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FIA makes extensive F1 rules changes for 2020 and 2021 in response to “crisis”

2020 F1 season

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The FIA has agreed a series of rules changes for 2020 and 2021 in response to the “crisis” instigated by the delayed start to the season.

The World Motor Sport Council approved the changes via an electronic vote, details of which were announced on Tuesday.

The changes include revisions to testing, and the scrapping of in-season tests to develop new 18-inch wheels, which will now be introduced in 2022 instead of next year.

A single day of testing specifically for running young drivers will now be arranged following the final round of the championship. Teams have been permitted to run two cars during this test – ordinarily they are limited to a single car.

Power unit manufacturers will for the first time be subject to the mandatory factory shutdown. This must take place over “21 consecutive days during months of March and/or April”.

The power unit rules have been amended, changing the maximum number of units each driver may use during the season depending on how many races go ahead:

Number of racesICEMGU-HMGU-KTCESCE
More than 14333322
12 to 14222222
Fewer than 11222211

Following the decision to begin the mandatory factory shutdown earlier in the year, the FIA has agreed “in the event that public health concerns or government restrictions continue beyond the shutdown period initially envisaged, the competitors and the FIA shall consult in good faith to determine whether the shutdown period should be extended and the length of any such extension, in order to ensure equal treatment as between all competitors.”

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The requirement for teams to give unanimous approval to any further rules changes for this season has been waived. The approval of just 60% of teams – six out of the 10 competitors – will now be required.

Following the decision to postpone new technical regulations from 2021 to 2022, the FIA has banned F1 teams from developing their 2021 chassis this year. “In order to prevent testing which aims to develop for the 2022 season, from 28/03/2020 until 31/12/2020, [Restricted Wind Tunnel Testing] may only be carried out using a scale model that substantially complies with the 2020 or 2021 F1 Technical Regulations,” states the revised regulations.

“No wind tunnel testing may be carried out using car geometry partially or wholly compliant with and/or substantially derived from the 2022 F1 Technical Regulations,” it adds. The same applies to Computation Fluid Dynamics simulations of the 2022 regulations.

Teams have also been told they may not use Dual Axis Steering systems in 2021.

FIA president Jean Todt has also been given the power to “take any decisions in connection with the organisation of international competitions for the 2020 season, which may be required as a matter of urgency”

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FIA statement on new F1 rules for 2020 and 2021

Changes for the 2020 Sporting Regulations have been approved in order to give flexibility to the FIA and Formula 1 to react to the crisis and organise a race calendar that best safeguards the commercial value of the championship and contains costs as much as possible. This will be achieved by the following methods:

The addition of Article 1.3, in order to be able to change certain articles with 60% support amongst the teams, so as to increase flexibility during this difficult period. In any case a subsequent approval by the World Motor Sport Council will be required.

The permission for the FIA and Formula 1 to change the calendar without a vote (deletion of article 5.5).

Changes to testing (article 10.5).

Addition of Power Unit Manufacturers shutdown (article 21.10 and 21.11).

Changes to permissible Power Unit elements if the number of races reduces (article 23.3).

The banning of aerodynamic development for the 2022 Regulations during 2020 (starting on Saturday 28 March).

The world council approved the previously-announced delay of the 2021 Technical Regulations to 2022 for cost-saving measures. Further measures will be introduced for 2021 following discussions with the teams. These will include the homologation of the survival cell (from 2020) and certain other components.

In addition, dual axis steering systems (DAS) will not be permitted in the 2021 regulations as defined in Article 10.4.2.

These technical changes have already received the required unanimous approval of the participating competitors, as they represent fundamental changes introduced after 18 months prior to the start of the year of the relevant championship.

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Author information

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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25 comments on “FIA makes extensive F1 rules changes for 2020 and 2021 in response to “crisis””

  1. Great excuse for a complete power grab by the FIA

    1. Yeah, this should be left to the body responsible for the technical and sporting parts of F1.

      The only ‘grabbing’ here is a consensual adoption of notice periods and majority definitions.

      1. LOL! And I thought I had exclusivity on inane comments, @coldfly

        1. No, but you have near-exclusivity on being the first to comment on every article, rest assured you can have the next one

          The point is, we all know that the FIA have tried to years to get any control possible over F1. This sentence summed it up nicely:

          Jean Todt has also been given the power to “take any decisions in connection with the organisation of international competitions”

          1. we all know that the FIA have tried to years to get any control possible over F1

            The FIA are the regulatory body for F1 and other motorsport under their remit.
            The FIA write the technical and sporting regs for F1 and other motorsport.
            The FIA already have the requisite control over the sport.
            Only the commercial arrangements of F1 are with the commercial rights holder (CRH), namely Liberty.

            The requirement for teams to give unanimous approval to any further rules changes for this season has been waived.

            FIA president Jean Todt has also been given the power to “take any decisions in connection with the organisation of international competitions for the 2020 season, which may be required as a matter of urgency”

            Note the use of the time-bound phrases “for this season” and “for the 2020 season”. They have simplified decision making for this season alone. If this was a “power grab” as you allude to, they would have kept it open-ended.

            As someone who was critical of F1’s slow decision-making in Australia (albeit, that was not the FIA), I’m happy to see they’ve learnt some lessons from that debacle, and are taking more decisive steps now.

            Listen, I’m no fan of the FIA or Todt, especially after the Ferrari settlement. But I don’t see things in black and white, and in this instance an organization with its flaws is seemingly doing the right things and making the right noises, for the right reasons. I can only take heart in that.

