F1 Winter Break
FIA announce Pirelli F1 tyre supply and important rule changes
FIA announce Pirelli F1 tyre supply and important rule changes
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jun 2010   |  8:50 pm GMT  |  236 comments

It’s been a big day for the sport with the announcement that Pirelli will be the sole tyre supplier for the next three seasons and a raft of detailed rule changes, including driver adjustable bodywork and the return of the 107% rule in qualifying, to eliminate slow cars.

Pirelli was the choice of the majority of F1 teams and of Bernie Ecclestone. The FIA preferred the idea of Michelin, as did McLaren and Ferrari in particular. It is quite a big ask for the Italian company, which has been active in World Rally, but has not made an F1 tyre since 1991, when it supplied Benetton and Brabham with tyres which were pretty effective in qualifying, but less so in the race. F1 tyre technology has moved on a long way since then, but the offer in terms of cost to the teams and number of tyres available was more attractive to the majority of teams.

The statement from the FIA World Council announcing the move noted, “The sole supplier will undertake to strictly respect the sporting and technical regulations implemented by the FIA.” One of the key areas will be safety, with Pirelli needing to ensure that at high load circuits like Silverstone and Suzuka there is no repeat of the problems at Indianapolis in 2005.

F1 will be moving into new territory next season with this development. There will be major challenges for the design teams to deal with vehicle dynamics which will be quite different from what they are used to with Bridgestone.

HRT cars would have missed races with 107% rule this year (Darren Heath)

Also announced today was the return of the 107% rule, whereby any car not setting a time within 107% of the fastest time in Q1 will not be allowed to take part in the Grand Prix. This was dropped when single lap qualifying was introduced in 2002.

There are exceptional circumstances, whereby if a team can demonstrate that a car has set competitive lap times in practice despite failing to do so in qualifying, they may be allowed to race.

This will be quite tough on the 13th team, due to come into the sport next season. 107% around a track like Barcelona is around six seconds. This year the cars of Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi were just inside this, while the HRT cars were outside. However since then the HRTs have improved and all 24 cars were inside the 107% margin in Istanbul, for example.

There is also an intriguing new technical rule to encourage overtaking, which will allow driver operated bodywork, to be deployed only when a car is close behind another. “The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated, ” said the statement.

The minimum weight limit has been raised to 640 kilos, to allow for work on the adjustable rear wings which are likely to result from this new rule. The idea will be to give the car following another more downforce, to encourage an overtake. There are many aspects to overtaking, from varying levels of mechanical grip (as we see in the rain), circuit layout and track position of fast cars relative to slow ones. The way the new rule is worded will be tricky to police, but the FIA reserves the right to modify the rules if it’s not working with a gap of one second.

It has been confirmed meanwhile that drag reducing F Duct wings are banned next season.

Also in the aftermath of the Singapore crash scandal, the FIA has confirmed that it is likely to implement a new system of licences for team members, similar to those for drivers. This is a ‘fit and proper person’ test in many ways and also gives the FIA a lever over key decision makers, which it did not have in the Renault case over Singapore.

There are also little tidy-up rule changes to prevent repeats of the confusion in Monaco when Michael Schumacher passed Fernando Alonso behind the safety car. From now on, if a race finishes behind the safety car, the drivers are not allowed to overtake when the safety car pulls into the pits for the chequered flag. There is another to prevent drivers running out of fuel at the end of qualifying, as Lewis Hamilton did in Montreal.

Cars now have to make it back to the pits under their own steam if a fuel sample is required.

These are all interesting new developments and are sure to figure prominently on the agenda when the fans meet the teams at the FOTA Fans Forum, powered by Santander, next week in London.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Is this a typo ? seems like the sentence end prematurely.

"One of the key areas will be safety, with Pirelli needing to ensure that at high load circuits like Silverstone and Suzuka there is no repeat"


I think the 107% should be subjected to the Steward's discretion. For example, if the lap was 107.02% of pole, then the driver should be allowed to race.


Also, if a driver fails to complete a lap in Q1, due to mechanical issues, or a crash, the stewards will be able to allow the driver to compete based on FP times.


I believe that this rule is very flawed.

If a Competitor does not make it into Q2, they will have no idea if they have qualified or not - as the target time will be set 40 minutes later.

(Once the target time is set, they have no opportunity to respond.)

This will be a total shambles.


The 107% rule is for Q1 only.


If they are bringing back the 107% rule they should also allow unlimited testing for teams who fall outside it.

This would include any new teams up until the point they qualified within the 107%.

(Or ideally until they scored a point.)

Expecting new teams to be able to perform without testing is unreasonable.


With the three round qualifying and the changing conditions we are seeing this year then the 107% rule has to be loosely applied. What if we have tropical rain in Q1 in a hot country by Q3 the track would be dryer and qualifying speeds would be a huge improvement.

In theory we could loose 8 cars from the race.

I am not convinced any as it makes the job for a new team impossible... trying to get sponsors but not being allowed to appear on the circuit to display the logo's and therefore not having the investment to get quicker... pure catch 22


Yes, when the 107% rule was used in the past, the interpretation was quite loose, especially if a team sets a quick enough time in practice to justify starting the race.


Total rubbish about saving money -

Wouldn't it be simpler and cheaper to allow any use of KERS as many times that you can power it up but stop the leading car using KERS - and save half a mill per team on the movable body work ??????


I suspect that movable wings will be a lot cheaper than KERS. Plus, in their current (2009 spec) form, some KERS systems can't really work much longer than they already are, hence McLaren's objection to increasing their output.


Right - so what if a driver was 107.03% outside pole? .04? .05? .06?

At some point a line must be drawn. Otherwise there is no rule.


So is KERS not on the agenda for next year then? No mention in the press release.


Really disappointing to see that the FIA hasnt mandated KERS after all that "Green F1" talk. I wonder if this "we will let you activate only if you are one second behind" is an idea well thought out.

What would happen in a circuit like Monza where there is quite a long straight before the start finish line a driver is in second place trailing the leading car by 8/10s of a second on the last lap?

Surely the trailing car will win?


KERS was never banned and would be legal to run this year, its just that the FOTA members agreed not to use it.

As it wasn't mentioned in the press release it remains available to use in 2011.


It is still in this year's regs, and probably the next years. The reason it isnt being used is due to gentlemen's agreements.


The Teams have already decided to allow Kers next year, Ferrari, Renault and I think williams are definitely planning to run it and I'm sure most of the others will if they can - that is one of the reasons for raising the overall car weight; allow for Kers. Remember it was never written out of the regulations, it was merely FOTA which decided not to run Kers, and now they have decided to run it next year.


KERS IS in the rules, FOTA(the teams) decided not to use it for this year, but they have agreed to bring it back next year. Again, its up to the teams, not FIA.


So "driver operated bodywork" - we're talking about being able to flatten the nose and/or rear wing when a complex system of sensors says you are allowed to, in order to reduce drag? Is this really progress - or am I going mad?


It's not you but the FIA going mad. These constant niggling at the rules, each outdoing the last for complication, is going to kill OUR sport. How about a chassis, wheels, engine, manual gear box and a DRIVER, put them together on a race track and see who wins. Now there is a novel idea!!!!!


Indeed, one would hope that with less efficient diffusers next year (bar for the loophopes that teams are able and allowed to exploit next year) the rising wake from the rear of cars will be reduced and it will become easier to follow. KERS should also aid in this area.

It is interesting that the regulation says "movadle aerodynamic devices" and yet most press articles write "rear wings". There is either a footnote that I have missed, or the regulation is much wider than anticipated.

Finally, the regulation does not mention F-duct, but devices relying on driver movement. Presumably, the "automatic" system being developed by Mercedes should fall out of this regulation.


I've got no argument with driver-adjustable wings, but I do with all of the gimmicks that come with it. Give the driver a button, or a lever, and let him/her adjust the wings whenever he/she wants to.


