New front wing tests and DRS rules tweak for 2013

2013 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed a series of changes to the F1 rules for the 2013 season.

Teams will face stiffer front wing deflection tests in 2013 in a bid to prevent the use of wings which are designed to flex at speed.

The use of DRS will be restricted to the designated DRS zones at all times in practice and qualifying as well as during the race. Previously drivers had free use of DRS during practice and qualifying.

Following two incidents in 2012 where teams claimed their cars were stopped on track after qualifying for reasons of “force majeure”, the FIA has now ruled that teams cannot use it as an explanation for why they stopped. The FIA added they “will determine how much fuel the car would have used to get back to the pits and add it to the one litre sample minimum”.

The FIA-imposed curfew on teams’ activities during race weekends will be increased from six hours to eight on Thursdays. The maximum number of times a team may break the curfew has been cut from four to two.

The minimum weight for cars will be increased for 2013 as the weight of the tyres supplied by Pirelli will also increase.

The FIA will also impose “minor” changes to the front roll structure design and the previously-introduced increased static load test will be applied to all chassis.

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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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49 comments on “New front wing tests and DRS rules tweak for 2013”

  1. I jus hope all these rule changes would some how enable mercedes to give a fighting car to hamilton . Don ask me how !

  2. I hope that makes things clearer.

  3. How interesting. If a car has an engine blowup on his inlap from his last Q3 lap – is that not a legitimate force majeure?

    1. Yes but like it says in the article, they’ll calculate the amount of fuel the car would have needed to complete the in-lap and if the car has that minimum amount of fuel, no sanctions will be performed. Other than the 10-place grid penalty for engine change, that is.

      1. They don’t get a penalty for an engine change unless they go past the season’s allocation, if I remember correctly.

    2. It’s a good reason for not getting back to the pits.

      But it’s not a good reason for lacking enough fuel for the sample.

      This is aimed solely at teams under filling cars.

    3. @mike From Keith’s wording:

      Following two incidents in 2012 where teams claimed their cars were stopped on track after qualifying for reasons of “force majeure”, the FIA has now ruled that teams cannot use it as an explanation for why they stopped.

      it’s almost like “teams cannot use [force majeure] as a reason why they stopped” – as opposed to fuel.

  4. some sense finally for DRS usage

  5. DRS in Practice and Qualy; does the driver have to be behind another car to activate it or can they do it freely in the designated zone?

    1. No, they can use it as they want in DRS zone.

    2. No, they have free use. Personally I think this rule change is completely unnecessary as it posed no major safety risk: the driver chooses when to activate DRS so if he deploys it too early then that is driver error.

      This just reinforces my distaste of DRS and I think eliminates an element of driver skill in qualifying – whoever dares to deploy it earliest will gain the most time.

      1. Sorry, my first sentence sounded contradictory to the fuel change, it is as @armchairexpert has said @pjtierney .

      2. I don’t mind it. For setting up the car it seems better to have them focus on one target instead of a compromise between qualifying-DRS and race-DRS. The qualifying position with unlimited DRS in theory is a distortion of that car’s actual race pace.

        Anyway, trying to maximize the use of DRS is tough for a driver, but I’m not sure flapping the wing open is a skill we need to see. They already have KERS to deal with. There is plenty of room for skill without triggering the flap on every possible section.

        1. @tigen

          Trying to maximise the use of DRS is tough for a driver

          Good! That’s all the better as far as I’m concerned.

          I’m not sure flapping the wing open is a skill we need to see

          Exactly, which is precisely why it should just be rid of altogether.

    3. I understand they can do so freely, each lap during practice and qualy

  6. While I understand the regulations has to decrease downforce levels else braking zones would disappear and shorten, overtaking would be more difficult and racing would be more dangerous, but I can’t help but want to see an F1 car without technical limitations left over from all these decades.

    I know Red Bull made the X2010, but even since then technology advanced considerably with flexi wings, hot-blowing diffusers, various drag reduction devices (F-duct, DRS, double DRS for the rear and the front wings, DRD) and more sophisticated aero elements.

    1. The X2010 version 2 wouldn’t feature many of those features, just because they only work within F1’s existing framework.

    2. @atticus-2 I think most of those features would only apply to the current generation of F1 cars as @mike says. The X2010 was designed around the ground effects concept – fan car to be specific – so to decrease downforce you’d merely turn the fan off. The front and rear wings don’t have much effect on overal downforce when ground effects are in use; precisely why the old 80’s cars used to run frequently without front wings – it was just unnecessary drag!

      1. Yeah, you might be right.

        1. Not to say that it may benefit from other flexing elements though, such as the bodywork that covers the wheels for example.

  7. Love the DRS rule tweak. It’ll make race and quali pace MUCH easier to observe as the two will be more closely correlated.

    1. I think it’s a bad idea; in quali, it was exciting to see when a driver opened his DRs flap and then he got that snap of oversteer; it was excellent to watch.
      I think either give them free use in quali and practice, or just use it for the race.

