Date: 16th November 2012 at 11:52am
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A number of rule changes look set to be made in time for the 2013 Formula One World Championship, included front wing testing, the ‘force majeure’ rule in qualifying and the unlimited use of DRS in practice and qualifying.

The FIA are keen to introduce a more stringent test to stop teams developing ways for the front wings to move for an aerodynamic performance benefit.

The simplest way of explaining it is that teams want the front wings to change the way they work on the straights to improve their straighline speed and in the turn to improve cornering.

The FIA’s plan will be to bring in a further test in order to prevent the F1 teams attempting to get around the test procedures with their designs.

The FIA also plan to ban the unlimited use of the Drag-reduction system [DRS] during practice and qualifying. The current rules allow the drivers to use the DRS device on any part of the circuit during practice and qualifying, but then only allow them to use it in a certain zone, when a car is within 1 second of the car in front during the race.

FIA’s Race Director Charlie Whiting spoke at the Circuit of The Americas on Thursday and announced that this practice would change in 2013 for safety reasons.

He said: ‘It’s something we told the teams about the other day and we’re going to do that for safety reasons, We believe that there have been a number of incidents – and drivers have told me now – that it’s becoming increasingly prevalent.’ he told Sky Sports.

‘One could argue that early deployment of DRS is not much different to early deployment of throttle, for example. But the DRS is a sort of ‘On/Off’ switch, whereas throttle can be modulated, so it’s not quite the same thing, We didn’t really want to have it used in qualifying and practice before but we were rather worried that we may not have effective DRS systems.

‘Now I believe, from all the information we have, we should not see any reduction in the effectiveness, the power, of the DRS.

‘Teams will still use it because, even though they’re only allowed to use it in perhaps two places on the circuit, I think the benefit will still be there for them.’


The ‘force majeure’ rule in qualifying has come under the spotlight on two separate occasions this season. The first instance of the rule was when McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton’s Spanish Grand Prix pole position was deleted from the record books and Hamilton was forced to start from the back of the grid.

Then in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel fell foul of the rule and eventually went on to start the race from the pit-lane.

The problem with the rule is that it isn’t very clear and is open to interpretation and argument, so a more simplified black or white rule will be adopted.

‘We discussed it last week in the TWG [FIA’s Technical Working Group] and the consensus of opinion is to remove the term ‘force majeure’ and make it clear what is allowed and is not allowed.’ Whiting told Autosport Magazine.

‘I think we will probably end up with a rule that doesn’t mention force majeure and simply says that if you stop on the circuit you have to have enough fuel in the car.

‘The FIA will calculate how much you would have used if you had completed the lap and, if it does not add up to 1.42 litres or whatever it is, that is that. That is a logical way of going about it, I think.’

 

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