In a meeting today, the FIA World Motor Sport Council made a number of decision that will affect the Formula One Championship in 2011.
Pirelli was announced as the single tyre supplier for three years starting in 2011. This won’t be the Italian company’s first time in Formula One, having last competed in 1991. Pirelli are also the official supplier for the World Rally Championship.
The minimum car weight has been raised from 620kg to 640kg. Perhaps to allow for the use of KERS.
A number of clarifications have also been added that are clearly targeted at recent events.
For Lewis Hamilton’s memorable qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix:
With immediate effect, if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.
And for Michael Schumacher’s creative overtaking of Fernando Alonso at Monaco:
With immediate effect, no car may overtake until it has passed the first safety car line for the first time when the safety car is returning to the pits. However, if the safety car is still deployed at the beginning of the last lap, or is deployed during the last lap, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.
And for Lewis Hamilton’s “over-exuberant” off-track driving in Australia:
Competitors at FIA events must act as ambassadors for the sport, be aware their conduct on the road must be exemplary and respect road safety rules. The World Council agreed that the International Sporting Code be examined to ensure the Federations overall objectives and, in particular, its commitment to road safety, are upheld.
The F-ducts, first introduced and used to great effect this year by McLaren will be banned from 2011:
With the exception of the parts necessary for the driver adjustable bodywork, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited from 2011.
Note, however, that this last point refers to an interesting new provision for adjustable bodywork:
From 2011, adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed two laps. The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated.
This is clearly an attempt to improve the ability of a car running close behind another to overtake. It sounds like a workable and interesting solution although we must remember the adjustable front wing was also designed for this and had little to no effect.
While I have greater hope for this new rule I think we need to be careful about placing too much emphasis on aerodynamics and look at what made Canada such a thrilling race – tyres. It will be up to Pirelli to prove they can not only supply tyres that are workable but can also add to the spectacle of the race itself.
Perhaps taking onboard Luca di Montezemolo’s complaining about the new teams, there will also be a new 107% qualifying rule:
From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards.