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Sutil to Sauber (Updated 17:00)
Where to start…… all in all some 3500 words have been added to the sporting regulations for 2014…. deep breath and here we go.
The FIA have today confirmed the new penalty points system which will in effect be endorsements attached to drivers’ super licenses. 12 points means an automatic ban for the next race and then the endorsements will be erased and the process begins again.
Points will remain not just for the calendar year, but for 12 months from the endorsement. The concept is to penalise persistent offenders whilst drivers who commit the odd minor offense now get points rather than an immediate penalty.
Unsafe release penalties have been strengthened and subject to the stewards’ opinion of the severity of transgression. In practice sessions or qualifying, the driver can be given a grid slot drop.
Further, if the unsafe release occurs during the race, the driver can receive a 10 second time penalty or ordered to serve a pit lane drive through. However, if following the incident the driver is unable to continue they will receive a 10 grid slot drop the following race.
Engine penalties are now specified too. The engine is deemed to have 6 components – the internal combustion engine, the motor generator unit-kinetic, the motor generator unit-heat, the energy store, the turbocharger and the control electronics.
Each element may fail 5 times without penalty. The first component to fail for a sixth time will attract a 10 place grid penalty. Then each other component failing a sixth time will merely see a 5 place grid drop applied.
A first component to fail 7 times will attract another 10 place drop, the second component to fail for a 7th time will only see a 5 place grid drop applied – and so on for 8,9,10…..
If the entire power unit fails this will mean the driver starts from the pit lane at the next opportunity.
Finally, should a driver incur more than one grid penalty before he has an opportunity to serve the first, the total number of positions penalised will be added together.
If a driver is unable to drop the necessary places the penalty requires, he will start 22nd at the next race and then drop the remaining places at the following race. It is unclear what would happen if a 3rd and 4th race were required to fulfil the penalty.
Gear box penalties are less lenient in 2014. Each unit must last six races or a 5 place grid penalty will be enforced.
Leaving the track
Cars leaving the track regulations have changed too. The bold words have been added for 2014. “Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage. At the absolute discretion of the race director a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he gained by leaving the track”.
Mmm. That clears that up then… Next………..!
The FIA sets out the definitions of the kinds of testing. Testing of Current Cars (TCC), Testing of Previous Cars (TPC), Testing of Historic Cars (THC) and Promotional Events (PE).
These are defined as follows in the Sporting Regulations: “Testing of Current Cars (TCC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an Event, in which a competitor entered in the championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the 2013, 2014 or 2015 Formula One Technical Regulations. No competitor may sell or make available a car of the current year to any third party without the full knowledge of the FIA.
Each competitor will also be permitted to carry out two Promotional Events (PE) with the above cars which will not be considered TCC. A PE shall be defined as an event in which a competitor participates purely for marketing or promotional purposes. No such test may exceed 100km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used.
In order that an FIA observer may be appointed, competitors must inform the FIA of any planned TCC or PE at least 72 hours before it is due to commence, the following information should be provided:
i) The precise specification of the car(s) to be used.
ii) The name(s) of the driver(s) if known.
iii) The nature of the test.
iv) The date(s) and intended duration of the test.
v) The purpose of the test.
22.2 Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an Event, in which a competitor entered in the championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the 2010, 2011 or 2012 Formula One Technical Regulations.
TPC may only be carried out with cars built to the specification of the period and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose may be used.
In order that an FIA observer may be appointed, where possible competitors must inform the FIA of any planned TPC at least 72 hours before it is due to commence, the following information should be provided:
i) The precise specification of the car(s) to be used.
ii) The name(s) of the driver(s) if known.
iii) The nature of the test.
iv) The date(s) and intended duration of the test.
v) The purpose of the test.
[TJ13 asks: What is the difference between ‘nature’ and ‘purpose’.. Mmm]
22.3 Testing of Historic Cars (THC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an Event, in which a competitor entered in the championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the 2009 Formula One Technical Regulations or earlier.
THC may only be carried out with cars built to the specification of the period and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose, or tyres of the period, may be used”.
In season testing
The teams will be allowed 4, 2 day tests which must take place “on circuits where an event has just taken place, such tests commencing no less than 36 hours after the end of the relevant events.”
Pirelli have been given the opportunity to commandeer one of the days from 1 of each of the teams’ 4 tests regulated as follows.
