Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Red Bull Ring, 2021

FIA to approve new tyres and Sprint race regulations rewrite for British GP

2021 F1 season

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The FIA World Motor Sport Council is expected to approve the introduction of Formula 1’s new tyre construction at the next round of the world championship.

The WMSC will also rubber-stamp extensive changes to the sporting regulations for the 2021 F1 season to codify the introduction of the new Sprint race format. Both changes will come into effect from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli provided examples of the new tyres for teams to test during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. The revised construction is intended to “further improve the robustness of the tyres”. It follows the introduction of new restrictions on tyre use which arose in reaction to the failures experienced by Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll at last month’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

As the new tyres are being introduced as a precautionary safety measure, the approval of the F1 Commission is not required. The sport’s new Sprint race format was approved by the commission in April.

While the Sprint race format is unchanged from what was announced previously, RaceFans understands an extensive rewrite of the existing, 90-page sporting regulations was required to formalise its introduction. It will bring qualifying forward to Friday afternoon, in place of a practice session, and add a 100-kilometre race on Saturday to set the starting grid for Sunday’s grand prix. Changes to the race weekend format, parc ferme restrictions and points system are involved.

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The new regulations were devised by the FIA and Formula 1 in conjunction with the teams. FIA F1 race director Michael Masi is confident any potential grey areas have been addressed, but said the rules will be reviewed after next week’s first Sprint event to identify possible improvements.

Start, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Feature: How Formula 1 got its tenth different points system in 2021
“We’ve had numerous meetings involving all the teams’ sporting directors, ourselves with the FIA and obviously F1 in developing, refining, leaving things for a week, letting everyone have another re-read and finding little bits and pieces.

“Everyone, to be fair, has a completely open mind that there may be things crop up that no one has thought of, any of us. But also an open mind that after the first event, let’s happily review internally and see what did work, what didn’t work, other areas that need to be refined.”

The new regulations are a significant departure for Formula 1, said Masi. “It is something new for all of us, particularly in an F1 capacity.

“The regulations traditionally have been structured in a very specific format and way around a grand prix taking place without Sprint Qualifying happening. So everyone is quite open and has said that we all just need to work together and see what pops up, anything that we haven’t considered, as much as everyone has read them inside out.

RaceFans understands the WMSC will also approve approve minor changes to the current technical regulations relating to the Sprint races, and tweaks to next year’s technical rules.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 26 comments on “FIA to approve new tyres and Sprint race regulations rewrite for British GP”

    1. someone or something
      8th July 2021, 11:30

      Regarding the sprint race and the changed time table for the entire weekend, does anyone know when and how Parc Fermé will be applied?

      — Is it going to be the start of qualifying, as usual?
      That would entail freezing the cars’ setups after a single practice session, and, more importantly, before the second Free Practice on Saturday, before the sprint race. Assuming that Parc Fermé applies, what’s the point of running in FP2 if you can’t change the setup anymore? Yeah, you can send out your cars on different tyres and have them perform a long run until their tyres crumble in order to address the last 10% of uncertainty about preferable tyre strategies for the race … But you’re going to have them do that on Friday already, because you want to know what’s the softest compound that can survive the sprint race. Leaving FP2 as a sort of glorified warm-up, where you perform a few installation laps to see if everything’s installed correctly, and if the track conditions have changed.
      — Or is it going to be the sprint race, due to the aforementioned knock-on effects on FP2?
      That would mean the teams could use a completely different qualifying setup, before working on a race setup on Saturday.

      I haven’t been able to read the relevant documents yet, has anyone got around to it?

      1. From what I can see, Parc Fermé will be as usual but it’ll apply on Friday so no setup work can be done in FP2. I imagine they’ll use FP2 to do a race sim and see how long the tyres will last. It seems a bit crazy though that they’ll get 60 minutes to set the car up and that’s it… If you don’t get the setup nailed immediately, you’re whole weekend is screwed.