It's a horrendous idea. It's like in a computer game when the car behind is automatically faster to keep on racing. I hate it.


Sounds like a recipe for a crash to me, Grody.



Can such a system be expected to function as intended in all cars all of the time?


Crazy, trying to make the racing more exciting. How is this cost cutting or effective.

Ban the double diffuser, control the airflow / dirty air from the rear of the car and give them an overtake button - full stop.

Bring back fuel stops because now we are only seeing teams conserving their cars rather than racing to the chequered flag. To many variables to control the outcome of a race.


double diffuser is banned, they do have a button (activate kers), the adjustable wings are the way to deal with the airflow


As far as I know the double diffuser is not banned - is it for next season ?

Is Kers available next season as it wasn't mentioned in the brief ? I know the teams are discussing it. The discussion about the weight increase was for Kers but here it says it is for the changing aero systems...

Why don't they just leave it for a few years to see how it goes, the teams get to save money re-developing cars and instead improve their cars. They say they want the smaller teams to improve but give them no chance of true development to compete ???

Over it. I'll just try and enjoy the racing.

Since F1 has become the way it is, I have begun enjoying watching NASCAR, something I never thought I would say in my life.


Totally agree.

The complicated rule of when a driver is allowed to change bodywork is really going to help the accessibility of F1 to new and occasional fans - sounds dreadful!


I'm imagining cars that will completely transform, robot-style, for certain parts of the course. How ridiculous!


I've always liked the idea of the cars flattening out on the straights and then flaring up in the corners, with bodywork popping up all over the place to slow the car down.


The adjustable rear wing:

"It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit."

I don't like this at all... It seems a bit unfair on the guy defending. I'd prefer to see drivers only able to do it a certain amount of times per race.

It just seems too artificial for one driver to be able to adjust his wing and overtake... we'll have to see how much of an advantage it gives but I don't think it'll be much fun seeing one driver activate his wing then just breezing past. It would be much more interesting if like I say it was limited to a certain amount of activations per race then the driver could opt to use it to attack or defend.


The thing is, down the stright the car behind can reduce drag and get alongside into a braking zone. Then they are unable to revert back to a higher downforce setup and sail off the track or are repassed in the corner...

I think that it will take a skilled driver to use it effectivly.


Last time I looked, KERS will be back next season. So it all depends how the KERS system compares to the adjustable wing system in terms of performance and thus could be used for defensive purposes. Also, I think the adjustable rear wing might be more useful for rear tyre preservation and therefore aiding overtaking in a secondary way too.


The wording is really confusing for me - I'd like to hear someone in the know give their interpretation.

Of course, thereby lies the crux of the matter; interpretation. What odds do you give on having another Double Diffuser situation as each team puts their individual spin on their interpretations and push the boundaries to the max?

Don't get me wrong - I love to see the technical innovations these guys come up with. But for me, the sport (sic) gets polluted and farcical when the racing is in essence carried out by the lawyers.

By the way, is it just me, or do others also believe that the changes in the wings introduced in 2009 were designed to simplify the wings? All the little vanes, winglets, strakes and so forth were supposed to be eradicated, but now look at them!

Simplify the regulations - make the wings one plane, with a max outline from the top, sides and front, and you can control the downforce and backwash better.

But what do I know?


Agreed, this is to artificial, they car behind is allowed to use it but not the car infront .... be safer and similar to just make the car infront pull over


I agree that it is far too artificial, they might as well have a push to pass button or a push to slow button for the car in front - that way they could save fuel and promote their green credentials! 😉

But genuinely, I think this is the FIA going too far trying to 'improve the show' with measures that ignore the real issues at the heart of the matter of overtaking.


Agree. Reminds me of those arcade games where the car behind was always much faster than the car in front.

Overtaking is an art, not a right.

Some people need to understand F1 can sometimes be boring. It's just like any other love relationship.


I agree. I'm generally in favour of KERS as a push to pass but only if the defender can also use it as a push to defend. This is just far too artificial. I hate these stupid gimmicks.


I agree with you. Seems like FIA is resorting to gimmicks... i see the excitement of overtakes diminishing from next season onwards... it will become a joke!!!


indy cars have over take buttons and a maximum of 20 uses per race which makes it a tactical thing. If the rear wing has no limit then surely it will just get to a point where on each lap, whoever is behind overtakes, then the next lap the overtaken guy overtakes! I agree, bad for the guy defending


Interesting choice of pirelli. I thought Michelin had the better recent pedigree but sure they have enough time to get it right.

when bridgestone came in they did loads of testing round suzuka didn't they (I remember the White red and black car).

How will pirelli be allowed to test? Please tell me they won't be testing Ferrari.........

The teams might struggle to pay the price of their p zeros next season if they are anywhere as expensive as the ones on my Porsche.


What is wrong with Ferrari????


they are evil 8)

Zobra Wambleska

You mean other than giving them a massive advantage over everyone else by getting the tires dialed in?


I think the insinuation is that they might choose to be doing the majority of testing with Ferrari, thus potentially giving Ferrari an advantage.

I think the FIA know that they couldn't let this happen, realistically.


NOTHING is wrong with Ferrari, IF you're a Ferrari fan! But, "apparently", IF Ferrari is allowed to test, it will "obviously" give them an "unfair" advantage because that would mean that Pirelli was developing the tires "only" with Ferrari's best interests as their base! (I apologize, I'm being terribly facetious, here; but, I couldn't resist putting forth this "conspiracy" theory BEFORE a "non"-Ferrari fan does! =;-)


nothing, but in the past they have had their 'own' tyre supply and used it to engineer a tyre advantage for their team, leading to monotony


I think he was wondering whether Ferrari would get an unfair advantage by being able to test the tyres.


As far as I heard Nick Heidfeld may do some testing short term, while the F1 teams will stay in Abu Dhabi after the GP to do some testing


will this start another "Tyre favoring driver style discussion"? I remember when Michelin left F1 Alonso, Kubica and Raikonnen's driving styles were disadvantaged and Heidfeld, Button and Co were at an advantage.

Is there any such prediction with the Pirelli tyres already?


Wouldn't that give Merc an unfair advantage in terms of assessing the tires or the feedback from Nick will be made available to all?


Nick Heidfeld testing and not racing.

What a god damned travesty.


It will be interesting to see how much the rear wing will be allowed to move. Stability and balance might be challenging to get right.

What kind of strategic advantage can be had? A team-mate cooperative of swapping positions may save fuel as well as improve lap times for both cars.

The seventh gear ratio will be a fine compromise for qualifying and then race. Start position might not be as critical, so qualifying pace might be slower than "usual" so as to be able to accelerate (not hit the rev limit) when the wing has a shallower angle in the race.


Good point about using it to cooperatively swap positions. It needn't even be team-mates, you could imagine a championship contender working with one or two non championship contenders to make a breakaway from a championship rival. Perhaps all planned in secret before the race.

I don't think this is the kind of direction I want to see F1 taking.


Last I heard, you aren't able to use the movable rear wing within the first two laps of a race. Maybe James you might be able to confirm that?


the rule is understood, but its not clear where it applies to the post? there might be some ambiguity in the first point, where I mean the ability to move the wing being in how much angle.


How about soon after an SC restart?

could well end up in a big pile of cars given that everyone will be keeping close proximity to the ones ahead under SC!!!


James, glad to hear the tyre issue has been resolved but not particurly impressed with the adjustable rear wing idea, do you think fota have become overly obsessed with overtaking now?

As a die hard fan i want there to be overtaking as much as anybody else but i also appreciate brilliant defensive driving like say Senna at Monaco 92. This seems to have just taken this away and to a certain extent fabricated racing from next year a little which is a big shame. I think they have gone too far


i agree. think the ajustable rear wings is going to far.

why not just keep the f duct (considering how much time and money everyone has invested, or allow flexible wings back.

what i would prefer is that the drivers can use the flap unlimited whether attacking or defending


I'm glad i'm not alone in disliking this wing idea...

