Here comes the second part of the miniseries looking at the new face of Formula One. Part one looked at the new races and new tracks, part two is about the rules. Here is the overview of the most significant and obvious rule changes:
There is a major change in the F1 points system to reflect the increased number of teams on the grid as well as give some incentive to overtake rather then settle for safe points. The old 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system is replaced with 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. Top ten drivers instead of top eight will get points. We need to wait and see whether this change achieves what it was designed to achieve. What we can sure about is its impact on the historical statistics, it will mess them up …
The change that will have the biggest impact on racing this year is the ban on refueling during the race. The fact that cars will start races with full fuel tanks (or full enough to last the race distance) is also reflected in the changes to Q3 qualifying – no more race fuel qualifying but low fuel flying laps. This is likely to result in the fastest rather than the lightest car on the pole position. In theory the fastest car should run away right after the start. But the drivers will have much heavier cars to handle at the start of the race than in the qualifying. The car quickest on empty tank may not be the fastest when fully fueled. The other important factor is that at the start of the race each car which took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his grid time. The tyre that wins on Saturday may not be the tyre that wins on Sunday… Tyre management and fuel efficiency will be much more important than in the previous seasons. We can expect the cars only to make one pit stop for the compulsory tyre change (prime vs. option), we can also expect the pit stops to be much faster without the need to refuel.
I also can’t wait to see how many teams will dare to gamble on safety cars in Monaco, Montreal, Singapore (or when rain is predicted for the race) and fuel lightly expecting to save fuel behind the safety car …
As mentioned above the main change in qualifying format is related to the refueling ban. Q3 will no longer be run with race fuel load but same as Q1 and Q2 with any fuel load considered right for the best qualifying time.
The number of cars that will be eliminated in each part of qualifying will be bigger than last year as there are more teams on the grid. We still do not know how many. But the simple formula is X = (Y-10)/2 where Y is the total number of cars competing this season, be it 22, 24 or 26, and X is the number of cars eliminated in Q1 and Q2. Same as in the past years ten fastest in Q2 will make it to Q1.
The complete 2010 F1 sporting and technical regulations with all the changes highlighted are available at the FIA site – links below: