Schumacher era/optimized video game generation.

      No more races decided by in/out laps and team fuel strategies. Drivers will be more responsible to bring the car home in the shortest amount of time overall. We will finally see skill determine race outcomes.

    2. Sort of. Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost, Leo Mansell, Nico Rosberg and Nelson Piquet jr won’t be quite the same thing…

      I’m glad it’s more than just “bring back the early 90s” though – they’ve kept innovations like using both types of tyre – sadly that means compulsory pit stops, so no non-stop victories in a pig of a car like Villeneuve’s one at Jarama.

      I think the race engineers will have more say in strategy than before – “you could be 3 tenths quicker in turn 4” etc – but it’s good news for the pro-active drivers who call the shots: Alonso, Glock etc – not you Lewis!

    3. Nobody says anything about the sons replacing their fathers :)

      About tyres, one big difference is that tyre-management skills are now much more important than before, because you no longer get tyre changes for free when you pit for fuels. So a Hamilton might lose 20 seconds (since no fuel is taken in, the pit stops will be down to the 5-seconds range of the Senna-Prost era) to competitors if he was forced to stop one more time.

  16. Ban all pit stops – and have no overtaking at all

    1. It really, really, really isn’t going to be like that.

  17. Arun Srini
    1st May 2009, 6:11

    4 wheel drive – hmmmm – audi into F1???
    Refuelling ban?? So ferrari is going to concentrate on miles per gallon?????

    1. Interestingly, Top Gear did a supercar fuel-economy test and they did find that the Audi is among the most fuel-efficient (and Ferrari among the worst).

      F1 engines are more-or-less equivalent in fuel consumptions, though.

      What will be interesting is if they also allow rotary and diesel engines. Rotary = more compact but more fuel-guzzling, but mated with a KERS, the smaller amount of space, and the lower amount of vibration, might be useful enough balance-wise.

  18. im not sure how refuelling ban will make races more exciting..for me f1 is not just about drivers rather it is a competetion between brilliant engineers,strategies and ofcourse drivers as well…anyways i wont say it is a bad decision but it has its own pros and cons..lets see

  19. Jonesracing82
    1st May 2009, 8:44

    i fear the narrower tyres will create LESS mechanical grip at the front, wont that hurt overtaking?

    1. no, that will make longer braking areas and improve overtaking — I think ?

    2. It will make the cars more balanced — right now the front has way too much grip relative to the rear, due to the switch from grooved to slick.

  20. The only change I support 100% is the return to proper qualifying.

    I assume the tyre warm up plans have been sorted or we wouldn’t have a ban on tyre warmers. Can anyone tell me when tyre warmers were first used in F1? While tyre warmers may not seem to add much to “the show” I think as F1 is the pinnacle of motor racing it should have things like tyre warmers.

    Regarding the minimum weight increase to try and make KERS more widely used, the lighter drivers will now have even more ballast to play about, so will heavier drivers still be at a disadvantage or will the extra ballast for light drivers not make much difference?

    I am in two minds about the ban on refuelling. I quite liked the strategy element of 1 stop versus 3 stop, but it will force drivers to overtake on track rather than wait for the pit stops. If this was introduced when cars had difficulty following each other and overtaking then I think it would have been a mistake.

    I do think that removing the rule requiring drivers to use both compounds in a race should have been scrapped, and it would have made the ban on refuelling work better also.

    1. Suppose that right now the amount of ballast a light driver can play with is, say, 80 kg, and with KERS it’s 50 kg. A light driver therefore loses 37.5% of ballast with KERS. Suppose a heavier driver weighs 20 kg more, and therefore the KERS loss is now 30 over 60 = 50%. The heavier driver has a 12.5%/37.5% = 33% higher KERS penalty.

      By increasing the minimum weight by 15 kg, the disadvantage is reduced, both for shorter and taller drivers, though the effect will be more marked on taller drivers. Naturally, it’s not eliminated completely.

