Five-race gearboxes among other rules changes

2011 F1 season

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Gearboxes will last five races in 2011

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council has agreed other changes to the F1 rules for 2011 and 2012.

Among the changes for next year is the requirement for gearboxes to last five races rather than four, With 20 races on the calendar next year that means a teams could complete a season using four gearboxes.

As announced in June, driver-adjustable rear wings will be introduced next year.

Tests for bodywork deflection – an area of much dispute in 2010 – will be revised and cockpits will be strengthened to reduce the chance of components puncturing them and injuring the driver.

The FIA has also promised changes to the rules on “driving and driver conduct”. There will be revisions to the list of penalties available to stewards including penalties for drivers who do not use both types of tyre compound during the race.

The race director will be able to close the pit lane “for safety reasons” and the width of the fast lane in the pits will be limited. The FIA will clarify when cars may overtake the safety car, following the contentious circumstances in this year’s European Grand Prix.

Shallow-groove wet weather tyres will be officially referred to as “intermediate” tyres in the rules.

For 2012 the FIA say that “team communications will be made available to broadcasters”.

Biomass will be introduced into fuel compounds and a new limit on suspension compounds will be added.

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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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    48 comments on “Five-race gearboxes among other rules changes”

    1. I’m disappointed they didn’t decide to close the pitlane during safety cars.

      Not only is it unfair and makes it a lottery (see Valencia), it is unsafe, as it gives an incentive for cars to go as fast as possible when the safety car comes out.

      Now that there’s no chance that the cars can run out of fuel, there is no reason the rule couldn’t be re-introduced.

      1. Sure there is – tyres. The cars still have a consumable, even though it’s not fuel. Closing the pitlane is unfair because it screws strategy. Leaving it open is a lottery, and probably worse overall, but it’s still lose/lose really.

        1. I think a driver can manage to save his tyres for the 5 laps the SC is in and pit immediately after. Without the SC he would have pitted earlier bu the SC is like a pause in the race, when drivers shouldn’t take advantages.

      2. I think it is fine that the pitlane is open when the safety car is in, considering that the speed limit and all. Just give bigger penalties to teams who dont hold their drivers back, or screw a wheel on wrong. There is still the minimum lap time under safety car to take in to consideration, and this means that the they wont go as fast as possible.

      3. Another alternative is closing the pitlane until the safety car has passed the pit entrance for the first time. Though I can still see a bit of chaos on the release back to the track.

      4. It would be easy enough to close the pit lane when the SC is deployed, and then re-open it once the SC has caught up the pack…

        What I think is more important is that they need to allow lapped cars to unlap themselves, meaning that we don’t have restarts where there are lapped cars between cars racing.

    2. They should have a rule of keeping the pit lane closed when the safety car is out on track & only cars will be allowed to enter the pit lane but they won’t be able to change tyre but top repair damage.

    3. With broadcasters geining access to the team radios, does that mean we could have live feeds like we do for other motorsports?

      1. Hope we do as that are always late in giving us that.

      2. That would be very nice indeed. Let us hope so.

    4. So Intermediates were not officially “Intermediates” in the rules last year?

      1. From Keith’s wording in the article I assume they were called “shallow-groove wet weather tyres.”

      2. no, they were “wets” and “extreme wets” – the trouble was no one called them that.

    5. Movable rear wings only deployed when within 1 second of the car in front.

      What an absolute joke. Manufacturing overtaking. Nothing is real in this cruddy world anymore.

      I’m ranting again, apologies.

      1. Couldn’t agree more John, while everyone is in a furor over the removal of the Team Orders ban, this is the rule change that will turn F1 into “Pro Wrestling” fake show. An adjustable rear wing that can only be used by the attacking driver and not by the defender is a joke. Welcome to Mario Karts!

        1. Well done FIA, just replace Formula 1 with Formula Joke and everything will be fine. Just give the driver who isn’t good enough to be ahead an advantage so it’s better to be 2nd 1sec behind on the final lap than leading, we won’t care the slightest, we don’t want to see F1 as a sport anymore where it’s better to be best than second best, do we???????????

