More rules changes for 2017 confirmed

2017 F1 season

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An increase in the maximum fuel allocation is among the changes which have been confirmed for 2017 in the revised rules published today.

Here’s what been changed for 2017 in the updated sporting regulations.

Higher fuel allocation

The maximum fuel allocation has been increased from 100kg in anticipation of the increase in fuel consumption owing to next year’s faster cars:

No car is permitted to consume more than 105kg of fuel, from the time at which the signal to start the race is given to the time each car crosses the Line after the end-of-race signal has been given.

No ‘stockpiling’ power unit elements

Drivers can’t ‘stock up’ on these without getting a penalty
Drivers cannot avoid penalties for using too many power unit elements by fitting a large number of new parts at one race, as Lewis Hamilton did at Spa this year:

During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one of the same power unit element which is subject to penalties, only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty.

Pirelli to pick tyres for first five races

The quantities of tyres for the first five races of the year will be chosen by Pirelli rather than the teams. Pirelli will continue to select which compounds will be used for these races.

For the first five events of the 2017 championship season only, the… selection procedure will not be used. For these events the supplier will allocate two sets of the hardest compound specification, four sets of the medium compound specification and seven sets of the softest compound specification to each driver.

Helmet design changes

The FIA doesn’t like novelty helmets
Having previously banned drivers from changing their helmet designs during the season, the FIA began granting one dispensation per season this year. This is now written into the rules:

In order for drivers to be easily distinguished from one another whilst they are on the track, the crash helmet of each driver must, with the exception of one event of the driver’s choice, be presented in substantially the same livery at every Event during a championship season. A change to helmet livery will also be permitted if a driver changes team during a championship season.

The FIA is also stipulating safety standards for mechanics’ helmets:

All team personnel carrying out any work on a car in the pit lane when the car is in its pit stop position during the qualifying practice session, or during a race pit stop, must be wearing helmets which meet or exceed the requirements of ECE 22.05 – European motorcycle road helmet, DOT – USA motorcycle road helmet or JIS T8133-2015, class 2 – JPN protective helmets for motor vehicle users. The use of appropriate eye protection is compulsory.

Refuellers and those equipped with fire extinguishers must wear “garments which are in compliance with either FIA Standard 8867-2016 or FIA Standard 8856-2000”.

More wet weather tyres for final practice

Teams will get extra tyres for wet running
The FIA will now consult weather forecasts to determine whether teams should be given an extra set of tyres if wet conditions are expected in final practice:

If neither P1 nor P2 are declared wet, but the likelihood of P3 being declared wet is deemed by the FIA to be high, one additional set of intermediate tyres will be made available to all drivers. Under such circumstances, one set of intermediate tyres must be electronically returned before the start of the qualifying practice session.

There have also been further clarifications to the electronic procedure by which teams ‘return’ tyres they are no longer permitted to use.

Unsafe release

The rule on unsafe releases is now worded more clearly:

Cars must not be released from a garage or pit stop position in way that could endanger pit lane personnel or another driver.

Another rule limiting the number of staff which may be involved in running a teams’ cars during a weekend has also been clarified.

The new rules for 2017 also include a change to encourage greater use of standing starts in wet conditions.

2017 F1 season

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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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57 comments on “More rules changes for 2017 confirmed”

  1. Given the provisional calendar for 2017, are the first five races a correct representation of the remaining tracks in the season? What prompted the tyre manufacturer to decide on this cap and pre-select tyres for all the teams? There will surely be extensive pre-season testing on the 2017 cars.

    1. A whole host of new regulations next year mean that what is learned on the 2016 cars will not translate over to the 2017 cars. With that, the selection deadline of the first three races, (Australia, Bahrain and Chine), falls before the pre-season testing. The Russian deadline falls somewhere during the first test and Spain is right after the second one. For that reason Pirelli decided to pre-select the tires for the teams. The oddity is Canada. Teams will get to choose their tires even though the deadline is about the same time as Russia. Although since the race still has to be confirmed, this might be a mute point.

    2. Extensive pre-season testing? I think I’d describe it as alarmingly little testing given the huge changes, and Pirelli seem to be having to fight just to have one session in the heat. No wonder they will have to choose the tires initially.

