F1: Major changes in 2013 regulations
In my previous article, I talked about what was discussed regarding the 2014 regulations in the WMSC meeting in Istanbul this week.
Now, let us see what was discussed about the 2013 regulations and what major changes we are going to see.
Front Wing tests
In recent years, the teams have always pushed the limits of the regulations and one area has been the flexing of the front wing. Teams like Red Bull have exploited it to gain aerodynamic performance. At the 2011 Indian Grand Prix, we were able to see significant flexing of the front wing down the long straight, especially on Felipe Massa‘s Ferrari. As a result of that and many incidents like that throughout 2011, the FIA tightened the regulations by introducing strict front wing loading tests where the load application point was moved inwards as compared to what was done during the 2011 season. Even after that, F1 aerodynamicists flexed the wing as much as possible (maximum height which was allowed in the regulations) and extracted performance during the 2012 season. The FIA didn’t like that the teams were absolutely pushing the regulations to the limit, and hence going against the spirit of the regulations. So, now the governing body has decided to introduce more stringent front wing loading tests to curtail flexing to the bare minimum.
Increase in Minimum weight
For 2012, the minimum weight of an F1 car was 640 kg including the ballast. Now, as the 2013 tyres will be a bit heavier, so the minimum weight has also been raised.
The “force majuere” rule has been deleted from the regulations. It caused some confusion after qualifying for this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel had to stop his car on track at the end of Q3. So, in case of a similar event from now onwards, the FIA will determine how much fuel was required for the car to return back to the pitlane and add it to the mandatory minimum one litre sample .
Higher Static Loads
Until now, one chassis was subjected to the higher loads and the other one to 20% less loads. Now all chassis will be subjected to the same higher loads.
DRS use during practice and qualifying
Drivers will, from now on, be able to use DRS during practice and qualifying in only those designated areas where it can be applied during the race. This rule has been introduced as a measure of increasing safety after some concerns from different teams.
The curfew rule didn’t allow teams to work on their cars during the race weekend for a certain period of time during the night depending on where the race is being held, with Singapore curfew rules being a bit different from other tracks because of it being a night race. The rules allowed a maximum of 4 exceptions to every team during the whole season – now that has been reduced to just 2. On the other hand, the curfew duration for Thursday night has been increased from 6 to 8 hours.