          1. I don’t see what everybodies getting upset about. Whilst it is artificial it will NOT give the chaser and advantage over the leader. It will only partially overcome the problem of following another car.

            I’m not in support of the rule, but I don’t think its the terrible thing that you guys are all making it out to be

        2. People who remember the hateful Hanford Device in CART, a giant wedge stuck on the rear wing designed to create frenzied passing on ovals, know how lame “more passing” became when it was clear how artificial and competitively meaningless it was. CART got rid of it that terrible thing, and the very dangerous arcade game style racing it fostered, within 3 years. I hope this inanity goes away even faster.

        3. nightmare and amateurish attempt to improve the show broken primarily by wrong design of Tilke tracks.
          Did someone make real life testing or is it directly from someone’s imagination?

          It’s too much distracting from driving, drivers will hate it. And there are safety issues too.
          This is going to be a huge fail. I hope.

          1. I completely agree, As I think 90% of F1 fanatics would now as well.
            But will we all think the same way about it this time next year?
            Because inevitably, this is likely to work.

            This is the pity in taking a “cheap” approach like this, Because inevitably it will gain support in time, and stay because of it.
            Which is sad, because the issue is that aerodynamics are simply too effective, If F1 wants to stay at the forefront of a design and engineering challenge, It must create opportunities for the designers to explore, not just create another template for designers to try and follow in the best way, that’s not in the spirit of Engineering in Formula one.

      2. This will really hurt the guys who are good overtakers, like Kobayashi and Hamilton. Whereas before they had a little extra skill in getting by a guy a lap or two earlier (or even at all), now every driver will be able to sail past any roadblock. I bet Vettel will be pleased, Alonso too, now he doesn’t have to be stuck behind Petrov for 30 laps per race, as in Turkey and Abu Dhabi.

        1. Another “idea” after wide tarmac runoffs to promote average drivers and make F1 even more amateurish.

        2. alonso is hardly a bad overtaker? did you see brazil lol?

          and lewis was stuck behind a renault in exactly the same way in a much much faster mclaren.

          alonso and lewis have proven their racing craft time and time again.

          vettel on the other hand is a bit iffy

    6. 5-race gearboxes? Can they take that strain? It’ll be interesting, but I hope that relability does not decide the title.

      1. They will have to make them strong enough which will compromise weight.

    7. Shallow-groove wet weather tyres will be officially referred to as “intermediate” tyres in the rules.

      Maybe I’m a little slow here but haven’t intermediate tyres always been referred to as, eh, intermediates..??

      1. I think they were referred to as wets and extreme wets, rather than inters and extreme wets.

      2. They have already been referred to as intermediates in the 2010 regs:

        From the F1 Sporting Regulations 23 June 2010

        25.1 Supply of tyres :
        A single tyre manufacturer has been chosen by the FIA for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons following an invitation for tenders to supply tyres to all the cars entered in Championship Events for the duration of these seasons. A single tyre manufacturer will be chosen by the FIA for subsequent seasons following an invitation for tenders to supply tyres to all the cars entered in Championship Events for the duration of such
        subsequent seasons.
        The appointed tyre supplier must undertake to provide :
        – two specifications of dry-weather tyre at each Event, each of which must be of one homogenous compound and visibly distinguishable from one another when a car is on the track ;
        – one specification of intermediate tyre at each Event which must be of one homogenous compound ;
        – one specification of wet-weather tyre at each Event which must be of one homogenous compound.

      3. I thought it was a bit of a strange one really. It’s only small news anyway. 1.6L 4 cylinder engines? 4 per season!

        F1 could end up being about reliability rather than out and out speed. We shall see. It might be brilliant!

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          10th December 2010, 20:20

          2013. F1 Champion car is a Volkswagen Golf.

          1. I’d give them a run for their money in my little Mazda! :D

            4 cylinders….

            Hmm, I will just have to wait to be convinced.

            I keep imagining they’ll sound like hairdryers on wheels.

            1. I think the BMW turbo that was used in the eighties was a 4-cyclinder 1.5l and that produced over 1000hp. size isn’t everything….

