Saturday, 17 March 2012

F1 rules and changes for the 2012 season

1. Sporting Regulations
- All engine standard ECU set up and control parameters, which were formerly contained only within a Technical Directive, are now contained within the relevant parts of the Technical Regulations
- The exhaust tailpipes are now strictly regulated in order to ensure that the aerodynamic effect exhaust gases have on the car is kept to an absolute minimum
- Better marking of in-car emergency switches operated by marshals are now stipulated
- The side impact structures will now have to be subjected to a further (upward) push-off test
Changes to the 2012 Sporting Regulations
- Cars may no longer take part in pre-season testing without having passed all crash tests
- There will now be a maximum race time of 4 hours to ensure that a lengthy suspension of a race does not result in a race that could run up to 8 hours if left unregulated
- Before the safety car returns to the pits all lapped cars will be allowed to unlap themselves and then join the back of the pack, ensuring a clean re-start without slower cars impeding those racing for the leading positions
- Cars which were in the pit lane when a race is suspended will now be allowed to re-join the cars on the grid in the position they were in when the race was suspended
- Drivers may no longer leave the track without a justifiable reason, i.e. cutting a chicane on reconnaissance laps or ‘in’ laps to save time and fuel
- Drivers may no longer move back onto the racing line having moved off it to defend a position
- One three-day test will be carried out during the season, formerly there were none
- All stewards’ decisions which are not subject to appeal are now in one place instead of being in various places within the regulations.
- All tyres allocated to a driver may now be used on the first day of practice; formerly only three sets were permitted.

No blown diffusers
The FIA is clamping down on engine mapping and exhaust positioning to minimise designers’ use of exhaust gases in a car’s aerodynamics, effectively outlawing blown diffusers

Crash tests
There will be tougher side impact testing and new cars must now pass all required FIA crash tests prior to any on-track testing

Safety car
During a safety-car period, all lapped cars will be allowed to unlap themselves and then join the back of the pack, ensuring a clean re-start without slower cars impeding those racing for the leading positions

Driving etiquette
Drivers may no longer leave the track without a justifiable reason, i.e. cutting a chicane on reconnaissance laps or in-laps to save time and fuel, and drivers may no longer move back onto the racing line having moved off it to defend a position

Race suspensions
There will now be a maximum race time of four hours to ensure that a lengthy suspension of a race does not result in a race that could run up to eight hours if left unregulated. Cars which were in the pit lane when the race was suspended will now be allowed to re-join the cars on the grid in the position they were in at the time of the race suspension

In addition to the established pre-season tests, one three-day test will be carried out during the season. Formerly there was none

Tyre allocation
All tyres allocated to a driver may now be used on the first day of practice. Formerly only three sets were permitted on the opening day of the Grand Prix weekend

2. Technical regulations

Bodywork and dimensions
The size and dimensions of Formula One cars are tightly controlled by the regulations. They must be no more than 180cm wide. The length and height of the car are effectively governed by other specific parameters.
For example, bodywork ahead of the rear wheel centre line must be a maximum of 140cm wide. Bodywork behind it must be no more than 100cm wide. Front and rear overhangs are limited to 120cm and 60cm respectively from the wheel centre lines.
The strict regulations mean that the teams inevitably end up with very similarly sized cars. A typical car will be in the region of 4635mm long, 1800mm wide and 950mm high.
With the exception of the rear wing (see below), moveable bodywork is not allowed. Furthermore, any system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car's bodywork is prohibited.
Cars may be equipped with moveable rear wings which allow the driver to control the wing's angle of incidence (within specified limits) from the cockpit. However, during the race the system is electronically governed and is only available when a driver is less than one second behind another car at pre-determined points on the track. The system is then deactivated once the driver brakes. In combination with KERS, this is designed to boost overtaking.
more detalied here                

Brake system
Formula One cars must have one brake system operated through a single brake pedal. However, the system must comprise two hydraulic circuits - one for the front wheels and one for the rear. Should one circuit fail the other must remain operational. Power brakes and anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are not allowed.
Each wheel must have no more than one brake disc of 278mm maximum diameter and 28mm maximum thickness. Each disc must have only one aluminium caliper, with a maximum of six circular pistons, and no more than two brake pads.
The size of the air ducts used to cool the brakes is strictly controlled and they must not protrude beyond the wheels. The use of liquid to cool the brakes is forbidden.
more detalied here                     

Car construction
The construction of Formula One cars and the materials used are strictly controlled by the regulations to maximise their safety.
The main structure of the car comprises a safety cell which contains the cockpit plus the fuel tank, which is housed immediately behind (but separated from) the driver.
This safety cell must meet minimum size requirements and must have an impact-absorbing structure immediately in front of it. The design of the car must also include an additional impact-absorbing structure at the rear, behind the gearbox.
The car must have two roll structures to protect the driver in the event of the car overturning. One must be immediately behind the driver’s head, the other at the front of the cockpit, immediately ahead of the steering wheel.
The car and its survival cell must pass several strict impact, roll and static load tests.
more detalied here                    

