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FIA World Council decisions: What you need to know
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FIA World Council decisions: What you need to know
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Dec 2012   |  1:16 pm GMT  |  64 comments

The World Motor Sport Council met yesterday to ratify some detailed changes to the F1 calendar for 2013 and to the sporting and technical regulations.

The main headline is that the FIA and the commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone are keen to insert a 20th race, to fill the gap left by the postponed New Jersey race.

The German Grand Prix will move to July 7th (from 14th July) to make room for a race on July 21st.

The Turkish Istanbul Park race track has confirmed an agreement in principle to host the race, which would fall one week before the Hungarian Grand Prix. However the deal is awaiting Turkish government approval, according to Associated Press. Problems of funding the event have dogged it in the past.

“The date for the 2013 Grand Prix of Germany has been moved to 7 July, and 21 July has been reserved for another F1 European event, subject to the approval of the relevant ASNs,” said the FIA statement. There has been talk of the return of the French Grand Prix, but sources in France say that there is no evidence of funding for this, particularly state or regional government funding.

Other small, but important details include:

- Drag Reduction System (DRS) will no longer be allowed in practice and qualifying sessions, except in the the DRS zone(s) which have been earmarked for use during the race. There were some concerns over safety at some circuits, as cars were close to being out of control at times. This move will add around half a second on average to qualifying lap times, as the DRS was a powerful tool. The benefit will only be felt on the straights now.

- On 2014 Hybrid engines: a new draft of the technical regulations was agreed to keep development costs under control, which will in turn make the cost to the customer teams lower. They are doing this by limiting technology in some areas.

Also they have postponed until 2017 the requirement for cars to be driven exclusively under electric power in the pit lane.

* A reminder that entries close at 19-00hrs UK time tonight for the chance to tour the Mercedes F1 factory on December 10th, where Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s new car is being built. Ten fans will accompany JA on this special behind the scenes tour. To enter, click MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

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64 Comments
  1. Michael says:

    Thanks James, but what about the scrapping to the proposed changes of the aero regs? Any idea what this will mean?

    1. ronmon says:

      If they really were interested in transferring F1 technology to road cars they would reduce aero downforce and focus more on mechanical grip. Many modern street legal cars have active suspensions and this is the way I think they should be going.

      FIA and Bernie like to spout “green” initiatives like KERS and the smaller displacement V6 engines, but it is all hogwash. The amount of fuel used by the racing cars is nothing compared to what is burned getting the teams to tracks all over the world.

      It’s too bad that so many people believe the lies that the spin doctors are spewing. But image is everything these days, isn’t it?

      1. AndyK says:

        I despise the whole “have to be seen to be doing something” culture… never mind whether anything is actually being done..

      2. Rich C says:

        Its not their job to concern themselves with transferring tech to road cars.

        Its their job to go faster than the next guy. None of this is patented so anyone can copy it for their road cars or the space shuttle, w/e.

        Many road cars – grandma’s Caddy for example – are more advanced than F1 cars because F1 outlaws stuff like active suspension, 4-wheel drive, 4 wheel steering, etc etc.

      3. Martin says:

        Just on active suspension, it was never about mechanical grip but ride height control to maximise the downforce from the underside of the car.

        For any kind of realistic transfer to road cars the tyres would need to change a lot too. The great majority of the travel is in the tyres, so wheel diameter would need to increase significantly from 13 inches.

        As the power is pretty much determined, what we’d end up with is very high power Formula Ford cars. The straighline speeds might go up to about 340 km/h where currently they do 320 with DRS, but corner speeds would be much less and braking distances huge. Great for racing, but it would reduce the differences between the really great drivers and the cars individually would appear less impressive compared to road cars.

        Personally, I can’t see F1 moving away from wings. The FIA is trying to curtail power for safety reasons, which puts all differentiation between the drivers on braking and turn in phase.

        Cheers,
        Martin

    2. Scott says:

      I wondered that too, and thought that Red Bull would be fairly happy given the pivotal role of aerodynamic performance on their car.

      Also, do we think that any particular team or teams will suffer more from the restriction of DRS use in qualifying. I suspect the two issues are linked in terms of their impact on performance.

      1. Enzo says:

        Or not, the margins to be found are getting smaller, this gives other teams a better chance to catch up.

        A a Ferrari fan, i’m not sure if i would like the idea of Newey starting with a clean sheet.;)

  2. Jon Wilde says:

    So where is the German Grand Prix taking place?

