Saturday, March 3, 2007

Formula1 Racing Rule changes for the 2007 season

Below is a outline of changes to the Sporting and Technical Regulations made by the FIA for the 2007 Formula 1 Racing season.

Engine specifications utilized in the last two rounds of the 2006 Formula 1 racing season must be utilized for the subsequent four seasons. This effectively means that an engine freeze is in place for the following four seasons. Some restricted development is legitimate, but only under strict control from the FIA. Some room for pushing the rules there I would say. I certainly comprehend the requirement to reduce costs, but this rule can make Formula 1 racing very stagnant for the next few years. The team with the most powerful and reliable engine will have an lead for the next four seasons, or would the FIA be more understanding of improvement if you are not one of the leading teams. Throughout Friday practice sessions the teams are permitted to use new engines. For Saturday practice and qualifying the two race engine rule is still relevent. This is in contrast with the FIA intention to reduce costs, as all the drivers will use alternate engines for Friday practice. It should enhance the action on track for Fridays though, giving Formula 1 racing fans an improved display. On the other hand, the team cannot risk having an accident and demolish the race chassis, as this would spell disaster for the team for the rest of the weekend.


The teams will receive two different compounds of tire from Bridgestone for the weekend. The number of tires allocated will increase with eight sets for each Formula 1 racing team for Friday and ten sets for the rest of the weekend. One of these ten sets must be returned to the supplier before qualifying. The eight remaining sets of four sets of each compound can be used for qualifying and the race. Both compounds must be used by each driver for the race. A good strategy will be important here. Races could be won or lost if the wrong compound is used at a incorrect time in the race. I would expect most teams to start with the softer of the two compounds to ensure good track position and try to keep away from the masses at the start. Accidents requiring deployment of the safety car before the first round of pit stops however, would give a team using the harder compound a considerable advantage.

Practice sessions

The two Friday practice sessions will now be 90 minutes and not 60 minutes. Third cars are no longer allowed, but teams can use one alternate test driver for each session on Friday’s. The third driver must use one of the team’s race cars, but an alternate engine can be used. This means that a team can use one race driver and one test driver in each session, or use only the two race drivers with alternate engines. A maximum of only four drivers for the season is still in force.

Safety Car

The pit lane will be closed when the safety car is deployed until all the cars are bunched up behind the safety car. Lapped cars running between cars on the lead lap must pass the lead cars and take up position at the back of the field, effectively unlapping themselves. At first when I read this rule I got the impression that cars would not be able to pit at all during safety car periods. After reading the detailed rules it became clearer that the pit lane would only be closed until all cars are behind the safety car. With modern racing pushing all barriers it would be interesting to see what would happen if a team is scheduled for a pit stop and an accident brings out the safety car. Most teams would not have sufficient fuel to sit behind the safety car for a few additional laps, and a pit stop during this time would incur a 10 second penalty.

Other changes

There are many other minor changes in the regulations for the 2007 Formula1 racing season and a large amount of these changes were incorporated to improve safety. As an example, cars will be fitted with a display of coloured lights representing the different colour flags used. Stewards would now be able to alert drivers of dangers and hazards more effectively.

A medical light will be fitted to all Formula 1 racing cars to give rescue crews an immediate indication of the severity of an accident.
The Formula 1 Racing cars have to pass a more stringent series of crash tests in the interest of improving safety.

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