        1. someone or something
          8th July 2021, 12:29

          @petebaldwin
          I’m less preoccupied with the accuracy of car setups, 95% of that is sim work on known tracks anyway. If you find out you’re struggling to get it to work, you’re going to have a bad time, be it with one Free Practice session or three. Of course, if something unexpected happens and you miss FP1, then you’re screwed. Might as well deliberately break Parc Fermé to work on a suitable race setup on Saturday, and then start from the pitlane on Sunday.
          But then of course, it’d make no sense to take part in the sprint race, so you could just retire from that as well … This whole sprint race thing is so full of potential downward spirals when you think about it for more than a second.

          The thing is, FP2 might simply not be worth it. You have an opportunity for long runs in FP1 (which, as I said, you need to take because you want to know what tyre to use in the sprint race), and you’ll get another set of data from the sprint race, by looking at your own and other cars’ tyre performance. So, what exactly are you still trying to figure out that could justify putting even more mileage on your engine, on a track whose full throttle percentage is the same as Spa-Francorchamps’s?

          The risk I’m seeing her is that we might get a hectic Friday (no complaints thus far, but who really watches F1 on a Friday?), followed by a Saturday with two sessions where nothing happens.

          1. One thing I’ve read is some of the teams are worried about the plank on the bottom of the car – they’ll have to run it for longer than usual without changing it so they could have a problem there. There was also something a while back that some teams have clutches that need to be worked on regularly and they’ll have to go longer than usual on them now. It could well be that a few teams only do a small amount of running in FP2.

            1. @petebaldwin Not just the plank & Clutch, Seems most of the grid have raised concerns about numerous components as everything is designed around the normal weekend timetable & many of those components are things which cannot be modified due to the homologation rules and/or budget cap.

              Teams will usually run older components on Friday to keep wear off what they plan to take into the race. And even things they do plan to keep on the cars all weekend will need to be serviced before qualifying as everything on these cars has a mileage limit.

              They will now have to run the race bits basically all weekend with no opportunity for routine servicing & they simply weren’t designed for that. But as we have seen with many different things, Nobody thought of this stuff when the sprint idea was been discussed as everybody was looking only at the commercial details.

              Think about it. What was it that got all the teams to agree? The fact Liberty offered them more money, Something they weren’t doing initially which is why teams were sceptical at best. As soon as they were offered more money as well as additional financial compensation for any damage the cars suffer during a sprint race they all agreed to do it. And none of the additional details were discussed in any of those meetings, It was very much agree to the finances & then figure everything else out later which is why various negatives came up after the sprints had already been adopted.

              I believe the phrase would be that they put the cart before the horse.

            2. @gt-racer Not to be argumentative as you do seem to always have some insider info, but I find it hard to believe ‘everyone’ was just interested in the commercial side of this. I would have thought if anything that would have been moreso Liberty, whereas I would be very surprised if the teams weren’t all along talking more about the technical/components usage side of things for Sprint Quali weekends. And I thought they were quite on board with the idea while at the same time negotiating compensation for components usage and/or damage, and it wasn’t that they agreed only once there was said compensation in place. But hey, I’m just here in my armchair and at this point I think if things have been so neglected in forethought that will all come out at Silverstone via media and team comments and analysis as to the experience and what could improve it. I generally have thought Liberty and Brawn would have tried, along with the teams help, to see this all go off as smoothly as possible so that they could maximize the success rate of it, since there is so much rhetoric about Liberty doing everything they can to deem it a successful experiment no matter what.

            3. It seems to me that teams agreed partially because it’s only 3 weekends so that, along with the compensation package, probably persuaded them that there was a fairly low risk to parts etc.

              However, I’d imagine any team that planned any major upgrades has already ticked off on NOT bringing them to Silverstone because there’s simply not enough time to trial them. That was probably either unforeseen or completely missed by them.

              As @robbie points out, the teams all agreed to this, so they really can’t complain. If they agreed to it without thinking it through, or at least asking the questions about Parc ferme etc them more fool them. Surely it wasn’t just greed and the promise of more cash?