      1. Look at the mileage Mercedes had racked up in pre-season testing. In 2017, there are aero changes that warrant more testing for the new tyres no doubt. But if that kind of mileage is achieved, surely it would generate massive amount of data. But by pre-selecting tyres for all 5 races, I guess Pirelli wants to play it safe. The overall testing could be split to include a venue that could help Pirelli to test tyre wear in hot condition. But I completely side with Horner when he says “….if they want the teams to go and test for their benefit in a hot climate then they should contribute to the burden of cost”

        1. What surprises me about Horner’s comment is him saying ‘for THEIR benefit’. Is it not for everyone’s benefit? Not just the team’s but us fans too? If there is a better product on the cars, resulting in a better racing show on the track, and no chance of a mid-season meltdown of exploding tires, is that not better for everyone? I don’t get the cavalier attitude toward tires.

    3. I am pretty sure that Pirelli chose those tyre allocations first of all to make sure that at least one set of tyres will be good for those races without having the possibilty of testing them at all tracks up front. And possibly manufacturing is also an issue.

    4. Pirelli knows more about the tires than the teams.

      In theory.

  2. I thought people with an IQ higher than 10 would know to look at a car’s number and/or the black or yellow colour on the top camera to tell who is driving a car. The helmet should make no odds. No wonder viewing figures are dropping. Fans are getting tired of being told how stupid they are. Thank good for these rules, what would we do without them?

    1. To be honest, I have used the helmet to identify a car more than the yellow/red colour on the camera, particularly when onboard shots are used from over the driver’s shoulder. So a Merc with a black helmet = Nico, Brazilian yellow = Lewis.

      That said, restricting changes to helmet designs just seems pointless, and takes away one small talking point from the race (I recall a driver came with a glow-in-the-dark helmet to the Singapore GP, only for that idea to fail given the bright artificial lighting there!). If I couldn’t identify the driver from the helmet (like the teams at the rear), I’d just wait for FOM to put up the label with the driver’s name.

      1. I believe it was Vettel with the LED lights in his helmet

      2. Agreed, that is why there is a number on the top of the helmet. But to kill off a stream of joy to appease nobody (the FIA have never listened to fans) under the lie that it is to help confused fans is just stupid. I thought that the new owners would put a stop to this nonsense but all I see is more of the same. Rules for the sake of making rules to ensure future job security. Why not make a rule that all drivers wear high heels so that they all appear to be the same height, all to help confused viewers who cannot understand the podium steps?

        1. I know car numbers are slightly cherished, but is there a reason we use numbers instead of the driver’s 3-letter abbreviation? It’s just one character more than a 2-digit number, and will help us correlate things quicker. And ensure that all feasible camera angles display the car number/driver abbreviation within the frame. They can then leave the helmet designs to the driver’s choice.

          #Ed – thank you for clarifying that and correcting me 👍

      3. @phylyp I never knew Lewis had a Brazilian yellow helmet. I must be color blind then.

        1. @mashiat – I think this season he has a different colour, but in his McLaren and early Merc years he had one like this:

          1. @phylyp Yeah he used to, but not now.

      4. I think it was Hulkenberg who tried the glow in the dark helmet, don’t know why you would think it would work, glow in the dark for me means its dark. THe track is lit up like the 4th of July

    2. It’s likely been put in place to help David Croft identify the drivers. Doesn’t seem to have worked so far however.

    3. Tommy Scragend
      14th October 2016, 13:58

      The car numbers are so tiny these days that they are very often impossible to see unless it is a close up shot from a certain angle.

      Also to identify the driver from the colour of the T-bar means remembering which driver within a team has the yellow T-bar and which doesn’t, for every team.

      The helmet is an obvious way to identify the drivers. Putting the number on the top has helped, except for the drivers who have the number the wrong way up, so that when viewed from the onboard camera the number is upside down. Presumably the point of the number being there is so that it can be seen from that camera, so surely it should be orientated accordingly? Also on some cars the camera is in a position where the number on the helmet is out of shot.

      1. Sorry to point this out but ‘remembering’ is required to identify everything you see. You need to recall who’s helmet colour belongs to whom. Using the same parts of the brain for remembering t-bar assignments, car liverys, facial hair, hair styles. etc. Making rules to aid a non existent problem makes no sense. It helps nobody except those that make the rules, as it inflates their pay cheques and keeps them in work.

        1. Actually, no. Different kinds of information are stored and recalled in different way in the brain, and the ways are individual. Thus (at least for some people) remembering helmet design is markedly easier than remembering color code, regardless of IQ (as if that number actually meant anything).

          Moreover, oftentimes the helmet is way easier to spot on a moving car than the T-bar. Helmet thus remains one of important identification elements for fast moving cars. This is even more so when one starts looking at older pictures/films. When a driver keeps the same basic helmet design (e.g. Button, Massa), it is easy to identify him over the years without having to know his actual position in his team or his number.

