The first race of the season doesn’t begin until March but with the implementation of the new rules, which was designed to decrease a team’s operational costs as evidenced by Honda’s recent decision to put its team up for sale due to the prevailing ills in the economy worldwide, it is estimated that the teams shall be saving a lot of money.
These rules were agreed upon by Federation International Automobile chairperson Max Mosely and the rest of the team representatives during a meeting in December of 2008. I didn’t pay attention to what these changes are the first time it was talked about. But after seeing all the cars for this season, it made me browse through the net in search of these new rules. I also noticed that some races were scrapped and others were included.
So below are the changes viewers will notice once Formula One race season starts on March 27.
– Though there are still 17 races in the calendar, the Canadian and French Grand Prix have been dropped. Abu Dhabi is the new race venue.
– Force India shall be using Mercedes engines in their cars this season. The team used Ferrari engines before. But they signed a technical partnership agreement with McLaren Mercedes hence the transfer.
– Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s chief operating officer replaces Ron Dennis as McLaren Formula 1 racing team’s top guy. The two men have been working as a tandem even before Dennis decided to quit McLaren to preside over other projects of the McLaren Group. Dennis will still be watching the races but not as often as before.
– Sebastian Vettel, the Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari driver who won the race at Monza has switched teams and joined Red Bull Racing as a replacement for the now retired David Coulthard.
– The biggest change that the organizers is enforcing is the rule of eliminating all areodynamic features of the car’s bodywork and wings. The cars also have a wider front wing and a narrower and higher rear wing. The purpose is to give the driver more chances to overtake during a race by increasing mechanical grip while decreasing downforce created by the leading car’s aerodynamics.
– Slick tires make its comeback with groove tires replaced.
– KERS or Kinetic Energy Recovery System may be used optionally in the cars for this season. What a KERS unit does is it stores kinetic energy produced by the heat given off during braking and stores it. The driver can then use the stored energy with a flick of a switch to give the car extra power. The rules though limit the unit to releasing a maximum of 80 horsepower for seven seconds each lap. It should not add up the rpm, which is at 18,000 but may provide the driver the added power when trying to pass a driver or when defending one’s position.
– Other rule changes include the ban on testing during the season. All in-season testing shall be performed during the open Friday practice sessions on race day weekends.
– Drivers must use the same engines for three consecutive race weekends, with each driver in a team having eight. To improve an engine’s durability, rev limit were reduced to 18,000 from the previous 19,000.
With these changes, each driver is in a level playing field, with their championship hopes resting on the fact that all of the teams have to adjust and adjust fast to these new rules.