      1. Rich C says:

        LOL
        Are you sure?

  3. Vic says:

    just double checking, so the DRS is only allowed in the DRS zones during the race only? or in the DRS zones at any point during the weekend?

    1. James Allen says:

      Only in the DRS zone (or both DRS zones if there are two) at all times during the weekend

      1. Nick says:

        The DRS zones are located where they are to promote overtaking during the race, so why are these the most appropriate places to use it in qualifying? Seems a bit arbitrary. DRS was only created to aid overtaking, not to make cars go faster down the straights, so it seems strange that it is allowed at all in qualifying. Why not just limit its use to what it was designed for?

      2. Tim Burgess says:

        +1 Perfect logic.

      3. paoloc says:

        I suppose it is ment to give teams the chance of testing it during the days before the race.

      4. Liam in Sydney says:

        So that rookie’s can at least practice with them on a Friday?

      5. Nitin says:

        I guess they will need it at least during practice to get the required data while DRS is in use.

      6. Andy says:

        Agreed. I never understood the logic of allowing unlimited use of DRS during practice and qualifying. I don’t know why it has taken two seasons to stop the teams from doing it either.

      7. Jani says:

        Teams need data from practice to set correct gear ratios so that they don’t get to the limiter half way down the straight with DRS open.

        And if it would be limited to race only teams would have to maximise their qualifying performance by setting shorter 7th gear because that’s faster on single lap but overtaking would be impossible in race. Fear is that teams would still risk that if they could qualify higher and then DRS would be useless.

      8. Rudy says:

        Be aware of the fact that what you propose could give as a result faster race lap times than qualifying ones. And of course, the gear ratio set-up already mentioned in the above comments.

  4. franed says:

    So under the new F1 strategy group we are seeing Bernie’s influence on the rules already. The reigning in of even potential progress on the electrical side reflects Bernie’s dislike of the hybrid direction which F1 must move in to survive.

    The audience has diminished considerably, but things are arranged so that FOM gets paid even if no one watches on tv or turns up at the track. As tv goes to Sky in Italy next year, we shall hopefully get some noteworthy reaction from the tiffosi.

    Meanwhile the situation has worsened and become even more repressive in Bahrain, not that this will affect the conscience of the FIA or FOM.

    Surely the F1 strategy group sails very close to the wind as far as the ruling of the EU commission is concerned. As I recall the FIA were to write the rules in conjunction with the teams and not handle the commercial side, while FOM would only handle the commerce.

    1. Rich C says:

      If you want thigs to stay the same in Bahrain and NOT get better, then don’t go there – just ignore it.

      The world didn’t know much if anything about their little problem until F1 went there and shone a big spotlight on it.

      So which do you want? a “better” Bahrain or not to hear about it?

    2. Martin says:

      Yes, secret concorde agreements are wonderful things.

  5. richard says:

    Hi James.
    will engine development freezing be in place through 2014 season and after that?

  6. Dave says:

    So if Turkey is back it won’t be for just 1 year, so will Bernie be looking to drop another race for 2014 as it’s unlikely the teams will agree to extending the calendar beyond 20 races.

    1. Ski says:

      They already did. The new Concorde agreement allows up to 22 races.

  7. Fernando Cruz says:

    What about giving reserve drivers time to run before FP1, so that main drivers don’t lose track time? I think FIA talked about this a year ago but unfortunately has done absolutely nothing to change things!

    It shouldn’t be allowed the sort of situation we have seen this year, with a driver losing 15 FP1s while his team mate was always in the car. F1 is supposed to be a sport and all competitors should be given equal chances to perform. I think FIA should think more about equity between drivers and not only between teams.

    1. Tim says:

      I’d like to see a system where there’s a sprint race, but the only drivers eligible are ones who haven’t previously raced F1, and this goes towards the constructors championship. That would become your development series.

      The alternative way to give reserve drivers a better go without punishing one driver or another within a team would be to say drivers can only participate in 50% of FP1 sessions, but that would never fly and has too many other associated problems.

      1. Rich C says:

        They already have series for inexperienced drivers!

        You seriously think F1 teams should build and maintain and repair extra cars so that some bunch of noobies can go out and crash them??

        Get a grip!

      2. Adriano says:

        There is a very serious problem though, in that, due to lack of/no testing, newbies arrive in F1 with ridiculously little experience of the machinery (and we’ve all seen the consequences!). I really don’t understand why we can’t kill two birds with one stone here and offer up Thursdays or Mondays to testing with non-championship drivers.

    2. Rich C says:

      SO now you want the FIA to micromanage the internals of all the teams? They couldn’t manage a 1-car funeral!

      Leave team management to the teams!

      1. Fernando Cruz says:

        I’m just talking about something FIA talked some time ago and that wouldn’t mean to micromanage the internals of the teams! All free practice would be for main drivers and reserve drivers would have an extra session, before FP1 according to what the FIA said at the time (after 2011 season I think). It would be a fair solution for everybody and I don’t know why this was not implemented! There is a World Championship for drivers, so all drivers participating in a F1 season should have the same amount of track time during the year!

  8. Glennb says:

    “Drag Reduction System (DRS) will no longer be allowed in practice and qualifying sessions, except in the the DRS zone(s) which have been earmarked for use during the race”.

    Great decision :)

    1. Ian says:

      +1

      DRS as an overtaking aid has greatly enhanced a lot of otherwise processional races, but being able to use it anywhere in practice and qualifying had no real justification.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Could that hit Vettel harder than Webber? Seb always seemed to be first on the DRS and last off compared to his teammate (well everyone I suppose but the comparison to webber meant the car was at least equal in other regards).

      1. Martin says:

        I don’t know for sure, but to me Webber seemed further away from Vettel in race conditions than qualifying this year. My attempts at the maths suggest that the difference you are noticing is really in the “every tiny bit helps” category. If we take James 0.5 seconds over an entire lap, being 0.1 seconds earlier will be in the thousandths at best.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        I see what you mean but I think Webber’s main failing on Sundays has often been terrible starts (I think I heard him mention that himself as the area he needs to work on for next year) – which is before there’s any DRS involvement at all.

        I just always suspected that the Red Bull ‘syncs’ with the DRS better as it seems to remain rear-end stable in qualifying with the flap open much earlier and later than any one else. I got the feeling Seb accepted this, while Mark just couldn’t seem to quite get his head around it. It could simply be that Vettel is just a lot faster in his reaction times. But it’s just seem to have been the case in recent years that when the car is less controlled, Webber has held the upper hand (pre the automatic throttle levelling in 2010 and some of the earlier 2012 campaign).

        My thinking was that if DRS is no longer free throughout the lap in quali, it would likely hit Vettel more obviously than Webber.

        But if it’s only thousandths as you suggest then Mark probably just has a lot more work to do before he packs his bags for Ferrari in 2014 ;)

      3. Martin says:

        My understanding of Webber vs Vettel and blown exhausts is something like this:
        Early 2010, around the Spanish GP, Webber works out a cornering technique that allows him to get on the throttle earlier (pre normal apex) and maximise the mid-corner grip. Clouding the issue is the cracked chassis that Vettel had (unknown to me if this was a self inflicted problem or a manufacturing one, but Webber later used it when it was repaired).

        Renault develops the cold blowing technology through the year and this aids the grip under braking and turn in. Whatever there is going on, Vettel is able to exploit it and hot blowing (from Korea 2011) better.

        This year, from journalists being trackside, the common comment is that Vettel is using a lot of throttle (more than Webber, and pretty much everyone) while braking to energise the exhausts. This doesn’t appear to hurt him too badly in terms of fuel consumption, although this is difficult to know. On turn-in the Red Bull would have a lot of rear grip and load, and then that load would manifest into a small degree of oversteer prior to the apex. This early rotation of the car allows the drivers to accelerate earlier. The suggestion is that Vettel is initially more aggressive with the throttle and then manage the consequences of it.

        Vettel’s feel for opening the DRS earlier than Webber might be an indicator that he can fine tune more things elsewhere.

        To me it was interesting in the podcast that Darren Heath, who spends more time trackside than most, seems to have Vettel as the top of the pile for on track skills.

        Just on Hamilton, the commentary I’ve read suggests that his primary edge comes from braking late and being able to induce oversteer even in short corners, replicating the Red Bull characteristic of turn-in oversteer. The suggestion was that in Abu Dhabi, the last section of track was filled with corners too short for the Red Bull to be full effective, while Lewis was much quicker than Jenson.

        Hopefully that is some use. I’m trusting journalists here, such as Mark Hughes, rather than this being my observations from the TV.

