F1 tweaks flawed points rule, eases radio restrictions and approves new rain tyres

2023 F1 season

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The Formula 1 Commission has approved a series of rules changes for the 2023 season.

The commission, which involves representatives of all 10 F1 teams, met today in London. The meeting was chaired by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the recently-appointed FIA single seater director Nikolas Tombazis, who has taken over day-to-day running of the series from president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Among the items on the agenda was rewriting a rule introduced last year to award fewer points for shortened races. This caused confusion over the championship-deciding Japanese Grand Prix, where full points were unexpectedly awarded for a race which covered little more than half distance.

The new wording will “ensure that shorter races have reduced points even if they don’t finish with a suspended race”, F1 and the FIA noted in a joint statement. All rules changes agreed by the commission require the final approval of the FIA World Motor Sports Council before being added to the regulations in time for the start of the new season next week.

The commission has also agreed to “relax the regulation of radio messages to and from the drivers at all times during a competition”. Teams have previously been forbidden from communicating to their drivers during formation laps, a rule which was introduced to make it harder for drivers to perfect their starting procedures.

A new wet weather tyre construction has been approved for use from the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in May. The new tyre is said to be “much more” capable than the previous version and “does not require the use of tyre blankets”.

“The FIA is grateful for the offers of support made by the teams for the wet weather package project, as presented in the last F1 Commission meeting,” the statement added. “A technical directive is being prepared to allow teams to do such work outside the Aerodynamic Testing Restriction (ATR) limits and outside the cost cap. Track testing will be planned for the second or third quarter of 2023.”

Revisions to the sprint race regulations have been agreed which will give teams greater freedom to alter their cars between sessions. This will reduce “the current excessive workload on FIA technical staff and scrutineers during events that include a sprint session,” which was the governing body’s reason for initially objecting to an increase from three to six sprint races this year.

“The commission approved a revised parc fermé request acceptance policy, in which Sprint weekend parc fermé allows a greater scope to change components that are prone to getting damaged, and greater use of self-declared parc fermé forms,” the statement explained. “This will apply for the whole parc fermé period from when the car leaves for qualifying on Friday to when the car starts the [Sunday] race. This will be implemented via a technical directive.”

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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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17 comments on “F1 tweaks flawed points rule, eases radio restrictions and approves new rain tyres”

  1. Hopefully, FIA won’t contradict themselves next time a shortened race occurs, but I’m skeptical.

  2. Pirelli introducing a decent wet weather tyre for the first time in 13 years? I’ll believe it when I see it

    1. Coventry Climax
      21st February 2023, 23:09

      ‘Much more capable’ says nothing about the quality degree or, as you call it ‘decentness’.
      If you start out with zero quality, and improve that to being twice as goos, it’s still zero quality: 2 x 0 = 0
      There’s a reason these rimwraps are called Pirelli Zero’s.

      1. Coventry Climax
        21st February 2023, 23:09

        goos = good

      2. Ofc we’ll have to see them before believing them, but I think it’s a good thing they’re doing some effort to allow more running in extreme weather conditions, like the good old times.

    2. The problem I see is: A good wet weather tyre generally lifts a lot of water, but that then creates spray. It doesn’t matter how much grip you have, if the drivers can’t see anything they can’t race.

      I want to see the cars out battling in wet weather, but the tyres aren’t the biggest problem anymore. They’re still a big problem which needs solving, but on their own they won’t increase the amount of wet weather racing.

      1. Exactly. I think there is no point for a tyre that offers grip that will lead to too much water being lifted and poor visibility and no racing. They need to proceed the other way around. With the current car, how much spray can we race with, what does it mean for grip level and there you have the “full wet” tyre. Inter would then be aimed for conditions between full wet and slick.
        This will also narrow the gap between tyres and lap times making for interesting strategies.

        The other option to have them run in the wet is some kind of mud guard really, or forcing some aero side wash to spray the water sideway rather than up and in line…

        1. I think there’s a good case for wet weather setups, with different bodywork, possibly standardised clip-on parts which are designed to reduce spray (but will reduce performance). Race gets declared wet, everyone must pit for wet bodywork, then when it gets declared clear it’s up to the teams to decide when/if they remove it.

  3. The new tyre is said to be “much more” capable than the previous version and “does not require the use of tyre blankets”.

    Yeaaaa let’s see it.

    Plot twist – it’s the same wet tyre but with a different color. All drivers feel no difference to the current wet tyre.

    1. Can’t tell it’s the same tyre if you’re never allowed to use it…

      1. True, they basically only used them in conditions that were intermediates already, so ofc they were slower than intermediates and drivers rushed in to change them.

  4. I think the points rule was fine as it was. There is a big difference between a Monaco 1984 situation where a race is suddenly stopped and not restarted, and a Japan 2022 situation where a race is planned to be shortened when it restarts and the teams know exactly how long it will be. The first is far more prone to a random event and luck plays more of a part, so it makes sense for it to be awarded fewer points than the latter example.

    1. I think the points rule was fine as it was.

      Yes. But the media couldn’t be bothered to read the rule and got it so terribly wrong that the rule must have been flawed.

      1. Nor could any of the teams, then, given that even RBR were highly surprised when Max was declared to have won.

        And in the defence of all those who “couldn’t be bothered to read the rule”, the change goes so far outside the stated aim that it is unsurprising that nobody expected it. In fact, particularly given the change for this season, it’s highly likely that it was a mistake in writing the rules rather than an intentional change last year.

  5. Nice to know the drivers will now have a tyre they can use to drive around behind the Safety Car until it’s dry enough to pit for inters.

    1. Hopefully that means they will actually race in full wet conditions.

      1. Not while you have a race director who lets the complaints of the guy on pole and lined up for a free win keep it under a safety car. If the drivers don’t think it’s safe they can pit or drive slower. Unless cars are aquaplaning off on the straights then they should be under green in the wet.

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