The FIA has updated the sporting regulations for 2015 with a raft of further revisions to the rules for the upcoming season.
Among the alterations to the rules are a provision for teams to use current cars at demonstration runs, new restrictions on teams removing fuel from their cars before the race, and alterations to the Safety Car procedure.
New rules for 2015
Using current cars at demonstration events
Teams will now be able to use their current cars at two demonstration events per year, however they must take place between the final race of the season and the end of the year. That will prevent teams from using their current cars at events which take place during the season, such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed:
At the sole discretion of the FIA, and with the full knowledge of all competitors, each competitor will also be permitted to carry out two Demonstration Events (DE) with the above cars which will not be considered TCC [Testing of Current Cars]. A DE shall be defined as an event in which a competitor participates purely for demonstration purposes and may only be carried between the end of the last Event of the Championship and the end of the calendar year. No such demonstration may exceed 15km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used.
Reconnaissance laps and formation laps
Drivers may now perform reconnaissance laps if they are starting the race from the pit lane:
With the exception of the reconnaissance lap permitted by Article 28.2(b), any driver that is required to start the race from the pit lane may not drive his car from his team’s designated garage area until the 15 minute signal has been given and must stop in a line in the fast lane.
Drivers who drop out of position during the formation lap must regain it before the first Safety Car line, or face a ten-second stop-go time penalty:
A penalty under Article 16.3(d) will be imposed on any driver who fails to enter the pit lane if he has not re-established the original starting order before he reaches the first safety car line.
If a car is released from the pits in an unsafe manner or condition the driver will receive a ten-second stop-go penalty. They will receive a further penalty if the driver keeps going even if he is aware of the unsafe release:
c) If a car is deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition during a race a penalty under Article 16.3(d) will be imposed on the driver concerned.
d) An additional penalty will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the stewards, continues to drive a car knowing it to have been released in an unsafe condition.
If a team changes a part under parc ferme conditions the replacement must now be “similar in design” to the original:
It must be clear that any replacement part a team wishes to fit is similar in design, mass, inertia and function to the original.
During the German Grand Prix weekend last year Lewis Hamilton swapped his brakes under parc ferme conditions and changed from one manufacturer to another.
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Adjusting fuel levels
Teams are now forbidden from taking fuel out of the car on the grid, as well as adding to it:
Fuel may not be added to nor removed from a car after it has left the pit lane to start the first reconnaissance lap permitted under Article 38.1.
Article 29.1 (b)
The rules now state how qualifying will work if there are fewer than 22 cars:
If 24 cars are eligible seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 22 cars are eligible six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.
Safety Car procedure
Drivers who fail to stay above the minimum time in Safety Car conditions will receive a five-second pit stop penalty, a ten-second pit stop penalty, a drive-through penalty or a ten-second stop-go penalty.
The stewards may impose either of the penalties under Article 16.3a), b), c) or d) on any driver who fails to stay above the minimum time as required by the above.
The Safety Car will no longer wait for lapped cars who have been allowed to regain the lead lap to catch the rear of the field before resuming the race:
Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable. Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.
If a race is suspended drivers will always return to the pits – the option for them to assemble on the grid has been removed. They must remain in the fast lane of the pits during the suspension or they will be given a drive-through penalty.
When the signal is given overtaking is forbidden, the pit exit will be closed and all cars must proceed slowly into the pit lane. The first car to arrive in the pit lane should proceed directly to the pit exit staying in the fast lane, all the other cars should form up in a line behind the first car.
If a race reaches the two-hour limit the chequered flag will now be shown on the lap after two-hour mark is reached, not on the same lap it is reached:
However, should two hours elapse before the scheduled race distance is completed, the leader will be shown the chequered flag when he crosses the control line (the Line) at the end of the lap following the lap during which the two hour period ended.
There have also been detail changes to definitions in the restrictions on wind tunnel testing.
Previously announced changes: Virtual Safety Car and ten-second penalties
The regulations on how the new Virtual Safety Car system will work, which were issued last month, are unchanged in the latest version of the rules:
The stewards now have the option of giving drivers a ten-second pit stop penalty. This works in the same way as the five-second pit stop penalty which was introduced last year – the driver is held in the pits for the specified amount of time during one of their routine pit stops, or the time is added on at the end of the race.
The stewards still have the option of issuing a ten-second stop-go penalty, where the drivers must come into the pits, stop for ten seconds and leave without changing tyres or having any other work on their car.
Any drivers whose team personnel or equipment is still on the grid after the 15-second signal is given must now start the race from the pits.
There is also a change to the new power unit penalties which were introduced last year. The grid drops will no longer roll over from one race to the next if they cannot be applied in full – instead the driver will be given a penalty to serve in the race.
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