            4. @dbradock wasn’t it pointed out that the FIA had changed the regulations for 2020 and 2021 to reduce the number of votes that were needed for an in-season change to be made?

              Even if several teams objected, the rule change might have been pushed through anyway – it looks like they might have been told the change was coming, and the agreement to the financial terms was more because that was about the only thing they could resolve at the time.

    2. I look forward to them publishing the new rules

    3. I’ve heard that sprint qualy is set to begin at 7pm. Can someone confirm?

      1. @nmgn 16:30 locally.

      2. @nmgn The plan as of now is for Friday qualifying to start at 6pm local time with the Saturday sprint starting at 4:30pm local & running about half hour.

        However that could change as I gather some broadcasters have raised some issues with the times & that race promoters have also questioned if the Friday session running so late is good for fans sitting in the stands. I also heard that they had got some feedback from fans who had brought tickets that they didn’t want to be at the circuit until 7-8pm (Or later if there are any long delays).

        One of the hopes they have is that having qualifying on Friday will draw a larger crowd, Initial feedback actually seems to be showing they may draw less than they normally would for qualifying partly due to the normal issue of people at work/school on Fridays but also because the later start time is putting some people off going on Friday as they don’t want to be stuck in the stands so late.

        As somebody put it to me, Nobody has actually properly thought any of this through because most of those who were pushing for it & agreed to it did so based off commercial considerations. Liberty see it as a way to make more money, Promoters hope to sell more tickets & teams agreed as Liberty offered them more money. Beyond that nothing else was properly considered which is why so much of it is still been worked out.

        1. It’s interesting that the reaction to the time changes seem to have not gained much positive comment.

          I for one had just assumed that the 1st qualifying session would have been held at normal P2 time and the qualifying race would be at normal qualy time slot and had planned my weekend around that. I’m guessing ticket holders had assumed the same. To me it seems that the proposed new times have done nothing to help make this a “popular” change.

          Couple that with the need for a whole new set of regulations, which again look like creating some angst for teams and F1 is doing itself no favours.

          Let’s see how this pans out – I’m very much looking forward to reading the fine detail, something that had been mentioned ages ago as needing clarification before this idea proceeded.

        2. 6pm on a Friday ?!? Most people will be on the way back from work, dealing with kids etc etc FFS.

    4. So qualifying takes place in the afternoon rather than evening, after all. Not that I hugely mind, but I didn’t expect a timetable change this late.
      I wonder what ‘tweaks’ to next year’s technical regulation changes.

      1. @jerejj See my comment above regarding the start times potentially changing.

      2. @jerejj Where did you hear it was taking place on the afternoon? F1’s website/app still says it will be 6pm on Friday (UK time). Not trying to be argumentative, just curious.

        1. @randommallard Mentioned in this very article above.

          1. @jerejj Oh yeah my bad. Whether this actually means it will take place then, or just that the regulations need to be changed to allow Quali to take place on a Friday I’m less sure. With the current times of sunset in the UK, one could still quite reasonably call 6pm the afternoon.

    5. I’m curious on how this new sprint race will be considered in the rules.

      Qualifying is technically a practice session, so will this mini race stay as as that? or will it be named as something else without actually calling it a “race”

    6. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
      9th July 2021, 7:40

      It seems to me that the sport is managed by amateurs…

      1. It seems to be so now that we have liberty media changing everything left and right. It may now be impossible to compare any two successive seasons.

    7. Love how Verstappen gets a hyperlink but Lance Stroll doesnt. Says it all really

      1. Says Max is the Championship leader you mean?

    8. Sprint race? Is that where the drivers run to their cars at the start of the race?

    9. Sprint Race? So the front keeps their cars in one piece and the midfield may try something and the rear is trying everything ‘caus they have nothing to loose. Let’s wait and see who destroyes his car trying to get one or three points and ends up with a repaired wreck at the GP start. I really am curious how this wil end. Exciting?

    Comments are closed.