    1. I assume it’s still there, but I can’t see any direct mention of it in the rule changes above. There is the phrase “In any case a subsequent approval by the World Motor Sport Council will be required”, but Ferrari don’t have any representation there, so if they want to make representations it would have to be via a delegate. There are three Members by Right at the council, one of which is from Formula One management (Chase Carry), neither of the other two are Ferrari representatives, so I don’t believe that phrase is a euphemism for Ferrari’s Veto.
      If one considers Ferrari have just consented to accept a 60% majority decision for rules or proposals, even ones they don’t like, it doesn’t seem credible for them to say “From now on we will accept the will of the majority” and to then turn around and say “No we won’t!”.

      1. Ferrari have an alternating seat with the constructors representative on the World Motor sport Council. Binotto is listed by name.

        1. Oh yes, after a bit of hunting around I found that indeed the FIA Manufacturers’ Commission does indeed share their seat by right with a Ferrari representative. The wording is “President of the FIA Manufacturers’ Commission / or the Ferrari SpA Representative”. There’s no indication as to how the President of the FIA Manufacturers’s Commission and the Ferrari Representative determine who sits at the table, so maybe it is alternating, but is that a yearly alternation or a change every three months, or does alternating mean one of the parties has first refusal?
          I guess the question is what happens if a motion is voted upon at the World Motor Sports Council and Ferrari are in the minority? I suppose they will accept the will of the majority.

  2. Teams have also been told they may not use Dual Axis Steering systems in 2021.

    Because your not allowed to come up with a clever innovation anymore.

    Indycar+!

    1. This reduces the incentive for Ferrari and Red Bull to develop their own version of the system, thus ensuring the 2020 races will be a Mercedes 1-2.

      1. @paeschli
        What makes you think the DAS is going to be a magic bullet? Id say its just as likely to fail leading a race.
        Innovative thinking, design, and testing is what actually ensures a Mercedes 1-2. I dont have a problem with this.

        I think what you meant to say is, this reduces innovation.
        Your going the wrong way f1!

    2. Yeah that’s what annoys me. Let there be some engineering innovation guys!

    3. +1 @roger-ayles , and still clinging to the delusion that there will be a 2020 season for DAS to dominate.

  3. I’m surprised the article doesn’t mention the ban of wind tunnel works on the 2022 cars, as it’s also been approved.

    1. You mean this bit, @pironitheprovocateur?

      “In order to prevent testing which aims to develop for the 2022 season, from 28/03/2020 until 31/12/2020, [Restricted Wind Tunnel Testing] may only be carried out using a scale model that substantially complies with the 2020 or 2021 F1 Technical Regulations,” states the revised regulations.
      “No wind tunnel testing may be carried out using car geometry partially or wholly compliant with and/or substantially derived from the 2022 F1 Technical Regulations,” it adds. The same applies to Computation Fluid Dynamics simulations of the 2022 regulations.

      ;)

      1. Ah sorry, my bad. I expected it to make a headline, this is the kind of news that finally makes something to change the game.

      2. On the other hand, doesn’t the wording “substantially complies with the 2020 or 2021 F1 regulations” leave a bit of a manoeuvering space for the teams to exploit the loopholes? What exactly has been defined as substantial compliance? I think this needs further clarification.

  4. All good moves by the parties involved.

  5. Serious question:

    Why ban DAS? DAS is the innovation formula1 should strive for. Sure, itll cost some money, racing costs money. By outlawing DAS, you go one step further towards a bland, indycar esq f1.

    I got into formula1 after hearing about how the engines were so tight, you couldnt turn them over at ambient oil temps… after looking at stressed member chassis designs, after seeing the insane wings of the 2010-2012’s, after hearing an f1 car could run upside down in a tunnel. This techy stuff inspires people, to think harder, to come up with crazy innovative things. What does indycar inspire? Yeah i wanna adjust my camber better than anyone else? This lack of innovation is what kills spec on road series in my experience.

    Sure, if your kid wants to play high school basketball,thats great!, and i understand why you would want to goto his games. But for me, if i want to go out and spend a nice night out at a game, no way im going to watch some kids game, Im going to an NBA game at the staples center. Is it unfair that the Los Angeles Lakers have more money than the washington wizards? Yeah… know whats not fair? Life isnt fair. I want to see “a fizzy drinks company” field a team that beats ferrari! A name synonomous with racing, beat by guys who wanted it more, and could design a better car with tricky techy stuff! If Redbull entered the f1 field today, their innovations would be outlawed. Redbull EARNED those 4 titles! I wanna see the next redbull!

    Mediocrity inspires nobody! F1 is going down the wrong path!

    1. A standing ovation !

    2. This. Exactly this. Keith I think you should come up with something higher than cotd for this one :)

  6. The logic behind this is flawed.

    The teams have the resources and time. Instead of stepping back and becoming even less relevant against competing categories F1 should be doubling down and scrapping the 2020 season and forcing the teams to develop the originally planned 2021 cars. If and when it becomes possible to race in 2020 a few demonstration races in Europe should be run – perhaps with reserve drivers in a third car (2021 development?).

    There is now talk of pushing to 2023 for the new cars, if this happens F1 will have effectively run the exact same cars for 3 years (assuming they run in 2020). How is that the pinnacle of engineering and motorsport? Why would anyone pay F1 prices to go and see the same race 3 times?

    The only way this decision make sense is if ALL teams are releasing ALL personnel for the period in question so wages are bought to zero. This is not going to happen for the the great / good engineers and designers so they might as well be doing something productive. This will end up making Spygate look like a musical, the big teams are going to embed skunkworks groups within their structures and design / develop anyway making them even more dominant in the future.

    F1 needs to step in and release capital to support the teams to the budget cap and get on with the show.

  7. I’d happily put a couple of pennies on the 60% majority requirement staying for rather longer than just 1.5 seasons.

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