          I suggest that there are actually too few regulations regarding identification. While assigning drivers lifelong numbers might be a good PR move, the natural step then would be to require teams to actually feature the said numbers prominently on the car. As it is, with some teams it looks like they are actually intentionally trying to hide the numbers.

      2. I have no difficulty with the numbers, you just have to know where to look. And considering that they are listed with the driver on all the practice/qualifying/race sheets, they get pounded into your head on a regular basis. Helmet colors do not.

    4. I never use the numbers or the camera colours to identify the drivers. The helmets are a bigger difference, in the cases that apply. Lewis yellow helmet from his McLaren years made a huge difference from Jenson’s white, red and blue, and it was much easier for me to identify them.

      I always forget if the yellow camera is the lead driver or the second driver. And it’s harder these days to know who’s first and who’s second, given that the numbers are all personalized.

    5. From the overhead on the Mercedes, it’s hard to tell if it’s Nico or Lewis without the helmet (and gloves). You can’t see the T-bar, you can’t see the car number. From the sides, there’s no number at all, which is true for a number of the teams.

      Personally, I’d like to see a rule that says something like 60% of the livery must be consistent between cars of the same team, but allow the drivers / teams to personalize each car.

  3. There was talk of putting restrictions around the dimensions and weight of power unit components – has any rule been issued in this regard, or has that proposal been dropped?

    1. Those rules have been in place in the F1 formula for some time… For the 2015 year (I don’t have the 2016 docs handy), it’s pretty complicated, but some of the basics:

      All elements of the power unit specified in the relevant column of the table in Appendix 2 of
      these regulations must be installed in the union of the volumes that exist between two
      vertical planes normal to the car centre line separated by 700mm and in a box 150mm long,
      250mm wide and 800mm high which lies symmetrically about the car centre line immediately
      ahead of the front vertical plane.

      5.4.1 The overall weight of the power unit must be a minimum of 145kg.
      5.4.2 The centre of gravity of the power unit may not lie less than 200mm above the reference
      5.4.3 The total weight of the part of the ES that stores energy, i.e. the cells (including any clamping
      plates) and electrical connections between cells, must be no less than 20kg and must not
      exceed 25kg.

  4. What does ‘electronically returned’ mean in practice? Does the tyre stay in the team garage, but the serial numbers get reported, so it can be checked that they don’t use them during the race/qualifying?

    1. @aapje – Spot on. All tires are barcoded to facilitate this.

      Electronic return allows enforcement of the rule without the logistics of physically moving the tires in a short span of time.

  5. ColdFly F1 (@)
    14th October 2016, 13:31

    I don’t understand why FIA continues to refer to the first five races with fixed tyre allocation?
    IIRC Pirelli wants 8 weeks lead time for European races, and 14 for overseas events. The final test is on 10 March.
    – race 5 (Spain, 12-14 May) is >8 weeks and should not be a problem;
    but on the other hand:
    – race 7 (Canada, 9-11 June) is 14 weeks, albeit by just 1 day!

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      14th October 2016, 13:42

      missed a bit
      – race 8 (BAKU, 16-18 June) is just 1 day short of 14 weeks
      (and FIA/Pireli consider Baku to be non-European)

    2. Good point, and that’s what I’ve been wondering as well.

  6. The maximum fuel allocation has been increased from 100kg in anticipation of the increase in fuel consumption owing to next year’s faster cars:

    The reason is that the cars will be draggier, rather than faster. In fact they will be slower, albeit quicker :)

    They should have left the fuel alone IMO, but let us see how much they have left. Any kind of drama will be welcome with less braking, less acceleration, less breaking traction, and less tyre deg.

    1. @lockup – “They should have left the fuel alone IMO”

      That’s a fair point. In the turbo era, how often have we heard for calls to conserve fuel? Managing tires to the end usually seemed to take care of the fuel situation automatically.

      1. I won’t profess to know whether 105 kg will still leave them having to conserve some or not, but I sure hope fuel usage is a non-issue as they have been having to play the conservation game way too much over way too many aspects of the racing such that F1 has become an endurance event, which it is not meant to be. Let’s hope for normal conservation levels, not ones that handcuff the show. Thankfully just being on these beefier tires that won’t degrade thermally should at least help them not have to baby tires nearly as much. Hard to say. We haven’t heard a ton about fuel usage this year, but that might be because as you said @phylyp tire management hasn’t allowed pushing to the point where they’re burning up their fuel too rapidly anyway.