Someone above described at "artificial" which was my first thought too...

Overtaking is a good thing, but why do I think they are treating the symptom and not the disease? Overtaking will become a joke if it becomes so likely that we expect every car that arrvies behind another to be able to get past...it should be difficult but i believe that the cars should be equal as much as possible to allow the pass...as we've seen aero flow is not the only factor so although the guy behind is at a disadvantge in the dirty air, once he's close enough (0.2s ish) behind he does get the natural tow...tyres and mechanical grip seem to be the way forward...

I think they maybe changing too much in one go...tyres, large difusers gone, KERS and now adjustable wings, how do we know which of these changes is working best? maybe the kers and lack of a large difuser would be enough?

I'm not sure about this one, but I guess we'll see. Driver feedback is what we need... they need to test the overtaking qualities of the car as much as anything else...but that doesn't happen until the first race! Yet that is what we all want to see...maybe a test day to test the overtaking rules would be a good idea!


Yes thats the point... it seems to me that with these gimmicks.. overtaking will soon lose its charm!!!


Yes rather than being about the wings if they want to increase overtaking get rid of mechanical grip!


Yes, perhaps by switching to shonky tyres from a manufacturer with a track record of producing uncompetitive race rubber 😉


Im on the fence on the 107% rule. Since its only Q1 times that are used as the yardstick, you'd think that all the current teams will be well within the times and shouldnt fail to qualify. Most/all the top teams seem to favour the harder compond tyres for Q1 which slows the times down further, and the new guys will have 1 years experience in making their cars, which will hopefully be quicker.

However for the new (undescided) team, it could be a different matter. Perhaps the FIA will allow them extra development/testing to ensure we done have another USF1 failure or HRT cutting it fine on the opening GP.


I'm wondering whether the top teams will get their drivers to alternate doing a super-fast lap at each race, to try and eliminate some backmarkers.

Or maybe it'd just be Luca di Montezemelo's boys...


I think in low-fuel qualifying they are already doing super-fast laps...I really don't think that they'll suddenly be able to go a second a lap faster or anything...


I take no pleasure in doing so, James but I need to correct you. I believe the 107% rule will be applied in relation to the fastest time in Q1, which should favour the backmarkers as the times in Q1 are - as you know - slower.

A statement released by the World Motor Sport Council said: "From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107 per cent of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race.

"Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable laptime in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards."


Q1 times aren't necessarily slower this year as they are still on low fuel


Thanks for the update the information is appreciated. What is it that folks don't want repeated? Seems the third paragraph of the story isn't completed for some reason.

Keep up the good work.


It'll be interesting to see what effect the reintroduction of the 107% rule will have on development rates at the back of the grid. When the rule was originally introduced, testing was much less restricted than it is now.

This year the new teams, whilst trundling round being lapped a lot during races, have in the process been doing plenty of development and testing. If they lose the chance to race, they lose testing & development time compared to everyone else.

While it's fair enough to say that if you can't keep up you should not be allowed to race, it would also seem fair to grant teams excluded by the 107% rule an extra half-day test, maybe on the Monday?

I guess that does raise the possibility of deliberate non-qualification to obtain premium track time though. Sounds daft, but this is F1...


That's a pretty good idea but I can't see it happening. Luca di Montezemolo wants to pull up the ladder, not help new teams get on it.

Re-introducing the 107% rule is pretty comical if you ask me. I'm sure Luca asked for it and everyone else just went along with it because they knew it would make hardly any difference to anything. All the new teams are well inside 107% now. Perhaps Luca forgot that the drivers Fernando blamed for his Canadian misfortunes qualified inside 107%. Or perhaps he intends to get the margin reduced year-on-year, until the rule is that any team that qualifies behind Ferrari is excluded from the race.


I understood the rationale for movable bodywork being forbidden. It would lead to higher cornering speeds. Given that a moving part is more likely to fail than a static part, one can imagine if a part fails while flat out at 130R, Eau Rouge etc...

To mitigate the safety concerns, i think the FIA should have stayed with the F-duct approach. Instead of drivers activating body panels to increase downforce, they should only allow drivers activating panels to reduce downforce. In this situation, teams run with medium/max downforce and open up slots to reduce drage... If it fails, they just lose straightline speed. Better yet, remember Ferrari's flexible wing? That solution had a direct coupling with speed, so the behavior was predictable and posed no safety issues.

Having said all that, I think the FIA just invited a world of headaches with the rules and its intricacies.

Along with the re-introduction of KERS, we may very well see that movable aero devices may be a moot point.

Just my 2 cents 🙂


i agree, the flexible wing seemed the best idea. sure the fia was going to introduce that as part of the 40 mil budget cap.

the flaps do reduce downforce on the straights


I dont like the 107% rule, I think F1 needs to promote new teams, and this doesnt help them.

How is the tire testing going to be conducted? Or are teams going to show up at the first race of 2011 not knowing what to expect?

Zobra Wambleska

We still have pre-season testing to help sort this.


Presumably teams will be using tyres in pre-season testing?

Crid [CridComment at gmail]

This sport continues to imagine that exciting overtaking can happen without putting slower cars in front of faster ones.

Lunacy. Madness.

Wimbledon week! Do they take down the net for the finals, as if the best shouldn't be bothered with it?


100% agreed. They seem to think that fans will get all giddy over a drive-by pass down the middle of the straight. Just another gimmick...


James, what do you make of the banned F-duct? I read "With the exception of the parts necessary for the driver adjustable bodywork, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited from 2011."

Could the teams still use an F-duct if it were designed to open with a certain amount of pressure, or would that be impossible at places like turn 8 in Turkey where cars (Red Bulls) are flat?


Sauber was running a non-fduct blown rear wing last year, and a few teams have run them this year.

The problem is that you can't adjust when the wing will stall, so to get the most out of it the wing really needs to be custom designed each track to match the gear ratios and corner speeds, and with the lack of testing it's hard for the teams to get the effect spot on.

For example we've seen Ferrari and Mercedes stall their wings with fducts but they haven't been able to dump as much drag as McLaren has yet.


It will be interesting to see whether anyone finds a way of replicating the effect in a legal way


I assume this doesnt cover the driver movements of the steering wheel to warm up the tyres and increase ride height, which in turn, effects aero......

Will front wing still be used twice per lap?

Also, any word on the number of degree's of movement allowed for back wing?... i know front is 6.


I read on another forum that Merc's F-duct would be legal as its passive


Could it be voice activated?


"Go-go-gadget rear wing!"


Off the top of my head, is there a specific requirement for the new "movable bodywork" to increase downforce? Could it, instead, decrease it? Or perhaps, even better, increase it at lower speeds whilst simultaneously becoming blown at higher speeds by design?

That last would deliver a double whammy - greater straight-line speed and higher downforce one you reach the corner / braking zone. Now that really would be push-to-pass 🙂


Wasn't the minimum weight increased for this year to make KERS easier? I don't quite get why it was raised again - surely the adjustable rear wing won't be so heavy. Having 20Kg of weight at the rear and high up would make the balance painful, surely?


In regards to the weight of the car, I have also read that next year the under chassis will be heavier for safety reasons (due to the Timo Glock incident last year where he cut his leg) and also something to do with strengthening the wheel tire teethers will impact the weight of the car. So I'm not so sure that the 20kg weight change is actually enough to offset entire the KERS unit. It will be interesting to see how many teams adopt it next year.


Yeah, CPR, with Kers weighing 30 to 35 kgs and min. vehicle including driver weight of 605kgs, (as of now), 640 kgs seems sensible otherwise we'll see some skelletons driving the cars, actually, some of the drivers are looking like skin and bone now! Persomally, I think that if they're going to let the silly bloody Kurse back on the cars, the min. weight should even higher, maybe 650-655kgs because I think its fair to be able to carry ballast, and be able to move it around to fine tune the weight distribution.