The size of a Formula One car’s cockpit opening must comply with strict specifications. Compliance with these specifications is tested by lowering a specially made template into the cockpit.
In addition to this, the cockpit must meet numerous other requirements. A driver must be able to get in and out of the car without removing anything other than its steering wheel. Once strapped into the car with all his safety gear on, he must be able to remove the steering wheel and get out within five seconds, and then replace the steering within a further five seconds.
The car’s survival cell structure, designed to protect the driver in the event of an accident, must extend at least 300mm beyond the driver's feet, which must not be forward of the front-wheel centre line.
more detalied here      

Electrical systems
The electrical and software systems of all cars are inspected by the FIA at the start of the season and the teams must notify them in advance of any subsequent changes. All teams must use the same FIA-specification Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for controlling engine and gearbox.
All software must be registered with the FIA, who check all the programmable systems on the cars prior to each event to ensure that the correct software versions are being used. Electronic systems which can automatically detect the race start signal are forbidden.
All cars must have an accident data recorder. This is linked to a medical warning light positioned ahead of the cockpit opening, which gives rescue crews an immediate indication of the severity of an accident.
In the cockpit, every car must have a track signal information display, which informs the driver of circuit conditions via red, blue and yellow lights.
more detailed here                

Engines and KERS
Formula One engines may be no more than 2.4 litres in capacity. They must have eight cylinders in a 90-degree formation, with two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder. They must be normally aspirated, weigh at least 95 kilograms and be rev-limited to 18,000rpm.
The only other permitted power source is a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which takes waste energy generated under braking and turns it into additional power. This is then made available to the driver in fixed quantities per lap via a steering wheel-mounted boost button.
Turbochargers, superchargers and devices designed to pre-cool air before it enters the engine's cylinders are not allowed. Nor is the injection of any substance into the cylinders other than air and fuel. Variable-geometry inlet and exhaust systems are also forbidden, as is variable valve timing. Each cylinder may have just one fuel injector and ignition must be by a single spark plug.
The materials used in the manufacture of the engine and its components are strictly controlled by the regulations. The crankcase and cylinder block must be made of cast or wrought aluminium alloys - the use of composite materials is not allowed. The crankshaft and camshafts must be made from an iron-based alloy, pistons from an aluminium alloy and valves from alloys based on iron, nickel, cobalt or titanium.
Formula One cars do not have their own, onboard starting systems. Separate starting devices may be used to start engines in the pits and on the grid. If the engine is fitted with an anti-stall device, this must be set to cut the engine within ten seconds in the event of an accident.
more detailed here              

Formula One cars run on petrol, the specification of which is not that far removed from that used in regular road cars. Indeed, the FIA regulations state that the rules are “intended to ensure the use of fuels which are predominantly composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels and to prohibit the use of specific power-boosting chemical compounds.”
All fuel must comply with strict requirements and prior to each race the teams must supply the FIA with two separate five-litre samples for analysis and approval. Additional samples can then be taken during the event to ensure that there is no discrepancy between the fuel being used and that previously supplied in the samples.
more detalied here                       

Fuel system and refuelling
The fuel tanks on Formula One cars comprise a single rubber bladder. These must be made of materials approved by the FIA and must be manufactured by certain approved companies.
The tank must be situated directly behind the driver and directly ahead of the engine. All fuel lines must be self-sealing in the event of an accident and no lines must pass through the cockpit.
The fuel tank must be encased within a crushable structure that forms part of the car's safety cell. This structure must be able to withstand very high impact loads as specified in the regulations.
The FIA may take a one-litre fuel sample from any car at any time during a Grand Prix meeting to check that the fuel being used is legal.
more detalied here              

Impact testing
Formula One cars must pass strict impact tests to ensure they meet the necessary safety standards. The tests must be carried out under FIA guidelines and in the presence of an FIA technical delegate.
The cars undergo a front, side and rear test. The tests focus on the car’s survival cell, which must be left undamaged by the impacts. All structural damage must be limited to the car’s impact absorbing structures, for example, the side-pods, the nose etc.
The car’s steering column must also pass an impact test, which simulates the unlikely event of a driver’s head striking the steering wheel. The column itself must deform to absorb the majority of the impact and the wheel’s quick release mechanism must not be damaged.
more detalied here    
Oil and coolant systems
The design and location of the oil tanks on Formula One cars are strictly controlled to minimise the risk of oil leaking in the event of an engine failure or an accident. Oil may not be added to cars during the race.
The car’s coolant header tank must have an FIA-approved pressure release valve. The cooling system must not make any use of the latent heat produced by the cooling process.
Coolant and oil lines are not allowed to pass through the cockpit. They must also be fitted so that any leaked fluid cannot find its way into the cockpit.
more detalied here                   