        1. The only way you’ll truly stop the fuel conservative game is if you put in a minimum fuel limit that allows them to go flat out the entire race. Even at 105kg, some teams will just short fill the car to save weight.

      2. Trouble is @phylyp they don’t tell us. Rosberg had a problem with fuel last race but it added nothing to the tension because we didn’t know about it till afterwards. We need to see it in real time.

        Same with the Energy Store state that is fascinating as a tactical weapon but we can only guess who’s doing what with it. Brundle was busy telling us Max was using Overtake to defend on the main straight in Suzuka, then it turned out he wasn’t at all.

        I hope Liberty bring a bit of clue into the coverage.

        1. People are complaining that todays race is not 100% all the way, that the dirvers need to save tyres, brakes and fuel, and when they increase fuel allocation, people are saying they would prefer seeing challenges with saving fuel…. everybody on the grid has to save fuel across the race so they can use more power when they need it. Its one of many reasons why not to run their highest power modes on their engines, not just to preserve the engine itself. If they ran 100% all race long, they would ran out of fuel at ~66% race lengh because of the maximum fuel flow of 100kg/hr. race takes roughly hour and a half. So they are saving fuel all of the time, with 105Kg they will be able to do 5kg less saving. Altho as its been said, this is mainly to account for all the additional drag the car will have, and there will be a LOT of extra drag, 5kg will hardly cover that, so there will have to be actually ever more saving done and engines efficiency will be even more important. Because 2017 105kg will not be equivalent of 100Kg 2016

        2. @lockup – Ah, I didn’t know about Rosberg’s issues. Is that why he was pacing so much slower, and not just conserving mileage on his engine?

          At the start of the 2014 season, FOM used to show various graphics to denote fuel flow and burn rate. Since that petered away quite quickly, I thought fuelling was a non-issue in this era.

          I can understand why teams might be reluctant to have the energy harvesting/deployment displayed to competing teams. KERS was purely dependent on the driver and his driving style, whereas hybrid power is governed by the car’s software. And teams might not be too keen on revealing just how specific engines deploy power (whether they use it at corner exit, or for filling gaps in the ICE torque curve, etc.) as that would be IP.

          1. Yeah, i do miss those graphics, in almost every race it showed Lewises fuel usage lower than Nicos by quite a lot, most of them times Lewis doing better pace, showing who was the boss in that year…

          2. Yep @phylyp it doesn’t work leaving it to the teams as you say, it’s a job for the commercial rights holder. I don’t know how much difference Rosberg’s fuel issue made, Toto was vague about it. It wasn’t critical obviously, more of an example really, that in other circumstances would add some spice to things.

            People, especially Bernie, keep going on about the show, but they don’t make the best of what they have.

    2. The thing that has baffled me from the beginning of the new power units is not the reduced amount of fuel, but rather the insistence of a limited fuel flow. Why? Why not tell the teams, you only have 100L of fuel for the race; use it how you will, but come back with at least 1L of fuel left for testing. I thought Ferrari’s 2015 solution of “banking” unspent fuel and then using that banked fuel for bursts of increased performance was brilliant…so, of course, the FIA banned it. I am all for maximum efficiency and I think it is really, really impressive what the teams have done in that area, but the fuel flow limiters do nothing to my mind except artificially limit the engine revs and rob potential performance with the same amount of fuel.

      1. American F1, if it was the case that Ferrari was doing that – and I have a feeling that the claim was extremely speculative – then Ferrari were just straight up breaking the regulations to begin with, since devices to “store” fuel between the fuel tank and the engine have been illegal for decades (I believe it has technically been illegal since the early to mid 1970’s, when they first started restricting how fuel could be stored onboard the cars to significantly reduce the risk of the fuel igniting in a crash).

        Equally, in reality the engines have almost always had an indirect limitation on the amount of fuel that could be burned as a consequence of other regulations. In the past, and in most motorsport series to this day, they limit performance by restricting the airflow into the engines, either by limiting the size of the restrictors that could be used, limiting turbocharger boost pressures or by restricting air intake sizes, just as a few examples of those constraints.

        That, indirectly, put a limit on the fuel which could be injected into the cylinder, since there are limits on how rich the teams can make the fuel mixture before it harms performance. All you’ve really done is switched one limiting resource – the volume of air which could be injected into the combustion chamber – with another one, which is the amount of fuel you inject; it’s just a different way of achieving the same end, and in many ways it is a more transparent method for achieving the target goal.