Hi James,

Loving the blog, been reading since the start, first post,

Are the new tyres going to be the same size or the 18" that was mentioned some time ago?


Sad...go to 15-18" and watch the cornering speeds go way up....


Cornering speeds would likely only rise 2 or 3%, as the contact patch isn't changing. The only difference is that the dampers will be able to control the tire motions better; however, that will only provide a minimal increase in performance, as they obviously have tapped out most of the potential of a tire of that width, despite the high-profile nature.

Same deal with braking; it won't change much, if at all.




That does seem such a shame. Given that the new design and development effort will be so alien compared to other Pirelli project in recent years, it would seem to have made more sense to (finally) drag F1 into the modern world. I had thought that that was what Pirelli wanted.

Do you know what were the reasons behind the maintenance of the status quo there?


My understanding is that the status quo had to be maintained because the teams do not have enough time to redesign their cars (especially the suspension layout) to accommodate a radical change in the type of tire used before the start of next season. The choice of tire supplier was left way to late for that.


They provide tires to GP3, so they have some data available. It won't be a total shot in the dark, although it will require lots of testing.

The F1 teams didn't want to completely redesign their suspension and aero. A lower-profile tire does not absorb or bounce off of bumps like a high-profile tire, so different suspension would be required. Also, due to different sizes and shapes of the tire, significant aero testing would need to be done to determine the effects.


James: "From now on, if a race finishes behind the safety car, the drivers are not allowed to overtake when the safety car pulls into the pits for the chequered flag."

That was already the case, and was never in question. What *was* up for debate was what counted as finishing the race behind the safety car.

I can't believe the FIA has apparently gotten this back-to-front AGAIN, and still won't allow a race to the finish if the track has been returned to green. We as fans are apparently supposed to accept a thrill-free finale if there's a safety-car near the end, even though we *could* be on the edges of our seat watching for a last-gasp pass.

What, pray tell, is supposed to be the advantage for the show (and for the fans) of not letting the cars race between the safety car line and the finish line, if the track is green and hence there's no safety reason to prevent racing? (I can see the reason if there's still debris on the track, but that's simple to deal with -- don't show green flags unless the track is truly safe.)

It seems to me that the FIA of late loves to prattle on about improving the show, but carefully goes out of its way to avoid doing so whenever it is presented with an opportunity like this.


Excelent point, Knoxy, and I agree!!!



Good points Knox. This is pointless.


Yeah it may reduce the thrills, but it will stop anything up to a couple of dozen drivers trying to make banzai moves on the last lap on cold tyres and breaks looking to steal some/more glory.

Safety vrs excitement... in this case I think the decisions is right.


i dont like the idea of the 'push to pass' rear-wing-drag-reducer. it complicates the understanding of the sport (we'll have kers next year too?). and why go for a small technical solution when there are others (tyres) which will cost less and have clearer impact; we all saw what happened at the race in canada!


I haven't noticed any problems with having slow cars on the track so far this season. Quite the opposite - it makes the leaders work through the back markers and creates opportunities for wheel-to-wheel combat.

Seems to me that the slowest cars are the ones that need the most track time anyway, not to mention TV coverage for sponsors.


Which clowns came up with another adjustable wing, complete with its own set of silly rules for artificial racing? Thanks for listening to the fans. AGAIN.


James, you need to put a "like" or "agree" button on each person's post; it would be like a mini poll for each comment, and it would save me having to pollute the comments with "I agree!" all the time. 😉


I prefer polls at the end of posts, they speak volumes


If a driver overtakes another driver because he can adjust his rear wing and the guy in front cannot what does that prove?


Well, Paul I suppose you could refer to it as "race fixing", (but I dunno wot they're fixing, ha ha ha). But then again the Kurse has the same effect. Dunno wot it proves, but it does confuse!



Could this lead to some speedyway type team driving? Would allow the 2nd driver to deploy the wing for defense if his team-mate stayed 1 second in front of him. Might go wrong if someone gets a double toe and goes by both of them though :).


Interesting point u make...

especially if the 2 team mates take turns during the lap and keep overtaking one another.. surely the lap times would improve for both... but which team mate would it be come the finish line in the last lap 😉

all in all this rule doesn't cut it for me :/ so artificial


Movable rear wings should in my opinion only be used in races, not qualifying. I assume it will be that way, but I did not notice anything about it in the FIA statement.


As far as i know, they are allowed to use it in Quali at any time


ESPN had reported that the front wings were likely to be shortened for 2011. Seems this change has failed to appear.

In light of the 3 brilliant seasons between 2006-2008, it appears F1 has divested itself of the following:
1. Visual appeal - despite the new 'uglified' wings failing to deliver better racing, they've persisted in destroying the visual appeal in racing cars.
2. Genuine racing - KERS boost in 2009, wing adjustments for the chasing car only in 2011.
3. Pitstop


Been a pretty good season so far.


Can someone explain the ban of F Ducts, yet the moveable rear wing is legal for overtaking? I thought they were the same/similar things! the 107% rule is a shame, lets make a bet that the new team next year will certainly miss races due to this. It's a shame and I think its bowing to the Italian pressure. It makes next years new teams job so much harder because they have to be on the pace (or near enough) from race one. No races to develop ala the 3 new teams this year


They wanted to turn the idea into a gimmick, and this way they can control it better.


"There are exceptional circumstances, whereby if a team can demonstrate that a car has set competitive lap times in practice despite failing to do so in qualifying, they may be allowed to race."

I don't like the sound of that. Exceptional circumstances means grey areas, and the last thing the rules need are grey areas. It sounds more like a get-out-of-jail card should one of the top teams have a driver bin their car before they could complete a flying lap.

Everything else sounds intriguing though. The idea of an adjustable wing I am not so sure about. I prefer the idea of aerodynamics being minimalised to clean up the air behind the cars to achieve overtaking. It is going to be less about driver skill if they have a lever next to their leg that toggles the wings (on top of all the other stuff on the wheel). We'll end up with 24 Dick Dastardly's on the track with car contraptions waving all over the place.

I might be allowing nostalgia to get the better of me, but I seem to remember the 2002-2003-2004 seasons in particular having a lot of overtaking, despite having grooved tyres and all manner of wings and flaps glued to the cars. What caused all this to evaporate?


The exceptional circumstances bit is the same as when the 107% was used before, and it seemed to work OK. It gives the stewards the freedom to let you race if it's clear your true pace is within 107%, even if for whatever reason you failed to show it in qualifying.

Without it you could end up with half the field ruled out of the race in a rain-affected or otherwise disrupted session.


"Without it you could end up with half the field ruled out of the race in a rain-affected or otherwise disrupted session."

If a team or a single car fails to make the cut because they stayed in the garage assuming the rain will go away (and it gets worse) then that is the team's fault. Going to the stewards and saying 'Well, this is how fast we could've gone' just invalidates having the rule in the first place. I just think they are inviting trouble on this matter by not making the rules firm.


Sure, in that particular case it would be the team's mistake... but should a perfectly decent team get sent home for such a mistake, instead of just having to start from the back of the grid? It certainly wouldn't benefit us as fans.

Martin Collyer

Doesn't it mean that in an instance like Monaco this year, where Alonso was unable to take part in qualifying having smashed his car up in Saturday morning practice, the stewards could rule that he should be allowed to start the race.


artificial overtaking. great. ;/

way to miss the point entirely.

i wish they'd let more mechanical grip into the formula. preferably in a way that allowed development

and f1 with no engine development still just feels horribly wrong.

and the point of going to these wings was to encourage overtaking, which clearly failed... so can we go back to something that doesn't look absolutely ridiculous, please.


agreed. How can the FIA not have engine development in the sport... I'm looking forward to 2013 engine formula change, but why should it take that long?

