Formula 1 Regulations

Formula 1 Regulations

A beginner’s guide to the 2009 rule changes

The FIA have made a number of changes to the Sporting and Technical Regulations for the 2009 Formula One season, and the results of some have already been seen in testing.

In the case of the Sporting Regulations, the primary aims are increased reliability and further cost reductions. In the case of the technical changes, there are three main objectives - reducing the role of aerodynamics in the cars’ performance; making overtaking easier; and keeping lap times in check...

Tires
After 10 seasons on grooved tires, Formula One racing returns to slicks in 2009, as part of moves to increase the emphasis on mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip. With no grooves, grip will increase by around 20 percent, bringing a significant performance gain. However, that gain will be offset by the vastly reduced downforce levels of the revised aerodynamic regulations (see below). The overall effect should be reduced performance through high-speed corners. Drivers will still have the choice of two dry tire compounds and will still have to use both compounds during a race.

KERS
From 2009 teams have the option of employing a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) to boost their car’s performance. As its name implies, a KERS recovers the (normally wasted) kinetic energy generated by the car’s braking process. This energy is stored using a mechanical flywheel or an electrical battery and then made available to the driver, in set amounts per lap, via a ‘boost button’ on the steering wheel. Under the current regulations the power gain equates to around 80 horsepower, available for just under seven seconds per lap. This could be worth several tenths of a second in terms of lap time, but the weight and packaging of the system - and its impact on the car’s weight distribution - also have to be taken into account.

Engines
In a move designed to boost reliability still further, rev limits will be cut from 19,000 to 18,000 rpm and drivers must now use the same engine for three, rather than two, consecutive events. Teams will be limited to eight engines per season - eight for each race driver and an additional four for testing. Just one team - Renault - has been allowed to make performance modifications to their engine for 2009 in order to help equalize power outputs.

Aerodynamics
Along with slick tires, this is the biggest area of change for 2009. Downforce will be dramatically reduced and the cars’ bodywork will appear much cleaner, thanks to new dimensional regulations that effectively outlaw extraneous items such as barge boards, winglets, turning vanes and chimneys.

As well as reducing overall aero performance, the revisions are also designed to increase overtaking by making the car less susceptible to turbulence when closely following another driver. The most obvious changes are to the front and rear wings.

The front wing becomes lower (75mm from 150mm) and wider (up from 1400 to 1800mm - the same width as the car) with driver-adjustable flaps. Drivers will be allowed to make two wing adjustments per lap, altering the wing angle over a six-degree range.

The rear wing becomes taller (up 150mm to bring it level with the top of the engine cover) and narrower (750mm from 1000mm).

Also at the back of the car, the diffuser has been moved rearwards, its leading edge now level with (rather than ahead of) the rear-wheel axle line. In addition, the diffuser has been made longer and higher, all changes that will reduce its ability to generate downforce.

Testing
Testing restrictions will be even more stringent, with none allowed for the duration of the race season.


HRE Performance Racing Wheels

2009 season changes in more detail

A number of changes to both the Sporting and Technical Regulations have been made by the FIA for the 2009 Formula One season...
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Car livery


Teams must run their two cars with essentially the same race livery throughout the season and must seek prior approval for any major changes...
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Classification


A commonly asked question is how drivers can be given a placing in the official race results even though they retired before the end of the race. The explanation can be found within...
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Driver changes and additional drivers


Teams may use up to four drivers during a season, all of whom may score points in the championship. A driver change may be made with the permission of the stewards any time before the...
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Driver penalties


Stewards have the power to impose various penalties on a driver if he commits an offence during a race. Offences may include jumping the start, causing an avoidable accident, unfairly...
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Officials


At every Grand Prix meeting there are six key race officials who monitor and control the activities of the stewards and marshals to ensure the smooth and safe running of the event in...
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Parc Ferme


Parc ferme is an enclosed and secure area in the paddock where the cars are weighed and any other checks deemed necessary by race officials are made. Teams must leave their cars here...
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Points


The top eight finishers in each Grand Prix score points towards both the drivers’ and the constructors’ world championships, according to the following scale...
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Practice and qualifying


At each Grand Prix meeting all race drivers may participate in two one and a half-hour practice sessions on Friday (Thursday at Monaco), a one-hour session on Saturday morning and a...
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Race start procedure


Prior to every Grand Prix the teams and drivers must adhere to a very strict starting procedure. This gets underway 30 minutes before the formation lap when the pit lane is opened....
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Refuelling


During practice, refuelling is only permitted in a team’s garage area or in the FIA garage. Race-refuelling systems may only be used in the pit lane during qualifying and the...
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Safety car


The safety car’s main function, as its name implies, is to assist in maintaining safe track conditions throughout the Grand Prix weekend. It is driven by an experienced circuit...
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Scrutineering and weighing


A team of specially appointed scrutineers has the power to check cars at any point during a Grand Prix weekend to ensure that they fully comply with technical and safety...
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Spare cars, engines and gearboxes


FIA regulations state that drivers may have no more than two cars available for use at any one time. Usually a team will bring three or four cars to a race; a race car for each of its...
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Suspending and resuming a race


If a race is suspended because of an accident or poor track conditions then red flags will be shown around the circuit. When this happens, the pit exit will be closed and all cars on...
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Testing


As the sport’s technical demands have grown in recent years, so too has the importance of testing. With the FIA ever mindful of rising costs, teams are limited to 30,000 test...
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Tyres


Formula One racing features a single tyre supplier, with all teams using identical Bridgestone rubber. The advantages of this (over multiple tyre suppliers) include closer racing and...
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