Jean Todt, Mario Tronchetti Provera, Chase Carey, Yas Marina, 2018

FIA can bypass teams to impose new 2021 F1 rules

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s governing body does not agreement from teams to impose changes to the rules for the 2021 season.

Approval from the Strategy Group and F1 Commission is needed to ratify rule changes for seasons prior to 2021. But as F1’s commercial agreements will expire at the end of 2020, that governance structure does not apply to subsequent seasons.

Therefore the FIA can impose changes for 2021 without the approval of teams. This includes the switch to 18-inch wheels, as FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirmed when asked by RaceFans.

“That’s part of the regulation package for 2021,” Whiting confirmed. “It doesn’t have to go through the Formula One commission because it’s for 2021.”

Asked whether that means the FIA has a “free hand” when it comes to determining F1’s future rules, Whiting said: “We have – there’s no need for regulations to go through the Strategy Group because that governance expires. We don’t have a new one yet.”

Divide and misrule: How Formula One’s rules are written
However Whiting believes the introduction of the 18-inch wheel format is largely supported by the teams. “I think everyone’s agreed, and the teams have been aware for some time, that the proposal is to go to 18-inch wheels.

“So I don’t think there’s any surprises there and I don’t think there are any objectors. It’s part of the package that we are putting together with FOM.

“The separate matter of whether or not it needs to go to the F1 Commission, it doesn’t, strictly speaking, because there is no government beyond 2020. There probably will be a Formula One commission but it might be a different one.”

Until a post-2020 governance structure is put in place the power to approve rules for 2021 and beyond will rest with the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

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17 comments on “FIA can bypass teams to impose new 2021 F1 rules”

  1. That’s good news, I hope decision making is no longer hamstrung by individual teams’ interests.

    That said, I do hope that FIA uses the help of experts (e.g. Liberty’s Brawn) to validate changes before they’re written down as regs.

    1. @phylyp

      Completely agree. It’s hard to find a unanimous way forward when teams are bickering among themselves for gaining a slight advantage. Hardly any good for the sport comes about this way. If they can bypass teams on certain decisions, it would only be better for the sport and viewers.

      I wonder how Ferrari’s veto plays in to this whole situation though. I think it’s about time they get rid of that nonsensical privilege.

      1. The thing is, I don’t trust the FIA.
        Those guys were in bed too long with Bernie and got rich whilst bending over in all directions (we have a name for that).

        It’s good to have an independent body govern the sport; but who governs that independent body?
        @phylyp, @todfod

        PS I’d guess that the veto expires at the end of 2020 as well.

        1. @coldfly – agreed, whether by malintent, or just incompetence (as @gwbridge alludes to), this change for 2021 removes only an impediment to the framing of better rules, it doesn’t guarantee it.

        2. @coldfly Exactly, although this is good in theory, FIA has long history of this and it’s not been pretty. Hopefully it’s just for 2021 and Todt will maintain his co-operative stance and not do something silly.

  2. Wow! I hadn’t realised how big the new wheels were! The cars will look like lowrider monster trucks. :-)
    Also, I expect to see plenty of “we’ll quit” threats from teams as they butt heads with FIA.

  3. This is true, but it can only happen if the FIA suddenly discovers a backbone, and that won’t happen with Jean Todt at the helm.

    The other thing that has no effect on the 2021 rules is the so-called Ferrari “veto” which only exists for changes to the rules during the term of the present Concorde Agreement. In actual truth, Ferrari has no veto as such. What they have is a sort of “get out of jail free card” that grants them permission to leave the sport at any time without financial penalties if some change to the regulations imposes an outrageous financial burden on them. All other teams would be hit with a massive financial penalty if they walked away from the sport prior to the end of the Concorde Agreement at the end of the 2020 season.

    What Ferrari really has is just an agreement that would allow them to walk out at any time without penalty (although it has to be based on damage to their business model). They have that to hold over the sport’s head whenever they don’t like some change, but it’s not a veto. It’s just the fact that when they threaten to leave, the actually could. Marchionne used this very effectively despite the fact that Ferrari would never leave F1 because it is central to their business plan.

  4. I don’t see the relevance of 18 inch wheels.
    My own opinion, the wheels look great and work great.
    But for marketing, I can understand.

    1. I think they’ll look incredibly ugly on F1 cars. But I’m guessing they want to switch it to 18 inch rims for road relevance on regular cars.

    2. I suspect 18 inch rear wheels will create slightly more dirty air than 13 inch wheels. I’m not sure what the effect will be on the front of a car. Maybe the more shallow arc will create less lift. If so that could be beneficial.

  5. I think one advantage of 18″ wheels will be that Pirelli’s fiddling around with recommended tyre pressures will have lesser impact (and will likely be required less often, for the same reason), since the amount of sidewall movement will reduce with the lower profile.

    I’m clutching at straws to see the silver lining, as you might have guessed :-)

    1. @phylyp: Missed the big one tho. Bigger brakes. Finally, F1 cars will be able to have properly short braking zones – decelerate from 200mph to 40mph in less than 70 metres. Or 60 metres for Danny Ric.

      Fans want to see 7+Gs in the brief, but boring braking zones and driver’s eyes bulging out of their visors. Don’t we? ;-)

      1. @jimmi-cynic – good point, and Ric will probably be braking after the apex. And I guess brake cooling might also be helped with the larger disc, and correspondingly larger open area on the rim.

        Fans want to see 7+Gs in the brief

        I too would enjoy seeing higher Gs, but I’ll keep my trousers on, thank you very much.

      2. You were probably joking but the braking in f1 car is not limited by the brakes. Making the brakes bigger won’t change anything. At most it would be a cost and weight increase as the teams need to design and build new bigger rotors and brake assemblies. I think the brakes are going to stay the same size as they are now. Maybe if the tire outer diameters change then we might see a change n the brakes as well.

        1. @socksolid

          I would imagine larger brakes would make cooling easier, but I appreciate it may be more complex than that.

      3. The impression I got was most of the braking is done by the MGU-K, while a smaller bit is done by the mechanical brake system (i.e. brake disc and pads).

  6. I think this is more just a powerplay to get the big manufacturers to play ball than to actually try to push anything revolutionary through for 2021. So far the big manufacturers have had all the power to make sure nothing changes. Now fia can play the game as well. How much does fia want to change though?

    I’d love to get rid of the hybrid engines which would allow to make the cars over 100kg lighter /1, make running a team a ton cheaper, reduce downforce to reduce dirty air and make the cars more challenging /2 and extreme to drive when the power delivery is then controlled by the driver /3. All of this would make it easier for pirelli to make non-degrading tires when the cars are not so massively heavy and hard on the tires.

    Most importantly this would fix the weight issue with the cars. Now the cars are so obese that you can not really add any new technologies on the cars because the cars can not get any heavier. For example with lighter cars you could put some of that weight back on the car by replacing the mirrors with cameras and lcd screens and you could introduce some tech like active suspension or movable aerodynamics in some controlled way without making the cars over 800kg heavy when dry.

    One can dream…

    sources because facts:
    1 Racecar engineering 2013 engines special issue, page 11.

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