Roll structure testing
All Formula One cars must pass strict roll structure tests to ensure that the driver is adequately protected should the car turn over during an accident.
more detalied here              

Safety equipment
All cars must be fitted with a fire extinguishing system that will discharge into the cockpit and engine compartment. It must be operable by the driver and must function even if the car’s main electrical circuit fails.
There must also be a switch to trigger the system from outside the cockpit. Its location on the bodywork is indicated by a red letter “E” inside a white circle.
There must be a circuit breaker switch in the cockpit that the driver can use to cut all the car’s main electrical circuits. This is marked on the dashboard by a red spark in a white-edged blue triangle. There must be an additional switch that marshals can operate from a distance with the use of a special hook. This switch is located at the base of the car’s main roll-over structure.
All cars must have two rear-view mirrors, whose size and location must comply with strict requirements. Drivers must demonstrate to the FIA the effectiveness of the mirrors by identifying special letter and number boards placed at various distances behind the car whilst seated in the cockpit.
Seatbelts are compulsory in Formula One racing. Drivers must wear two shoulder straps, one abdominal strap and two straps between the legs. These must comply with strictly specified FIA standards.
All cars must have a red light on the rear of the car in a specific location defined by the FIA regulations. The driver must be able to switch this light on at any time. This is usually done in poor weather conditions in order to make the car more visible to following drivers.
The cockpit of the car must be padded to protect the driver in the event of an impact. In particular, the areas immediately behind and to the sides of his head, and above and to the sides of his legs.
In order to easily extract a driver from a car in the event of an accident its seat must be removable with the driver in place and his seatbelts fastened. The seat must be secured by no more than two bolts, which can be released using a standard tool issued to all rescue crews.
more detalied here            

Static load testing
In addition to impact tests, Formula One cars, and in particular the survival cell that houses the driver, must also pass static load tests. These ensure that the structure of the car meets minimum strength requirements.
The survival cell is tested, as is the nose and the rear impact structure of the car. In addition, the floor below the fuel tank and the cockpit, and the rim of the cockpit must also pass strict tests. All of these requirements help to make Formula One cars safer than ever before.
more detalied here                   

Suspension and steering systems
Formula One cars must have conventional sprung suspension. Any system, such as active suspension, that can alter the suspension or its geometry while the car is moving is forbidden.
The suspension members must have a symmetrical profile for the majority of their length. This is to prevent designers using them as aerodynamic devices.
Each wheel must be tied to the body of the car by two tethers, each contained within a separate suspension member and with its own attachments at either end. The tethers must meet specific tensile strength requirements and are designed to stop the wheels coming loose from the car in the event of an accident or suspension failure.
Power steering systems are allowed, but these must not be electronically controlled or powered. Four-wheel steering is forbidden. The car’s steering wheel, steering column and steering rack all have to pass an FIA impact test.
more detalied here
Television cameras and timing transponders
Throughout the Grand Prix weekend all cars must be fitted with at least five housings for cameras which are used to provide on-board TV footage.
The positions of the housings are specified in the regulations and the one mounted on top of the air box immediately behind the driver’s head must always contain a camera.
All cars must also be fitted with two timing transponders supplied by the officially appointed timekeepers. These transponders allow the timekeepers to record every lap time of every car throughout the weekend.
more detalied here               

Transmission system
Modern Formula One cars use seven-speed semi-automatic gearboxes. Regulations stipulate a maximum of seven forward gears plus reverse. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) systems are not allowed and cars may have no more than two driven wheels. Transmissions may not feature traction control systems, nor devices that help the driver to hold the clutch at a specific point to aid getaway at the start of the race.
For safety reasons all cars must have a means of disengaging the clutch that is operable from outside the cockpit by marshals. This control is usually situated just ahead of the cockpit opening and is marked on the car’s body by a red letter 'N' within a white circle.
more detalied here

Cars must weigh at least 640kg (including the driver) at all times. Teams may use ballast to bring cars up to weight. This must be firmly secured to the cars. Ballast may not be removed or added during a race.
more detalied here        

Wheels and tyres
Formula One cars must have four, uncovered wheels, all made of the same metallic material, which must be one of two magnesium alloys specified by the FIA. Front wheels must be between 305 and 355mm wide, the rears between 365 and 380mm.
With tyres fitted the wheels must be no more than 660mm in diameter (670mm with wet-weather tyres). Measurements are taken with tyres inflated to 1.4 bar. Tyres may only be inflated with air or nitrogen.
more detalied here           


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