  21. What I’m looking forward to is the race that the teams will have in changing tyres – astonishing pit stops at only a couple of seconds!

  22. The 4wd thing is interesting. I play around with electric cars and some of the motors we can get are what’s called hub motors. Basically the wheel is attached to the electric motor, and the shaft of the motor is the axle. The shaft stays still while the whole motor, and the wheel, spins around it.

    Use them on your front wheels driving the KERS power through them and you (a) fix the front/rear weight distribution issue and (b) get better regenerative braking as the front wheels drive the generation of electric power. It might increase unsprung weight a little but this is F1, they’ll find a way around it…

    The refuelling ban will be good for F1 and for the world car industry. Engineers that can get the same level of performance from their cars using less fuel (which means lighter cars at the start and smaller tanks) will give their team a massive advantage. Car makers can then take that technology – more performance from less fuel – to road cars.

    F1 2010 should be awesome!

  23. There are too many rules and restrictions now. It’s getting ridiculous.

  24. i’m sorry, i would like to ask a question

    if there is no refueling in 2010, so the car use 1 set of tyre for entire race, or they can change the tyre but without refueling? thanks

    1. They can change tyres, but now the drivers who can better preserve the tyres have an advantage in that they can make less stops — we are going to see much more variation in pit stop strategies.

  25. Mark my words, stopping refueling is a mistake. Either way you think about it the cars need fuel and fuel rigs are need anyway. Not having refueling may bring about some initial excitement but this will soon disappear once the usual boring parades takes effect. Having tyre and fuel stops adds another dimension of uncertainty and strategy more so than just tyre stops. Sometimes its better to just pick the lesser of two eveils…

    1. Thats exactly what I was thinking, they will need the fuel rigs to refuel after practise and qualifying so I don’t see the advantage there really unless they plan to refuel the cars manually using petrol cans.

  26. @Chaz

    The do not need fuel rigs if there is no fueling during the race. Other than pit stops the transfer fuel by pumping in and out of the tank.

    The strategy is simple, pass the car in front until you are the car in front. Maybe you can change tyres and make up the time to pass the car(s) in front, that was and still is strategy.

  27. While this require larger fuel tanks, also consider that the more fuel efficient your car, the smaller your tank can be & the lighter your car will be. Yay fuel efficiency!

  28. holy crap lol theres more rules than i thought. This will be more interesting, hopefully in the near future rule changes in the F1 will die down. I think there are to many regulations being set in one year. It also becoming to strict..

    Quote ” Restrictions on where KERS batteries may be positioned ”

    come on ? THAT IS BECOMING OUT OF HAND, they are already in bad enough positions…why are they restricting it ?

  29. i think the real problem in F1 in venue or circuit. Now almost all circuit is flat on little demanding circuit like Spa (Belgium) or less drama happened.. i often get bored watch raceday.. only cars with big power will win, torque and balance less influence..

    Refeuling will not much contribute cos driver not push their car 120% over the limit in flat circuit..the will play safe to trial n error

    No tire warmer in positive way will reduce cost (but i dont know how much tire warmer take elect), but less budget team that often struggle in cold tire condition will add more trouble n more left behind..n safety issue?oh no, they(driver)will leave the pit in poor grip n big crash will happen cos depending their position or to make is poor in this area

  30. refuelling ban will be a big mistake. stupid idea!

  31. Younger Hamilton
    10th October 2009, 19:13

    it thnk the 2010 f1 cars will be a mixture of the looks of the 2008 and 2009 cars. Combining them together.

  32. With regards to more than 2 wheel drive what about fixing the Kerrs just to the front wheels will help front weight distribution and give better pull up the inclines with better grip on corners

  33. With regards to more than 2 wheel drive what about fixing the Kerrs just to the front wheels will help front weight distribution and give better pull up the inclines with better grip on corners, this must be possible?

