Next Year’s Regulations

My last blog about F1 was about Eddie Jordon, and his disrespect toward Michael Schumacher.

I find F1 a fascinating topic, just because there are so many cogs in the machine (literally and figuratively) that all add up to the fantastic show that it is. For instance, a modern F1 car is made up of 80,000 parts, and if it was assembled 99.9% correctly, it would still start the race with 80 parts missing or put together incorrectly. In addition to the actual mechanisms, there are the team members. The F1 teams employ hundreds of people that get none of the glory that the drivers and managers do, but they are the only reason why the team is running. For instance, the pit stop crew are vital to having a successful team, but nobody knows who they are. Also, the Red Bull Racing team pays their designer (Adrian Newey) more than they pay the drivers. The drivers are only a tiny representation of what a team is really capable of, even though people treat them like heroes.

Anyway, I thought that I would talk a bit about the regulation changes for the next season, which starts in March 2011. There are many interesting changes that the FIA just released. First: the technical revisions. The most major revision is the ability to now adjust the rear wing during a race. You can adjust the wing to limit downforce and increase straight line speed. The FIA decided to do this so that the chances of more overtaking during the races is boosted. You can only use the rear wing adjustment when you are one second behind another driver, and it will deactivate when the driver brakes. You can only start to use the system to laps into the race. As for the front wing, you can still shift it up or down 6 degrees one time a lap, and all other moveable body work regulations remain the same. The teams are not required to have the system if they don’t want to, but many drivers are saying that it will be a serious help as a tool for overtaking. The next biggest technical regulation change is the reintroduction of KERS. KERS stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System. This system is a bit like a battery, and it is charged when the driver uses the brakes. The driver can then press a button on his steering wheel, and the KERS system will give him a boost of up to 80 horsepower for a few seconds. This was also designed to help overtaking. Some smaller technical changes include a change in the minimum weight from 620 to 640kg, a second wheel tether on each wheel (to improve safety), and a ban of double diffusers and F-duct systems.

The FIA also introduced some revisions that have to due with driving and the team. The one I found most interesting is a curfew that has been introduced for the team members. The FIA seems to think that the teams overwork their employees, and that the employees must go and get some rest. So, if practice is starting at 10am, the curfew is from midnight to 6am. If practice is set to start at 11 am, the curfew is shifted back one hour. Also, the tire supplier change from Bridgestone to Pirelli also comes with a change in the tire system. Drivers get three sets of dry and wet tires for practices one and two, and then they get 8 sets of tires for the rest of the weekend (qualifying and race) to use as they please. The FIA hopes to create different tire strategies and more excitement on the grid. Another rule that is quite interesting is that during qualifying, if a driver fails to be within 107% of pole position, he will not be able to start the race. For instance, if pole position is a lap of 1:40 (100 seconds), a driver will not be able to race if he cannot go faster than 1:47. With that, the FIA have decided to crack down on “dirty” maneuvers and drivers taking unneseccary or dangerous actions will be penalized.

I hope that these new revisions increase the competition and overtaking. I also hope that with this blog, I might spark interest in some potential F1 fans. Can’t wait till March!

I got all the information about the regulations next year from f1.com, autosport.com, and F1 Racing Magazine.

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  1. Pingback: Portfolio Assessment Semester 2 « Tim's Blog

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