As for moving wings, it seems interesting. The passing will be easier, "for sure", but strategy-wise it might be interesting. I was a proponent of movable wings, but purely for reasons of efficiency. Bring back the low rear wings though, definitely.


James, any word yet on the tire rules and compounds for next year yet?


And are Ferrari allowed to keep their aerodynamic wheel hubs? Or was that another clever idea that got banned pointlessly?


No name change ratified for Sauber?


Yes, rule change to allow that. Joe Saward reported on it.


so what happens during a start? everyone but the leader gets to reduce the wing?

what about restarts?

3+ cars in line, back 2+ get to reduce their wing and throw themselves past the front car?

2 cars exit the pits, one right behind the other. is it now better to be the second car out?

can two colluding cars manipulate this over a lap to be faster overall?

does anyone want this stupid system?


Not me. Why do they think that all these silly push-to-pass systems are good for the sport? I think it makes a mockery of the sport, personally.


You can not use it the first two races of the GP, however i think they should extend this to the first lap after a safety car has been brought in as well.

The pit lane question is reasonable but you are assuming that with this a pass is nailed on, it is not it just gives the car behind a better chance, a chance they currently do not have due to the aerodynamic problems created by following in the wash of what are effectively upside fighter jets.

Can two colluding cars manipulate it? With great difficulty! and if they can more luck to them.

My question for James regards next year's cars. Development must already be fairly well advanced for the cars, do such dramatic changes require people to go back to the drawing board or will they fit them in to the drawings they already have?


If it is obvious that there was confusion in Monaco when Michael Schumacher pass Fernando Alonso behind the safety car why was Michael punished?


Is anybody else disgusted at the fake racing f1 is trying to promote. I mean if you knew that mika passed michael at spa by pushing a button would it still be as good. Of course not and it should be hard to overtake in f1. It it was easy it would take some of the appeal of f1. I'd rather see less aero big turbos and alot worse brakes to increase the distances in braking. Ie make cars harder to drive so there is more skill involved instead of a button. I mean oz Malaysia china turkey and Canada have not been bad have they.


"Cars now have to make it back to the pits under their own steam if a fuel sample is required."

Don't all cars have to give fuel samples after qualifying? If so why bother putting that distinction in, surely its just an invitation for another argument down the road when a team finds a loop hole.


They have to be able to if required. To do that, you have to have made it back to the pits under your own steam. Works for me


So if you aren't required to give a fuel sample its fine to run out of fuel on your in lap and keep your time?

Sorry but I don't know the regulations that define who is 'required', is it every driver? Or is it some drivers picked at random (like the old weight check)? The IF makes me think that its the later.

To me this just seems like the FIA once again making a rule more complicated than it needs to be and setting the table up for further arguments down the road.


So what happens if they get a puncture and go off on their in lap ?

"Fuel draining

With immediate effect, if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power."

Is Qualifying considered to be a "practice session" ?



Just as we have been getting some real exciting racing with the current rules the powers that be want to change things! Has no one ever heard of if it aint broke dont fix it?


The movable bodywork, ie. rear wing is a gimmick that doesn't belong in a "sport" that's supposed to showcase the worlds best drivers. Driver Aids were largely reduced from the sport by virtue of the common ECU, now along with KERS, they're back. And not welcome.

I can just see next year in qualifying, team-mates taking turns giving eachother the opportunity to draft past and gain a few tenths. What a farce that will be.

Being electronically controlled means there's already somebody at work trying to manipulate or fool the system.


Agreed. Hadn't thought of the cheating aspect.


The way they've implemented it, with the only active if within 1 second rule - that is a gimmick and renders it farcical I agree.

But if active for the whole lap, every lap, then that makes for interesting driving. Different drivers may use the wing differently. The ones that can really it use (say adjusting while cornering) get to benefit - and that would be driver skill.

Rubinho's Keyfob

Is it just me, or does it seem like F1 is turning into a real-life video game? This is a standard "balancing" trick in racing games that are supposed to be more entertainment than simulation (like Mario Kart, Super Monkey Ball racing etc) - give the guy lagging behind a bit of a boost so he can overtake the leader.

While I agree with the sentiment of what they're trying to achieve, overly complex technical solutions (i.e., a mass of sensors on the car and computers/timing systems behind the scenes telling you when you may or may not press the magic button) seems like overkill. Didn't the timing system go down at a recent Q3, resulting in even the drivers not knowing who was on pole ...

And the worst thing about the video game comparison is that in the games, it's specifically there to allow the less skilled players the chance to overtake and beat their experienced opposition ...

This is just food for thought - I don't want to sound like a whinger, because the current season, I think, is shaping up to be one that will be considered a classic in years to come ...


Update: FIA approves use of 10 banana peels per driver to throw in the path of trailing cars to "spice up the show". Rumours are circulating as to the incorporation of speed-boost arrows incorporated into the racing circuits, but Mr. Tilke was unavailable for comment.


You're not whinging in my opinion, you're absolutely right. The video game comparison also came to my mind straight away when I heard about this ludicrous decision.

James - based on the seemingly majority (at least on this website) feeling of contempt towards this new rule, do you think there's any way the FIA and FOTA will listen to what we're saying? Is there any way we can protest this as fans?

They need to stop treating us as fools - we want overtaking yes, but not at the expense of genuine sport. I'd rather have zero overtaking than this artificial nonsense.


Definitely they will listen. We will discuss it next Thursday at the Forum in London


All interesting changes. Forgive me for being a technical novice but I fail to see how the adjustable rear wing helps overtaking. If a car is 1 sec or less behind the car in front, wouldn't there be less downforce to stall because of the slipstream? Wouldn't this make the adjustable wing less effective the closer one gets to the car in front?


Good point, although with the wing fairly high in the air-stream, it will be affected less by aerodynamic wake. This is why most cars tend to understeer when following another car; they lose more front downforce than rear downforce.


true, it will still have an effect but not as large as if the car was further back.

this is my understanding


I don't understand why there is constant fiddling of non-safety related rules; are they trying to perfect the Formula to make the races better or do they do it simply to give the teams new puzzles to solve every year?

If they're trying to improve the show, given that nearly every year there are some fairly significant changes to the cars, it would appear they're not close to getting it right.

Here's something else I'm curious about: who creates the rules regarding changes to car design, and how do they test each new rule to ensure they work as intended? Do they build cars and secretly test them? That would certainly be the most logical method, at least by my uneducated estimation.

Maybe someone can enlighten me, or perhaps the topic of how rules are created may make an interesting feature on this site. Thanks.


Hi James, your website displayed properly, until I tried to comment, now displaying very oddly. All graphics missing.

Anyway, on to the comments.

Really disappointed with the "driver operated bodywork" rule.

This should be deployable at any time in the race as and when the driver deems it suitable.

The rest of it seems OK, although unsure about 107% percent rule.

Its not as if the drivers in the slower teams are bad, its the cars they

are driving. Its not like the pay drivers of the 90s when the car was

OK but the driver was responsible for being outside 107%.


I find that sometimes, for no apparent reason, I get the mobile version of the site, was that what you were seeing?


Yes i agree - one key difference between now and the last time the 107% rule was in place is the testing ban. How are teams supposed to improve if they can't race now that there is no testing.

Perhaps with each GP they miss (due to being too slow re. the 107% rule), they could run a day of testing for that team. Just an idea.


Thanks for the note. It's odd, my tech guys ran tests with Opera, as you specified and found no problem. No-one else has made the same comment. We will keep testing to understand.


When accessing via iPhone, sometimes the site opens in the mobile-optimised version of wordpress but sometimes the regular version (which needs more pinching to be easily readable). Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which version it opens in though.

On that note, any plans for a mobile app? If the telegraph can do one and charge for it, there's more than enough justification for a James Allen on f1 app. Combine all the twitter stuff and include the Darren Heath photography for a one-stop solution.