      2. The fuel flow limit is simply a power cap. I once calculated and (iirc) the theoretical maximum of the current egine is about 1600 bhp at 100% efficiency.
        Now the only way to increase power, is to increase efficiency. And the manufacturers did, raising from 40% to close to 50% now. Which is rather impressive and road relevant.
        Without a fuel flow limit teams could run very rich power settings (in qualifying, when there is no fuel amount limit) with outputs well above what we have now. Might be nice for the fans, but it would have some consequences, like the need for even larger run-off areas at the end of the straights.

  7. If you’ve ever felt useless in your life, remember that the FIA has a rule for helmet design changes…It should make you feel better instantly.

    1. @andrewf1 Or just remember Manor’s contribution to the 2015 F1 season.

      1. Or Caterham in F1 all together

  8. “only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty.”

    So what’s the further penalty? Presuming it would be the same as actually introducing new power unit components but it’s not actually specified.

    “In way that could endanger pit lane personnel or another driver.”
    Very ambiguous, all pit releases have a potential danger so what makes something dangerous and what doesn’t?

    1. @strontium – but they have time to fuss over helmet designs in the regulation. 😂

      I agree with the point you make about power units – there’s no reason I can think of why they didn’t just write what you mentioned.

      For pitlane penalties, I think they left it intentionally ambiguous to make it easier to cover cars and staff. While we can articulate a rule around affected cars taking avoiding action due to an offending car (and back it up with brake/steering telemetry), it might be harder to frame a rule for personnel. If they say something like “personnel having to move to avoid cars” then teams might try to game it (e.g. make the guy who moves the air hoses in an adjoining pit jump to make it look like the pitted car cut too close). Rather than an overly complex set of rules (which might have gaps in it) they just left it to visual detection the way it is done today.

  9. “In order for drivers to be easily distinguished from one another whilst they are on the track”

    For the love all things with 4 wheels, can they *please* put visible driver numbers on both sides of the cars! It doesn’t have to be huge, just readable on TV. I know about the sponsors and their needs, etc. but surely there is a way they could do this and make it work! This is needed most for those new to following or rather trying to follow F1.

    1. I would prefer something like what HAAS and Sauber do. Put it just behind the front suspension

  10. “If neither P1 nor P2 are declared wet, but the likelihood of P3 being declared wet is deemed by the FIA to be high, one additional set of intermediate tyres will be made available to all drivers.”

    More inters, because we’re never going to see cars racing on full wets again, so no need to practice on them.

    They should just call inters “wet” and do away with the full wets. Then just declare the track too wet for wets.

  11. Michael Brown (@)
    14th October 2016, 22:45

    Bah, to hell with these helmet rules. Name me a driver, that isn’t Sebastian Vettel, who changed their helmet design every race.

    Please enlighten me, because the insinuation is that helmets were changing all the time.

  12. I miss the fuel saving graphics that came with these PUs in 14.

    I only just realised we don’t get that anymore.

  13. I think helmets should be open to drivers in a way where they are allocated an “alternate” design they can use anywhere anytime. Same with overalls.. and I’ll even be wild in saying car liveries should be able to do the same. Kind of like Redbull/Star wars etc.. Imagine seeing a one off aqua Mercedes livery similar to what Hamilton was going to use for Sepang. Ferrari covered in the Italian flag for Monza.

  14. That picture of the Ferrari with the bigger tires looks awesome!

  15. The helmet rules are nonsense – just look at MotoGP where riders change helmets like F1 drivers change tyres. It allows for lots of engagement in between races and can actually be a lot of fun. People watching on TV have commentators adding description of who’s on the screen, and people at live races have other visual clues on the cars besides the helmets – often different camera colours. If there was engagement on helmet design before the race then perhaps they’d recognise the driver. Plus there are numerous TV screens around the track as well as the huge leaderboard tower and the position of a car relative to others. And commentary that you can hear now that we’re in the V6 era.

    You do wonder sometimes if the FIA rule makers have actually watched an F1 race in the past 5 years.

  16. Lets put to bed the lost years (2007/2106)of F1 and an end to this season asap.
    Cars are ugly, narrow and look extremely slow. Narrow tires and high wings make cars look ridiculous. Backwards the sport has gone but maybe some sanity will come back in 2017.
    Progress is important in F1 and that should not change but if the cars go any slower than there is no point.

  17. I’m looking to see if F1 is going to do something about the disparity in engine performance between Mercedes and everyone else? I used to love watching F1 but no one really can compete with Rossberg/Hamilton. Boring. So why is anyone talking about helmets instead of how to achieve parity and create exciting races?

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