        Cheers,
        Martin

      4. AuraF1 says:

        Thanks Martin, that was a very helpful answer.

    3. The Catman says:

      -1

      Being able to open DRS earlier than another driver in qualifying is something seperating better cars/drivers for the average.

      Think this favours Ferrari as this year they were relatively quicker on Sunday (limited DRS) compared to Saturday (free DRS)

      TC

  9. Werewolf says:

    The German GP date change means a clash with the country’s MotoGP round and the DTM’s high profile and hugely well supported Norisring event. I also notice the Goodwood website is now saying the Festival of Speed is date TBC, having originally been scheduled for the same weekend.

    All in all, a very parochial decision that cannot be popular in many quarters. The conspiracy theorists will no doubt have fun, too.

  10. Chris NZ says:

    I’d like to see another track host that 20th race, Like Jerez, Portmao, Paul Richard, Imola, maybe Magny Cours, possibly Le Mans, Brno in the Czech Republic maybe.

  11. Nandan says:

    I think the DRS rule might benefit Ferrari. They supposedly had a weak DRS system for 2 years and RBR now can’t do their stunts of going into a fast turn with the DRS open.

    James, there was another decision regarding stoppage in Q3 and the remove of the Force Majuare rule. Could you shed light on that?

    1. trullifan says:

      ‘I think the DRS rule might benefit Ferrari.’

      I think you are right. RBR and McL will not be happy to hear this. It might suit Lotus well as well.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      I wondered about that Force Majeure ruling change. So is that simply because losing Lewis and Seb to the back of the grid made the sport look a bit arbitary and unfair? Or is there a specific technical reason to include the fuel that ‘should’ have been there?

  12. granddad says:

    agree that the DRS be used only in the zones. but would like to add that cars be fueled for Qualifying and the race.
    In other words no added fuel after qualifying

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      Which session in Q? Q3 or all Q?

    2. Rich C says:

      Which would remove one more bit of strategy.

    3. Martin says:

      Why do you want the cars to qualify full of fuel? I’m curious.

      Teams with more efficient engines already have an advantage at the start of the race. You could get teams light filling in qualifying and then running low power in the race in some circumstances – especially in Monaco.

  13. John Woodrooffe says:

    Thanks for the update James – On the aero side, do you know if will we see the end of the platypus noses next year?

    1. Rich C says:

      Not if the platypusses have any say in it!

    2. RodgerT says:

      The basic shape will still be there, but the teams will be allowed to use a non-structural break away “modesty panel” over the stepped area for at aesthetic purposes.

    3. The Catman says:

      As RodgerT says, structurally the platypus will remain but the step will probably be covered for aesthetic and drag reasons, so they should look better.

      TC

  14. Any chance of a French GP at Ricard should Turkey fall through?

    1. Tim says:

      ecclestone owns both. He could gouge himself with outrageous fees, while simultaneously giving himself a huge discount.

      Tim

      1. Nandan says:

        I would love it if A1 Ring or Imola could return.

  15. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    Is this a potential blow to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton? I saw it as their window of opportunity much like Brawn in 2009 but one which has now closed

  16. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Seems like this is the deathnell for Mercedes’ system.

    1. RodgerT says:

      Mercedes, and Red Bulls systems were both out for next year anyway. Any secondary use of the DRS has been banned.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Ross Brawn said their specific DDRS system had led them down the wrong path and it wouldn’t be pursued anyway in 2013.

      As I understand it the Lotus system that never really got launched properly should still be legal next year so I expect we’ll see a few teams going down that route.

  17. Elie says:

    It’s definitely the right decision to limit DRS to the places they only use it on race day. This means that Sat Quali should not be so advantages with teams with an aero/ drs advantage.

    Absolutely fantastic to see Istanbul park back! Can’t wait already..If there’s little chance of Magny Cors has there been any talk of Imola ??

  18. Matt W says:

    Are there any plans to do anything about the poor attendance at the Turkish GP James? It is all very well having this great purpose built circuit but it all feels a tad pointless if the actual host nation can’t fill the stands.

  19. Cedricbaum says:

    James I have heard some rumours about the possibility of the Austrian GP filling the vacant spot on the 2013 calendar if the Tuerkish GP fails to get the financial backing it needs from its government. How plausible is that rumour? Have you got any further information on this? Personally I would love to see the Austrian GP back on the F1 calendar as I love the track and its history.

    Cheers

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