Lando Norris, McLaren, Monza, 2020

F1 to discuss dropping FIA-specified components from technical rules

2022 F1 season

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The F1 Commission will discuss whether to scrap rules which allow the FIA to specify the design of certain car parts at its meeting tomorrow.

‘Prescribed Design Components’ is one of seven categories of parts described in the 2021 technical regulations. Introduced as a cost-saving measure, PDCs are built to a design specification issued by the FIA, which is arrived at through consultation with the teams.

The use of PDCs is mandatory and they may not be modified by teams, except with the prior permission of the FIA if they are deemed to be are “critically incompatible, unreliable or unsafe” on their car.

The move to drop PDCs has come about due to concerns over potential liability problems. An FIA spokesperson told RaceFans “the proposed removal of PDCs (and their re-allocation into other categories) is related to the process through which such components get designed, and how we will arrive at the best cost-saving, while ensuring that teams that may have contributed to their design do not get burdened with unnecessary liability for their functionality on other cars.”

“In our analysis it was deemed that other categories could be more effective in achieving this aim,” they added.

The regulations specify six other parts categories, two of which – Homologated Parts and Free Supply Components – apply for 2021 only. The others are Listed Team Components (exclusive to each team), Standard Supply Components (identical parts provided to all teams by a supplier), Transferable Components (parts produced by one team which may be supplied to another) and Open Source Components (parts designs shared by all teams).

While RaceFans understands the move to drop PDCs has not arisen as a consequence of Romain Grosjean’s serious crash in November’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the F1 Commission will separately be updated on the progress of the investigation into the incident tomorrow. Also up for discussion and vote is the potential introduction of Saturday sprint races at three races this year on a trial basis.

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11 comments on “F1 to discuss dropping FIA-specified components from technical rules”

  1. If they’re going to drop something I’d far rather it be ‘Transferable Components (parts produced by one team which may be supplied to another)’

    Having performance changing parts of your car designed by another competitor goes against every aspect of F1 competition and has created F1 powerhouses that are in no way good for the future of the sport as it will drive out independent teams

    You only have to look at how everyone thinks TP (sorry Aston Martin, apparently) will be either 2nd or 3rd next year because of the free upgrades they get to Mercedes 2020 parts as proof

    What next, Williams? A new team? Than it wouldn’t be long before half the grid are effectively driving the same car and we have a spec series

    If teams want cheap suspension, and brakes, & steering racks etc. They should have to buy from an independent supplier, not a competitor

    1. So essentially you want 3 to 5 teams to drop from the grid entirely, and the remaining 3 to 5 to become several seconds slower from the top teams like we had in the 90s?

      1. If 5 teams drop and 5 teams become slower, who are they slower in relation to?

      2. If the new technical and financial regulations achieve their aim then this would allow the scenario being suggested to work. An equal playing field on cost and tighter technical regulations should negate the need for shared components and customer cars.

        What I would like to see is for any shared components to be made available to any competitor in an open market. Exclusivity of sharing is as much the problem at the moment as the sharing itself.

        1. This is only true if by some magic tobacco sponsorship returns to F1, or an alternative wealthy sponsorship returns to the teams. Otherwise it’s unfeasible for quite a number of teams to survive without the financial backing of a bigger manufacturer. So if you remove shared components entirely, we’d see at least Haas and AlphaTauri off the grid, with likely Sauber and Williams going next.

          Add to that the scenario where some of the other teams will need to buy from manufacturers with less involvement in the sport and less incentive to make parts suited for specific designs and these teams will see a significant drop in performance from those parts. You can’t expect a part like that to be as efficient as a part designed by Mercedes or Red Bull.

      3. Aiii, I have no problem with groups of leading, midfield & backmarker group battles like we have now

        There is plenty of action on track, and winners of each group

        It has always been like that on F1, we have never had a truly competitive field where all teams could win the race

        That is F1. If you want to watch something where all teams race the same car then tune in a little earlier and watch F2

        1. That’s not what you’ll get though. You won’t see a tight midfield. You’ll see a midfield with gaps anywhere between .5s to 3.0s to eachother. Gaps like we have now, with the entire field top-to-bottom within a couple of seconds will be a thing of the past if all parts have to be purchased from a variety of outside manufacturers. Forget about specific designs to fit your car. Forget about getting the best quality in return for data.

          I get it “spec is bad” but no it’s not. If what you propose were to happen, several teams would cease to exist because their existence is dependent on the partnership and the remaining teams would take severe hits in part quality and design. They won’t find themselves up in a better competitive position. It won’t hamper the development of the teams that lose the partnership. It’ll just make the midfield slower and smaller.

    2. @the-edge the idea of a team having performance changing parts developed by another competitor is hardly new in F1.

      Asides from the customer cars that teams sold to privateers, ranging from individual drivers through to Rob Walker, the most successful customer racing team, you also had outfits like March, where a team could buy a complete car (such as Frank Williams did with his first team), but it was also not unheard of for teams to take that base chassis from March and then modify it (such as the March 731 that Hesketh bought and Postlethwaite then modified).

      Into the 1980s, Osella’s relationship with Alfa Romeo saw Osella ‘borrowing’ components from Alfa Romeo fairly liberally – the back half of the Osella FA1E was an Alfa Romeo 182, for example, and quite a few of their later cars used a chassis that bore a very striking resemblance to the chassis of the 183T that was on loan from Alfa Romeo as a “design exercise”.

  2. So, if I understand this right, the reason they are dropping this, is because it might just not be viable to actually do this?

    1. “ The move to drop PDCs has come about due to concerns over potential liability problems”

      Doesn’t that mean they don’t want to held responsible if something goes wrong?

      1. My thoughts excactly. I guess the FIA had a converrsation with their liability insurance company and found out they did not really like this increasing risk. 😉

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