      1. I agree with @xjr15jaaag , free DRS use in quali was one of the few things I liked about it. Now that has been made redundant I’d rather we get rid of it and continue with the rule changes in 2014 aimed at reducing downforce: I’d quite like to see a major rule change!

        1. One major rule change to Newey them all? :P

  8. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    5th December 2012, 16:09

    heavier tyres? I hope the teams make sure the wire or safety system that attaches them to the car gets stronger as well… we ‘ve seen some accidents when the tyre got off completely. The thing drivers and spectators need the least is a bouncing cannonball going at 120kph, I hope the fatal accident suffered by Surtees Jr left this lesson for some good safety improvements

    1. Yeah, I found it very strange too. Why would they make the tyres heavier?

      1. The tyres are heavier because of their construction. To make the contact patch wider the construction underneath had to be reinforced so it stays more flat instead of bulbous in profile.

  9. What about the stepped noses, I’ve been heard they would disappear.

    No rule for that? Just a design tweak?

    1. @jayfreese

      They’ve already announced how they’re going to address the stepped noses next year, see earlier article:

      Stepped noses and Double DRS to go in 2013

      1. @keithcollantine
        ty for that speedy answers!
        so in the end, they’ll disguise ’em

      2. @keithcollantine A couple of corrections:the 8 hour curfew is for Thursday night only and the static load test has not been increased but the “higher static load test” is now applied to all chassis instead of just one.

        1. Thanks I’ve changed the text to make those points clearer.

  10. Teams will face stiffer front wing deflection tests in 2013 in a bid to prevent the use of wings which are designed to flex at speed

    I think that they should substitue Teams by Red Bull so the rule will be
    Red Bull Racing will face stiffer front wing deflection tests in 2013 in a bid to prevent the use of wings which are designed to flex at speed
    They are far ahead in exploiting the technology of Carbon Fiber Composites i have a feeling that they will find something beyond the rule and the FIA will introduce a much tougher test in 2014

    1. These new rules aren’t even aimed at the Red Bulll design – it’s the McLaren front wing (which rotates) which prompted the additional test with the weights attached in a different position.

    2. @tifoso1989 – so what you are suggesting is having different rules for everyone then? That would completely irradiate the FIA’s impartiality and send the sport into a farce. And anyway, as @ilanin said this rule is as much aimed at McLaren as Red Bull.

      1. you missed the point another time what i mean’t is that this rule was made by the FIA to reduce the advantage of Red Bull in that area

        1. @tifoso1989 – ah, I apologise, it wasn’t particularly clear that was the meaning of the comment! I’m not sure it’s so much to do with materioa sciences more the way the aerodynamic load is applied at high speed. It is after all a static load test with weights simply applied to the wing, so at high speed aerodynamic characteristics could lead to an effective weight greater than that of the load test.

        2. To be honest, I dont see it as a lost for RBR. Still plenty of time from now until 2013 first race, if Flex FW were allowed next year, other teams would do the something similar to RBR and the advantage among them in this area became almost zero.

  11. I wish they would just let the teams have more freedom. As long as the car stays on the track and the brakes work, who cares how much the front wing flexes. I just want to speed and driver ability come through.

    1. @irejag – I agree, I’d also like to see more technical freedom (all the cars are far too similar these days) and a reduction in costs to allow the designer’s skills and ingenuity to actually show through. The only problem is if it isn’t properly regulated then we may end up with the ridiculously high (not to mention extremely dangerous) cornering speeds of the 1980’s ground effect cars.

      1. I understand why the FIA are increasing the tests as some teams are trying to evade the purpose of the rule whilst meeting the letter of the rule.

        The unfortunate thing is that some of the work that these teams are doing are pretty cutting edge in terms of computer simulation. There’s an interesting article here which was written last year when the flexi-wing issue was in the F1 news a bit more. It’s about how Red Bull are using software which combines the results of their CFD (aerodynamic) and their FEA (structural) studies to design parts with aeroelasticity. It’s a little technical if you haven’t had any exposure to some of the methods being used although the author does a pretty good job explaining it.

  12. If Gary Anderson was right about Ferrari’s rear-end instability when closing the DRS, there will some clinking of glasses in Maranello tonight. Perhaps, for the first time in two years, we might see a Ferrari again that’s also competitive in qualifying, and as a result Fernando’s title chances just received a boost.

  13. Tires and wheels are not tethered.
    It is the steering and drive spindles that are tethered.
    If you don’t believe that then you need to explain how you plan on tethering a rotating object to a fixed surface.

  14. The FIA page, linked above, says :

    “For safety reasons, use of the DRS during practice will now only be allowed in the place(s) it will be used on the track in the race.”

    No specific mention of Qualifying – does that mean that DRS will be free to use then?

    1. @philcooling No – qualifying is defined as a practice session in the rules.

  15. I’ve read somewhere that in 2013 the F1 front wings will be narrower of 15 cm on both sides to reduce the eventual loss of debris because of these huge wings. Can someone explain me this, I can’t find any confirmation to it.

  16. Wasn’t expecting it regarding the curfew but I hardly remember anyone taking advantage of it to be honest. Seems like a good idea.

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