We're looking at it


The adjustable rear wing thing sounds silly. Two drivers on roughly the same pace will surely just yo-yo back and forth each lap.

Especially as I'm willing to bet the steep learning curve of Pirelli plus the limited testing time the teams will get with the new rubber would have less to plenty interesting racing on its own anyway.

Oh and a small typo - single lap quali came in for 2003.


Erm no mention of the double diffusers then...James are they still being banned for next season? Surely their removal would aid over taking aswell!


Yes they are banned. That was already spelled out before.


What a bunch of stupid rules. Everything is becoming artificial. The moment they start making aids for overtaking it stops being overtaking and it just becomes passing by. Every decent track always allows for overtaking no matter which era we are talking about. If they wanna introduce movable wings they should let drivers use them whenever they want and how much they want. This is becoming just dumb and i can tell you, F1 fans aren't really fans of american wrestling (read: fake fighting).


Welcome back Pirelli.But it was known long time ago that a new supplier is needed, it is almost July now. This shows weak organisation and total disrespect towards the engineers.

Moveable wings is a great idea.It can be used to reduce drag(f1 becomes greener,right?)and have great top speeds even if the engines are downtuned even further. But no, they only let the following car use it. This is stupid.

Why should a driver that made a very good start be punished when some wheel spinning idiot is able to push this magic wing button and soon get back to the lead easily?

The 107 percent rule is not necessary either. If a backmarker does not move away when blue flags are waved, a harsh punishment(racing ban for 12 months or sth like that) should be given for the driver. There are many young drivers waiting for the oppurtunity anyway...

We need new teams, because some of the old ones might drop out any time. If 107 percent rule is adapted, perhaps there should be a rule that allows testing kilometres relative to the previous years ponts scores(lowest scorer gets the most kilometres).

Raised weight minimum is good for longer braking distances, so god bless that rule.

These changes might work or might not work,but I have an idea. F1 circus should take a one year sabbatical to re examine all the rules written(no more penalties for overtaking under green flags and stuff like that,remove as much "gray" areas as possible, please )and finally get things right to allow proper racing.


why is the 107% rule, 107 and not 106 or 108?


Because then it wouldn't be the 107% rule... 🙂


Wow, Formula 1 really is starting to appeal to the "computer-gaming" generation. I'm not against genuine technological ingenuity, but push-button boost (in the form of KERS) and moveable wings just seem a bit too "gimmicky" to me.

Forget sophisticated simulators and multi-million dollar wind tunnels, pretty soon the most important piece of equipment in Formula 1 is going to be a PlayStation.


What's wrong with that? Surely 'sophisticated simulators' are just fancy Playstations anyway. I do not see how push-button-to-boost is any different to press-pedal-to-accelerate, just 100 years of engineering advancement. However, I do draw the line at tortoise shells and oil slicks.


Hope this doesn't drag the discussion too far off topic, but I notice the FIA also announced at the same time that Ho-Pin Tung has been granted a probationary superlicence. Is this just a formality to ensure he's available should one of the Renault drivers be unable to race, or are we likely to see him racing for someone soon?


I wanted to hear something about this too. I am Chinese so I am very interested in his career and development. I was wondering why his picture was even being shown on the formula1.com page announcing all the changes, then suddenly I read he was given a probationary license. While I absolutely hope he can make it into F1 it's hard to know whether or not he could immediately be doing better than Vitaly who's had some impressive performances so far this year. (assuming only Renault would be using him since they have him as test driver)


Best way to improve overtaking is to enact 1 or 2 positive changes in track layout at the "bad"/"processional" circuits (except Monaco - dont touch that). This means for example, place a tight corner following the longest straight because this config leads to overtaking. It cannot possibly cost much to enact such a change - Bernie already forces circuits to build Gillion dollar media and hospitality wings.


How stupid; another artificially complicated rule.

If a given part is legal on a car, the drivers should simply be allowed to USE IT. This "so many times per lap", "only when following", etc. complexity is totally unnecessary.

The same is true of KERS: don't place arbitrary time or power limits on the device. Whatever the engineers can create, just let the drivers USE IT.

Simple is better.


100% agreed. KERS should be a part of the drivetrain, not a push-to-pass system; it's viewed as a gimmick now, whereas it could aid in providing a green image if it actually helped reduce fuel consumption.


i would have thought that having to develop these new aero devices would add significant extra cost to the smaller teams. Surely an "off the self" KERS option with a Pre-determined number of "push-to-pass" opportunities per race would have been a better idea than these adjustable wings. The smaller teams could run with the cheaper standard version of KERS and the bigger teams could run their own.


Remind me again, what is wrong with the racing this year? What needs fixing?


What about in-season testing? Was that particularly ridiculous rule up for discussion under this new admin? Personally, I don't see how teams can be expected to continue to develop a car without the opportunity to test changes/adjustments or new developments (being limited to free practices). Wasn't there some consideration being given to testing after each race and before the "circus" pulled up stakes for the next venue?


Driver-operated bodywork? This is destined to be a huge can of worms that will bring more problems than it addresses.

I'll put myself on the line and say that it will be a 1 season wonder.


I agree. I wish they would have given it at least 1 season without the DD and with new tyres before deciding on more gimmicks.


I reckon you're right, Jake, but it'll be fun to watch all the various body panels flick up, down and out or in, etc., at different parts of the track. (for 2011, of course, because as you say, they'll all be banned after that!)


Matthew Villari

james, with the 107% rule, is it not fair that the pole time will be set at the end of Q3 on a track that has rubbered up whereas the new teams times will come on a track thats less rubbered up and could potentially be half a second slower than what theyre capable of on rubbered in track? If they miss out on qualifying due to track conditions i imagine they wouldnt be best pleased.


I have clarified my wording on that, thanks. It's 107% of the fastest time in the Q1 session.


which also means the fast teams use the'unfavoured' tyre and the slow teams the 'fast' tyre. Its a benefit for the slower team


Surely it would be better to have an adjustable/moveable aero set up that reduces drag rather than increases it. If you could reduce drag then drivers could use this on the straights to overtake,in the way the f-duct is used now. This way you would get all the benefits of KERS but with a fraction of the cost.


The movable wing is aimed to reduce drag... at least that's what all of the news sources say.


Sometimes you get the impression that FOTA are a bunch of children playing with a new toy. The refueling ban was good. However, the cars now look odd now, the points system is confusing and we are about to get push to pass rear wings. We don't need artificial gimmicks to improve racing - the racing is actually pretty good at the moment.


The rear wings resemble 90s cars and the front 08-09 the cars look fine and the comments on here are terrible today


Totally agreed. It's a false perception that fans want an overtakingfest. Not every time a driver gets near the rear of car in front, I want to see an 'overtake'. I'll be much glad to see him follow for 10+ laps, hustle the car around to find way past


“The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. ”

Yet more electronics for the drivers to contend with. Looks like F1 is going down the drain.


Someone needs to explain to FiA that "F1 circus" is just a jargon term, so that they remove all those clowns from decision making process!


I had a friend who broke his leg riding a bike. It healed a fair bit shorter than his other one. He was told he had the option of wearing a special built-up shoe (which you could hardly see, at least in a darkened room) although this often gives hip problems and sciatica, or he could have a bit chopped out of his other leg.

No contest according to my friend. And now, apart from odd scars, he’s just like he was, if a little shorter.

Haven’t the FIA ignored the most sensible option by going for fixes and such when they could have attacked the basic problem?

Is it beyond them to come up with a requirement for stabilised air or even negative pressure behind an F1 car travelling at speed? I know it would not be as simple as sticking a brick behind a car in a wind tunnel and measuring the forces on it but aren’t these the cleverest engineers around?

This bit about moveable devices, one second behind and such seems a case of using technology purely because they can rather than it being the most logical way of sorting things out. I accept the solution might be expensive but then I would guess that the new regs are as well.