  34. “With regards to more than 2 wheel drive what about fixing the Kerrs just to the front wheels will help front weight distribution and give better pull up the inclines with better grip on corners, this must be possible?”

    KERS is KERput. Just forget about it going on…

  35. Look guys, this discussion is academic. With Jean Todt now in charge of the FIA, the rules will be migrated over time to Favour Ferrari and / or Red Bull anyway so it’ll be as boring as the Schumacher years all over again. And on 4wd – remember Fiat has access to Massey Furgerson so Ferrari could have a 4wd drive car already waiting in the … Field.

  36. Current rules do not allow 4wd and I think changing them will be hard based on cost and considerable protests by the majority of the teams.

  37. Instead of thinking about a re-fuling ban I would propose to move these cars to electric motors and really invent some future for cars in general. The technology is there to make them go fast. And we might end up with solid technology for street cars.

  38. I guess refueling ban would make almost all of the teams to run on a similar race strategy, which I think will be a bit sad. Still, I’m looking forward to how the teams will outwit each other now that they’ve sort of leveled the playing field.

    By the way, does anyone have details on 2010’s car design rules? For instance the dimensions and general look?

  39. rtc firestone
    18th November 2009, 7:32

    we first noticed at the temporada in argentina in 1971 that if you left the wheels on the pit lane wall in the sun they got quite close to operating temperature. we then put the tires on jimmy’s car and he said they came in straight away. Racing was a lot more exciting with cold tires, to see 24 cars smoking tires off the line, and less first corner accidents.

  40. Finally catching up on the new rules.

    From a pure physics point of view: no refueling stops means heavier cars, double the KERS output to get up to full speed, decrease the wings to lighten downforce, make the front tires smaller, and remove tire pre-heaters so they are cold going into the first turns. Newton says a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

    Hope the brakes work better than before.

  41. i can see why they have implimented the refueling ban but will make the cars slow and clumbsy also cause of the cars being slowly any race that has more than 1 safty care if more likely not too finnish in the 2 hour time limit for a race the f1 cars in 2009 where slower than in 2004 so with the new fuel tank that ads more too the time for the race longer time too speed up and slow down gonna be interesting too see what happens if an acident happens at the begining of the race say at china when the cars are reaching 150mph into the 1st corner lets hope the fuel tanks are shatter and bullet proof

  42. I’m not sure if budget restrictions is really the reason refueling is banned. I mean, does it really cost that much to operate two refueling rigs?
    And I don’t see how banning refueling will promote overtaking. They’re saying that with refueling allowed drivers would rather overtake in pitstops. Isn’t this all part of the strategy? Are they saying that race strategies are making F1 ‘less entertaining’?
    And I hope they are not planning to cut the number of laps just to make this happen.

    Although, its a bit too late for complaints, the cars are already launched, and the season is less than 2 months. I hope this year’s rules won’t make F1 a big dull boring race…
    Lets hope for a good Formula One season!

  43. …hail F1!!!…keep up the outstanding effort…and PLEASE..DON’t EVER ALLOW NASCAR principles to creep in to our glorious racing heritage…they’ve(NASCAR)wrecked the honor of racing in America…for the sake of sensationalism/marketing/and the almighty $$$$….yes money greases the wheels of it well should..and is needed…but American politics/business/industry have ALL succumed to greed…be careful..keep F1 honorable..because honor left America some time ago…America is now a wasteland..and may never recover..she doesn’t deserve it..she’s been good to us..and we’ve systematically destroyed her..we should be ashamed..yet we choose to have more than we need..and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$…!!!…(and NASCAR)

  44. Probably the best build up to the F1 season in years starring Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Massa and the return of Schumacher(and Senna!) , which to be honest was very, very disappointing due to the rediculous no refuelling rule!

    This will result in no over-taking during the race, apart from the start and during the end where the car becomes lighter.
    If this continues, F1 will lose viewers and will have to be forced to change the rule.

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