Several updates to the Formula 1 sporting and technical rules were made for the 2013 racing season, primary having to do with measures designed to protect driver safety and keep teams from unfairly using devices or systems that create a competitive edge.
First of all, in 2013 drivers are only able to utilize the Drag Reduction System (DRS) overtaking aid device within the designated DRS zones during practice and qualifying. Previously, drivers had been free to deploy the system whenever they pleased during these sessions.
Active double-DRS systems outlawed: In 2012 Mercedes developed a clever concept whereby air was channeled through an opening in the rear-wing end-plate when DRS was their car’s DRS was activated. But it also fed through the car to help stall the front wing. For 2013 such active drag reducing systems involving the DRS, such as this, have been banned.
Stepped noses: Teams have the option of tidying up the aesthetics of their cars in 2013 with the introduction of new regulations aimed at improving the look of what some considered “ugly” stepped noses first seen in 2012. A small piece of laminate (nicknamed a “modesty or “vanity” panel) may now be used to smooth the nose section.
Crash testing: To make F1 cars ever safer, tough new tests on roll structures and the survival cell have been introduced for 2013. Furthermore, every chassis that a team produces, as opposed to just one, will now be subject to a static load test of the survival cell.
Personnel Curfew: The team personnel curfew, which prevents team members from being in the paddock during certain periods, has been extended from six to eight hours on Thursday nights for 2013. The number of exceptions allowed during a season has also been reduced from four down to two.
Front wing tests: For 2013 the front wing deflection tests have been made more stringent, in an effort to lessen the possibility of race team employing flexible bodywork to enhance their car’s aerodynamic performance.
Minimum weight: The minimum weight of the car and driver has been increased from 1,410.96 lbs. (640 kg.) to 1,415.36 lbs. (642 kg.) to compensate for the slightly increased weight of the Pirelli tires used during the 2013 season. The mandatory weight distribution has also been adjusted accordingly.
Force majeure: For 2013 the “force majeure” allowance relating to when a car stops on the track during qualifying has been deleted from the regulations. The new rule states that any car that stops on the track must have enough fuel for the mandatory one-liter minimum sample, plus an additional amount proportional to the amount of fuel that would have been used in returning to the pits (determined by the FIA).
Qualifying: This is not actually a regulation change, but a reflection of the fact that only 22 cars will be officially competing in 2013, two fewer than in 2012. As a result, six cars rather than seven will now be eliminated at the end of both Qualifying 1 (Q1) and Qualifying 2 (Q2).
Championship entry fees: Championship entry fees have been revised. Red Bull Racing, as the reigning 2012 constructor’s champion, was required to pay $500,000 plus $6,000 for each point gained in the 2012 World Constructors’ Championship to enter the 2013 championship. Every other team was required to pay a basic fee of $500,000 plus $5,000 for each point scored in 2012.
2013 PRIMARY REGULATIONS
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. In addition there are a number of requirements that apply to liveries for all cars and teams.
Every car must carry its driver’s race number, which must be clearly visible from the front of the car, and the driver’s name must appear on the external bodywork of the car. The team’s name or emblem must also appear on the nose of the car. To help distinguish between a team’s two cars, the onboard cameras which sit on top of the main rollover structure are colored differently. On the first car it must remain as it is supplied to the team (black) and on the second car it must be predominantly fluorescent yellow.
Tires: Pirelli is the sole tire supplier for Formula 1 racing, offering its P Zero tires in a range of six compounds which are color-coded for easy identification. Two dry-weather specifications, one intermediate and one wet-weather compound are mandatory for each event on the calendar.
For this year’s FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in Austin, teams will use both the Hard (orange markings) and Medium (white markings) compound tires during the race, which is the same assignment as Circuit of The Americas’ inaugural race in 2012. Each driver may use 11 sets of the dry-weather tires: six of the “Prime” tire, which is the harder compound, and five of the “Option.” Unless wet weather intervenes, each driver must use at least one set of each specification during the race. Four sets of intermediates and three sets of wet-weather tires make up each driver’s allocation at each event.
Powertrain: Formula 1 cars use 2.4-litre V8 four-stroke engines that spin up to 18,000 rpm. Each engine must weigh a minimum of 95 kilograms. The weight of car and driver is a minimum of 1,415.36 lbs. (642 kg). Each driver may use only eight engines throughout the duration of the season. Should an engine change be necessary after he has used that allocation, a driver will incur a 10-place grid penalty.
Similarly, gearboxes must last for five consecutive events otherwise a five-place grid penalty is assessed. Teams may opt to use KERS (kinetic energy recovery systems) which allow the driver a gain in power of around 60 kilowatts once per lap. Speed limits in Pit Lane apply throughout the weekend. In free practice it is 37.28 mph (60 km/h). This rises to 62.13 mph (100 km/h) for the remainder of the event.
Race Distance: The race distance is approximately 189.52 miles (305 km) or a maximum of two hours, unless the race has to be suspended. In the latter case, the time under suspension will be added on, up to a maximum of four hours. Circuit of The Americas’ Formula 1 Grand Prix will consist of 56 laps around the 3.4-mile, Grade 1 racetrack.
Points: World Championship points are awarded to the top 10 finishers at each event on the following scale: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1.