There is little doubt in my mind, although I have no evidence to support it, that disturbed air coming out of the back of a car is one of the main requirements for the aerodynamicist. And haven’t they done a great job.

Christian Hepworth

Is it just me or have FOTA totally missed the point? As shown at Canada, they could achieve good racing by bringing marginal tyres with a big gap in performance ( marginal in terms of grip, not safety ) and in one stroke introduce the ability to run different strategies and make the racing better. This seems much less artificial than movable rear wings, kers, with time limits, constraints etc... And it would probably cost nothing ( other than tyre development costs ) to implement.


Really surprised by the negative reaction to the new rear wing rules. I'm quite excited by it. It's not 'artificial overtaking' - if the car behind isn't fast enough to get by, it won't be able to get up within one second of the car in front. And if it somehow gets by anyway, there's nothing to stop the other car repassing immediately. Imagine the racing possibilities. The problems with turbulant air will still be there. The wing will just make it more of a fair fight.

As far as i am concerned, it just fixes the issue of some circuits being literally impossible to overtake on.

I think people need to cut the FIA a break - a lot of people slammed the no refueling rules for this year. Yet it's been one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory - give it a chance, people.


James, congratulations for your site! This is my first post here.

I do have a question-proposal regarding the new overtaking regulations. Why not introduce a KERS-based boost, activated automatically via sensors measuring the distance from the car in front? Technically this solution is definitely achievable in my view, and it combines the propagation of the use of "clean" energy in F1 cars (especially if KERS is going to be reintroduced, so no extra costs in this regard) with the merits of more overtaking. Moreover, the use of sensors would clear any controversy regarding the "one second" (time-) distance per se. This method would bring in my opinion even more spectacle than the proposed technical rule (perhaps it has already been adopted?), especially if it is combined with a time-limited use of the boost, e.g.the driver can choose when to activate the extra power via a button - but only for a specific period of time, provided he is within a certain distance from the car in front.


Interesting idea, but I think the drivers would want to be in control of all power surges for safety reasons


Just a bit concerned how the minimum weight is not pushed up even further. 640kg is a step in the right direction, but it would be better to push it up to say 670kg. We don't want to see jockey/women drivers gain unfair advantages with the reintroduction of KERS.

Kudos to Mark Webber and Bobby K. for how well they do against their teammates considering they have less room in the cockpit and carry a substantial weight penalty. Here's a vote for helping out the big guys and reducing the unfair advantage to the little sooks Vettel and Alonso.

Go Bobby K!


Adjustable aero?

Fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake.

We don't want artificial racing.


James, do you not feel that the rules around wing adjustment are a little too complicated. Seems it should either be usable or not usable. This idea of needing to be within one second and being available only to the pursuing car seems a bit gimmicky and over the top. Something I believe in quite strongly is that, in order for a sport to have true mass appeal, the crux of the rules need to be understandable and accessible to relative newcomers. Imagine trying to explain the wing adjustment rule to somebody new to f1! I actually think this year's rules have been spot on and the minor changes, such as banning diffusers and f-ducts, as well as the change of supplier and agreed return of kers would have been more than sufficient to ensure at least a little bit of a shake up for next year. I think they've gone too far!


On the face of it, yes. It seems another tough one to explain to the layman


Well the layman will perhaps just be watching initially, and will enjoy seeing the same cars pass each other lap after lap. That will be enough to get that person to sit down and watch, as it will be wheel to wheel stuff.

Once they are genuinely interested, I think it will be easier for them to understand. Perhaps we should give the general public some credit for having more intelligence than we thought - no one believed the BS that Red Bull gave blaming Mark Webber for the smash so they could allow cry-baby Vettel to win in Turkey. That was a surprise, and showed the public are more intelligent than we give them credit for.


Adjustable wings that the guy behind can use to pass? Seriously? Who runs this show, a primary school class?

They should have kept the f-duct (cheap, effective) and kers (economical, effective, fair) and asked Pirelli to bring a marginal tyre to each race.



Does the movable rear wing mimic the F-duct effect but even more drag-reducing, or does it add downforce? The latter sounds more interesting (as mentioned in the article), and probably safer in the event of failure, but the assumed intent of the movable rear wing as outlined seems to be to increase top speed.


They introduce artificial overtaking while not letting Sauber to change the name till the end of the season - what a ridiculous formal approach!!


Couldn't agree more.

But they did have time to give a Chinese (or Japanese guy, I forgot his nationality) a superlicence.

I can only imagine it is due to entity names on contracts etc.


Why is there still no 2011 Calendar announced yet? Any ideas when this will be? Need to get flights booked for something else but I could extend the trip if I knew when the races are.


It's a bit early yet.


I don't think the rear wing rule is properly thought through at all. For example, it could be a means to sit behind a faster car and save fuel, how does it work when mixed in with backmarkers,

Fundamentally though, it gives an advantage to the person who doesn't race as well - a good racer overtakes through skill and car advantage and a weak racer still gets to overtake because of a magic button. That's not F1.

I could see that this could be brought into disrepute the first time someone sits behind the other driver for the last dull ten laps and presses the button on the final straight to outdrag the other guy to the line.


107% great

Single tyre supplier not so great

Driver controlled aero way too complicated - improve mechanical grip (wider front tyres, wider rear tyres) and further reduce aero (dare I suggest spec floor, wings and diffuser to eliminate anti competitive aero once and for all?)

We want drafting and out braking into turns, not fancy invisible aero tricks or push to pass.


Never easy to please everyone. Whatever the rules are, applied to every team. Let them make the best of it. If it's good, keep it, else try again. Remember the story of an old man, his son and a donkey?

For the 107% rule, I just like to see if any of the present top team didn't make it. At least one team I have in mind. What goes around comes around. Love to see their reaction.

That's said, I also wish that the new teams doesn't beat their chest unnecessarily when they finally cut it.


Thet really seem to be losing the plot ...



"The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated, ” said the statement."

Does that mean you can't use it after you hit the brakes the first time or there is a cool off period, which we are not aware off.


Dear James,

Given the overwhelming number of comments against vs. in favour of the "movable bodywork" regulation just announced for next year, will you please make the FIA aware of how much it's not welcome by even just your website alone.

The FIA don't have an email contact published on their web site, and thus presumably don't want to hear from F1 fans unless they fax or write, but, they should know. Thanks for your consideration.


It will be a discussion point next week at the FOTA Fans Forum, powered by Santander, for sure. Watch out for the video content of the debate on this site and on You Tube after the event. More details of how to follow the event will be released shortly.


thats great to hear James... you rock !!!


Like a few on here I’m disappointed with what is effectively a push to pass button - it's just so artificial. If you are going to give the drivers these sort of tools they should both be able to use it - at least with KERS it is available in equal measures to the drivers per lap and it's up to them how to use it.

I think people want to see more opportunity for overtaking created through car design, not by giving one driver an advantage over the other as it's unfair on the one defending.

Also, does the 107% rule not somehow undermine the FIAs due diligence - teams are only invited to compete if the FIA feel they are up to the task surely. There is limited testing - the new team won't be confirmed until August so as a result they may miss some testing like the new teams did last year. So if they are not within the 107% time at the first couple of races they won't get valuable track time and sponsors will not be happy they aren't actually competing - it could make getting any sort of development momentum going very difficult.

Gripes aside, it's good to see Pirelli confirmed - at least we have tires to go racing next year.

Clarification on the safety car is also welcome - though I’m of the let them race scenario - they're professionals! And advising a car must be able to get back to the pits makes sense, although what will be the punishment if they can't? Sent to the back of the grid, 10 place penalty? No concerns over the licensing either for key personnel: after the Singapore debacle more accountability for key team members is very welcome.
for overtaking created through car design, not by giving one driver a brief advantage over the other as it's unfair on the one defending.


Hi guys, James, how could we, the fans, be heard by the FIA?

If you read the comments from all the posters in this blog (where the level of f1 knowledge is outstanding), everybody is against gimmicks for overtaking for example.

Would you James help us to voice our opinion? Is there anyway to get some "fan advocates" in the form of journalist, ex-racers, etc that would collect our points of view, suggestions...

Would it be possible to convince the FIA to let us vote the rule proposals, even if not binding to the final result? That would be for people somehow registered in the formula 1 website, or who would pay some lets say 20-50€ a year for membership and voting rights, to avoid a trolling.

The ammount of non-sensical, super expensive rules to try to convert racing into a "show" or "video game" is starting to put many loyal fans off, and making it very confusing for novices to understand the sport.


actually it makes a lot of sense. it promotes overtaking and casual viewers don't need to know why. if both cars are able to use this feature than no one would pass anybody because both cars receive the same advantage. however if only the car behind has the advantage than an overtake is much more likely. from the outside you get to see a car make a move and that's more exciting and that's what they're trying to do. perhaps it's actually quite simple rather than being complicated


this is a farce


hi James,

Great website - keep it up - very informative and interesting!

This is more of a question for the designers in F1 but i think it would be interesting to know what the cars would look, feel, sound and race like if the rules only restricted the cars by the size of the tyres and maybe simple health and safety rules i.e crash structures.

Do you think we would see more innovation into lighter/better performing vehicles for example?





2 unworkable rules -

1. This crazy driver adjustable bodywork rule is unworkable due to - So take 3 cars all within 1 second.

a. The lead driver with no body work changes will be allowed bodywork changes when the following car gets 1cm in front of him.

b. 2nd car in line IS or ISN'T allowed to have bodywork changes ????? Bit contentious this as the rules haven't been 100% clarified as he's in front of one but behind another.

C. 3rd car is allowed bodywork changes.

2. Crazy, crazy rules - Lets implement a 107% rule so kicking you out if you are not fast enough. This was implemented during a time when there were loads of teams AND testing was allowed. With no testing allowed then how are slower teams these days supposed to improve - I'd like to see these 2 rules taken to court as they do not allow teams to improve.

Suggestions -

- Implement a mandatory piece of bodywork behind the rear tyres and the width of the car to clean up the air to the following car. - great then this would improve the racing.

Thanks for a great site.



So what happened to the tender process Jean Todt said the FIA would oversee to chose the new tyre supplier? Surely he wasn't just posturing and asserting that the FIA runs the show because all the coverage had been over FOTA's deliberations and meetings...

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

If Pirelli is not as good Michelin, great. As we have seen in Canada "bad" tires can make for a great race. A 2 step difference and only super soft and super duper soft with only 6 good laps will be fantastic.


So the FIA (and FOTA/OWG etc. I presume) have responded to concerns about a cars' inability to overtake a slower one in 'normal' conditions. I can't tell if they have done the right things, but presumably their clever guys have agreed on their best guess at the best approach, good for them.

It does bring a few things into question though:

plenty of complaints here that they've got it all wrong, it makes no sense, it won't work. No pleasing some people

is that now front AND rear wings AND KERS? Driver overload anyone?

This must blow next years championship wide open, with the above, new tyres and no DD that's a massive amount of uncertainty for 1 team to get right, and many to get horribly wrong.

It probably works against those teams working to the budget cap. Everyone grab a McLaren/RB/Mercedes/Ferrari engineer while there's some left!

One last thing, the new points system, it is in effect virtually identical to the last one in terms of who leads / second etc. Why does it generate so much comment and angst?


YES! What is so wrong with the racing? While some of the changes are fairly straightforward, KERS, 107%, this rear wing thing is convoluted and ridiculous. Sounds like an engineer-led idea that should have never seen the light of day. If they want to improve the show, put efforts into the internet and more in car cameras and radio transmissions. These guys tinker with F1 like its a backyard RC hobby. Tiresome.


James, do you know what the allowable limits will be for the change in angle of attack for the upper element of the wing? Something similar to the current front wings?

Also, what are your thoughts on all of these push-to-pass systems? Do you see them as gimmicks, or as genuine improvements to the show?


(1) The rules on moveable aero (regarding the rear-wing mostly) are too complicated.

(2) Why Pirelli? Safety might be an issue here. The FIA should have strong armed and gone with their choice of Michelin - the safe choice.

(3) How can this cut costs? New variables will come in, the order will surely be shaken and everyone will most probably spend like crazy to make sure they capitalize on the inevitable confusion fresh rule change.

(4) This is sport, not a reality TV show. So can FOTA and the TWG stop putting in artificial "arcade like" methods to spice up the "show"!


Many people commented that the rear wing rule is a step towards false racing. It looks like drivers are concerned as well:



Yet another artificial racing...

These guys must have been playing video games too much.

I am not an expert but I can't understand why they can't replicate the sort of racing we had in 90s. I was watching 95 spa the other day. It was so entertaining.

These days, the drivers are heavily assisted by technology such as gearbox, movable body work.

Please explain why we can't have the same thing. I don't think technology is the barrier, I think the politics are.


Just want to voice my vote as an 'absolute no' for the movable body-work rule.

The great thing about F1 is that every pass takes so much skill and preparation and we can appreciate the abilities of the driver to pull these passes off. No one cares about 99% of passes in Nascar because they happen so often. I would be fine if all drivers at all times could move body work so all was equal, and thus we could judge all drivers equally. This rule just reminds me of arcade racing video games like Mario Kart (red shells) that also employ the 'rubber-banding' effect (where the people in front are purposely slowed down and those in back are sped up to keep the field close).

None of us like to see a boring race where passing is impossible. But we also don't want to have 'passing' that is completely manufactured. I was hopeful that the banning of the double diffuser would have done enough by itself to help cars follow each other more closely. If I want Mario Kart I will pull out my DS. I don't want it infecting my sport.

I want F1, not Mario Kart.


If they are so desperate for gimmicks and trick stuff why don't they just water down the tracks at some random point of the race to "spice" it up some. Just as lame an idea as movable body parts which work at some hard to understand moment. They are going in the wrong direction. I think if they make the cars simpler and use KERS as well or a push to pass perhaps that is all they need.


James, as already mentioned this adjustable wing proposal is just horrible! Please stress it to those in attendance in London please!

All we need is the removal of double diffusers, narrow the front wings back to what they used to be and give the teams tyres that produce racing like Montreal. Job done.

Please dont let these new rules devalue our sport, F1 should be the fans' sport. The team bosses are merely custodians


Sounds like the drivers don't fancy it either!


Couldn't agree more.

But they did have time to give a Chinese (or Japanese)guy, I forgot his nationality asuperlicence.

I can only imagine it is due to entity names on contracts etc that they didn't allow it.


moveable front wings have done nothing to help overtaking, in a time when costly aero development is being curtailed (for example the f-duct) why are we taking this backward step? was it another idea of the OWG who have so far failed to make a single improvement?


Absolute Shambles


The FIA and Bernie Ecclestone don't have a CLUE what they are doing.

Firstly, why the hell would they bring back KERS.

If they want to cost cut, KEEP THE F-DUCT

It's a non-movable always-on part that decreases drag and allows the cars to keep higher downforce configurations

That's the best thing that's ever been designed for an F1 car for crying out loud.

And they ban it, and keep a stupid complicated boost system that adds weight to the car and just makes the sport more complicated.

They go on about cost cutting, then make RETARDED rule changes like movable Front/Rear Wings

Jesus Christ, the FIA has completely no idea what they are playing at.

F1 should be basic.

An engine, and the most aerodynamically efficient bodywork.

That's it. They shouldn't be allowed to move the Front OR Rear Wing except in the pits.

And yes, bring back refuelling, because no refuelling is UTTERLY RUBBISH.

The entire point in F1 is for cars to bomb it around the track as fast as possible on 2 stop strategies.

Not plod around on full tanks 5 seconds slower per lap than they should be going.



Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!