            2. Yes the Turbos were only 1.5 lt 4 cylinder producing +1000BHP in qualifying and not much less in the race, but they often melted. They were only good for one race at best. The new turbos will have to be much stronger if the are to last 3 or 4 races. I expect a lot of failures in the first year, particularly in these very hot races. They will be producing upwards of 750Bhp and 825BHP with Kers active!!

          2. But ferrari come in a close second after entering the little Fiat 500 abarth!

    8. Movable wings are a joke. Al we will be seeing is a game of ‘leapfrog’: you pass me this lap and I’ll pass you back next lap. If they really wanted to make it possible to pass, they’d do away with wings completely.

    9. While I dont particularly enjoy the moveable rear wind idea either, I disagree that getting rid of wings altogether is the solution.

      I listened to an interview with James Allison at Renault, who explain that when the Overtaking Working Group studied the wake behind F1 cars, they found that downforce generated by the bodywork and diffuser had a negative effect on the driver behind, but downforce generated by wings generally did not.

      Further, it is important for an F1 car to be the fastest thing around any given track – its part of what makes F1 special. Clawing back too much downforce could leave F1 cars slower than other classes of racing.

      Personally, I wish there could be more technical freedom in F1 in general. Let the engineers really dream and see what they come up with.

      1. I’ve heard differently, that if rear wings were removed and rear downforce came solely from the diffuser, the wake situation would be improved.

        What actually needs to be done is to severely simplify and restrict the development of front wings. Today’s front wings are responsible for 75% of the cars’ aerodynamic performance (in terms of how much it produces plus how much the other components depend on it to work at maximum efficiency). With simple front wings we could even have the old low rear wings back and the cars can go back to looking like the things of beauty they did in the later 80’s and early 90’s.

    10. Biomass will be introduced into fuel compounds

      Sounds a bit disgusting in my opinion.

      1. How so? Considering that biofuels are being heavily looked at by a variety of industries (aviation in particular), why not add a developing technology into F1.

        As far as I know, any serious discussion has yet to select a biomass base. I still think algae is the best choice but testing is still under way. If I recall, the most difficult challenge was turning the biomass into fuel. I speculate most efficient process wins instead of most CO2 friendly.

        1. The way we produce biomass is even worse for the environment than using fossil fuel.

          1. Shouldn’t some of it is a function of the feedstock? But as for being worse for the environment, it depends on what ways you consider.

            For fossil fuels, we have to get the oil out from the ground somewhere, move it to the refineries, and move it for distribution. That produces CO2 and other emissions and perhaps some other chemical waste in the refining process.

            I think there should be chemical waste in the feedstock to fuel phase but I don’t know how much variation there is for feedstocks. The perk though is that you could produce the fuel locally (or at least reasonably so). Does it lessen the impact? I feel like it should given a proper feedstock selection but I don’t know by how much.

    11. US Williams Fan
      11th December 2010, 0:49

      The movable rear wing could also have a positive impact….. on drivers who very skilled “defensively” – could it not?

      Perhaps we will be watching a race less for daring passes by Kobayashi, Hamilton, and Kubica and more for a driver being skilled a holding off an opponent trying to pass.

      I still think that the movable rear wing adds an artificial element to racing that Formula One does not need – but it could make for some interesting battles on the track…….

      1. Wing-mounted machine guns would spice up the show, too. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    12. When does the bio mass fuel start? That’s great for the engineers. A new engine package to develop, along with a totally new type of fuel. I realize that F1 is not NASCAR, not by a long shot, but when they were made to run their new fuel it took some teams a while to cope with the changes. Quite a few engine failures. It won’t cost the team any more in the budget to develop more new components. What a joke.

      One of the things that always made F1 intriguing to me was the sound of the engines. Hopefully they dont sound like a bunch a import cars with fart pipes.

    13. Are the movable wings able to be used on the first lap? Cause if so, pole position will be completely useless…

    14. I don’t like making overtaking easier, it should be a challenge and something skilful drivers can excel in. Yes, improve the track layout to make races like Abu Dhabi more exciting but don’t mess with the rear wings.
      Scoring goals in top line football is difficult and doesn’t happen that often in a game if at all but the FA doesn’t make the goals bigger to make for higher scoring games.

    15. Actually the size of the goals were actually made bigger a few years ago so that more goals would be scored per game……


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