Guide to F1’s new rules and regulations

-File photo

To the average sporting fan, the two biggest changes to Formula One’s rules this year will be the absence of the enforced ‘tactical’ refuelling pit stops and a new points scoring system.
There will still be pit stops, but they are going to be for tyres only – and this will see a return to the ‘old days’ of lightning fast stops with the crews striving to change all four wheels in less than four seconds.
This is because refuelling during the races is now banned and that has been accompanied by the introduction of fuel tanks that will hold around 175 kilos of fuel – enough to go a full race distance.
Tyre performance and tyre wear will be decisive factors in the racing with the smooth skills of former greats like four-times champion Frenchman Alain Prost – known as the ‘professor’ for his ability to look after his tyres in a race – coming to the fore again.
This could favour technical drivers like Britain’s defending world champion Jenson Button against the more aggressive men like his team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton.
In the points system, there will be points awarded to the top ten and not just the top eight as before. The new points are awarded as follows – 25 for a win, 18 for second and 15 for third, followed by 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and one.
In theory it encourages drivers to win and not just settle for a podium finish and also rewards more ambitious scraps in midfield with drivers pushing to claim a point.
Other major rule changes affect the tyres’ size and distribution, car weight, driver testing and the serving of in-race penalties. Tyres will be narrower at the front of the car this year by 25mm. This will change the weight distribution in the cars and reduce the disadvantages that heavier drivers suffered last year.
It will also make it more difficult to heat up the front tyres for single lap qualifying runs. Drivers will also receive only 11 sets of dry tyres per weekend this year instead of 14 and the top ten qualifiers must start the race on the same tyres they used in Q3.
The maximum car weight has increased from 605kg to 620kg at all times during a race weekend to accommodate bigger fuel tanks and longer wheel bases. Drivers who have never before raced in F1 – like Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari last year – will this year be allowed one day of testing in advance of their F1 debut.
Anyone punished and given a penalty during a race must come in and serve that penalty within two laps, not three, as previously. This will minimise the advantage a driver might gain by staying out for three laps.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2010