“Allocation of dates will be negotiated with the appointed tyre supplier who will give priority to teams according to their positions in the previous year’s Championship.
Allocations must be declared by each team to the FIA before the start of the first Event of the Championship and may not be subsequently changed.
The team must test tyres on the allocated day according to run plan defined by the appointed tyre supplier.
The run plans and results for each day of tyre testing must be made available to all teams.
Tyres used during such testing day will not be drawn from the team’s annual allocation of tyres for testing”.
To the disbelief of many TJ13 readers, we asserted the principles behind this were being widely flouted by certain teams. The FIA believes this to be the case and has tightened the regulations governing the August break.
22.12 All competitors must observe a shut down period of fourteen consecutive days in the month of August during the time that two consecutive Events are separated by at least twenty four days.
Competitors should notify the FIA of their intended shut down period within 30 days of the start of the championship season.
During the shut down period no team, nor any of its suppliers, may carry out any of the following activities for or on behalf of the team:
a) Operation or use of any wind tunnel (excluding any service and maintenance activity).
b) Operation or use of any computer resource for Restricted CFD Simulations (excluding any service and maintenance activity).
c) Production or development of wind tunnel parts, car parts (including the power train), test parts or tooling.
d) Sub-assembly of car parts (including the power train) or assembly of cars.
e) Any work activity by any employee, consultant or sub-contractor engaged in development or production (excluding any work activity to be undertaken at the race track in preparation for the Event immediately following the shut down period).
Each competitor must notify its suppliers of the dates of its shut down period and must not enter into any agreement or arrangement with the intention of circumventing the prohibition on the above activities.
22.13 During the shut down period the following activities will not be considered a breach of the above:
a) Repairs carried out with the agreement of the FIA to a car seriously damaged during the Event preceding the shut down period.
b) The assembly and servicing of running or static show cars, none of which may entail the production, assembly or servicing of any current car parts.
c) The operation and use of any wind tunnel or computer resource for Restricted CFD Simulations provided this is being carried out for projects with no direct relation to Formula One or for or on behalf of a competitor that is not at that time within its own shut down period.
d) Any activity the sole purpose of which is supporting projects unconnected to Formula One, subject to the written approval from the FIA.
Free Practice 1
Teams may now use up to 4 drivers in this session, instead of the previously regulated 2. Further an extra set of the prime tyre will be issued in an attempt to encouraged the development of young drivers at the start of the session.
Poll position trophy
There had been debates in the F1 strategy group over introducing a 1 point reward for pole position. However, the final decision of the FIA is to not award points for pole or fastest laps but to present a trophy at the end of the season to the most successful driver in the season’s qualifying sessions.
In the event of a tie, Article 6.7 of the Sporting regulations states that “the driver with the greatest number of second places will win the trophy, if there is still the tie, the holder of the greatest number of third places and so on until a winner emerges”. Though unlikely, this clause is added. “If this procedure fails to produce a result, the FIA will nominate the winner according to such criteria as it thinks fit.”
Great… more ambiguity. Why not aggregate the differential between the tied drivers’ pole position times and the associated second place times…. and as is true in many walks of life – the biggest wins.
Also written into the rules, on the back of an earlier announcement about permanent driver numbers, is the necessity for drivers to display their chosen number on their helmet in “a large, visible format”.
Kimi is allegedly asking for the number 0. Apparently Ferrari asked for the number 27 to be permanently retired, but were refused.
Serious Fraud Office to investigate Ecclestone
Ecclestone one day may plot his way through the legal maze in which he presently finds himself and find he is still a free man and has avoided court sanction of any kind…. (and then sees a mouse swimming by).
Tonight, Ms Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, has spoken out on BBC TV’s Newsnight broadcast over the lack of investigative interest from the British authorities in Ecclestone’s affairs.
She tells how she first wrote to Attorney General Dominic Grieve about Mr Ecclestone’s financial affairs in 2011, when he appeared as a witness in Gribkowsky’s trial.
“I got letters back which weren’t terribly informative to say the least… so we’re two years down the line and I’m very disappointed that it doesn’t seem as though the British authorities are taking this as seriously as they should be,” she claimed.
“It’s really important for the reputation of this country that people know that we don’t rely on prosecutors around the world to prosecute our citizens if our citizens have done something wrong. We should be able to prosecute.”
The Constantin v Ecclestone et al trial is coming to a conclusion in the High Court in London, and of course there is some political capital to be made by some over the fact Ecclestone just looks dodgy.
The Labour MP presses the point, “We cannot just walk away from this case. It does seem to me that we have a duty to investigate this. What is the Serious Fraud Office for if not for investigating cases like this?”
I guess at least Bernie will take comfort from the fact it is the ‘serious fraud’ office be called to action, and not the office for investigating insignificant bods.
Ms Thornberry persists like a dog with a bone, “All I can say is that from what we’ve seen in the German courts and the British civil courts, there are questions to be answered. There should be proper investigation by both the Serious Fraud Office and by HMRC about Bernie Ecclestone and as far as I can see that isn’t happening.
Whatever happens in Germany I want to know what’s happened in this country… I asked them two years ago… and as far as we can see nothing much has happened.”
Probably the most damming evidence the court heard was when Donald MacKenzie, chairman of CVC, claimed that Mr E had apologised to him for forgetting to tell him about the payment he made to the German bank director, Gribkowsky who influenced the banks decision on to whom the F1 commercial rights should be sold.
In fact, Ecclestone didn’t just forget, he was asked by MacKenzie whether a payment had been to made Gribkowsky 2 years ago and replied “no”.
Ms Thornberry said: “I do think it’s really quite remarkable.”
A spokesman for the Serious Fraud Office told Newsnight, “The SFO is fully aware of the ongoing investigations in Germany into Bernie Ecclestone.”
Perez Backs double points
TJ13 readers have dismissed the idea that the 2014 Abu Dhabi victory should be worth 50 points instead of the usual 25, by over 8 to 1. Further, this move has been branded by F1’s golden boy, Sebastian Vettel, as “absurd”.
Yet full of the joys of a new F1 lease of life, Sergio Perez – who was announced today as the Force India partner to Nico Hulkenberg for 2014 – says it’s a “positive” thing.
“For some it will be right and for some it will be wrong, but I see the positive,” he told the assembled media at the Mexican Embassy in London. “I think it will create a much better final race where things can completely change for everyone. I see it [as a] positive [thing]…I am OK with the rule.”
What a difference a year makes
Each year in December Autosport publish a table of the top ten Formula 1 drivers as voted for by the team principals. 2012 saw Fernando Alonso top the list with 269 points, no less than 71 more than second placed Sebastian Vettel.
Yesterday, the 2013 table was published however, Vettel is first with 246 points and Alonso 35 points behind with 213.
One year ago today, the first Mercedes soldier to fall at the hands of newly appointed Niki Lauda was Norbert Haug. Ross Brawn too has now gone, and the dream team Wolff and Lowe are in charge of taking things forward.
Goodbye F1 V8
The V8 era saw a number of interesting developments in F1. The first was the ‘engine freeze’ introduced in 2007 along with a rev limit set at 19,000 rpm. This was reduced in 2009 to 18,000 rpm and the homologation of the major engine parts forced the designers to look for other areas where they could improve performance.
Engine mapping was not at term many F1 fans would have heard at the turn of the millennium when the V10’s ruled the roost, however in the latter part of the F1 V8 engine era, Renault became the masters of this and delivered the right kind and amount of power/torque to the Newey’s designed cars which have dominated the sport for the past 4 years.
At times the F1 forums suggest that F1 has become mostly irrelevant to modern day mass motor manufacturers in terms of technology drip down. Yet prior to the 8 engine’s a season rule, F1 teams fitted and disposed of engines at will.
Rob White of Renault Sport reflects on the impact of the rule which forced teams to use an engine for up to 3 races. “We have therefore learned a lot about increasing engine and component life, without any major technology change or performance penalty. As a result engines can now run for up to 2,500km without any significant power drop off. In the past engine life was just over 350km, so we are running to more than seven times the distance of twelve years ago”.
Had the FIA not introduced a rev limit, White believes the engine manufacturers would have persued greater rpm until limited by the physics of the combustion process. This would be where diminishing returns would become evident from the increased friction with increasing rotational speed.
“Without any other new regulatory constraint, I imagine we would have reached over 22,000 rpm by now and would have found a further 75 horsepower (ie +10%), equivalent to a lap time gain of around 2 sec at Monza”.
The specifications which restricted the design of the V8 engines, was not particularly prescriptive. Whilst common characteristics including the bore size and rpm limit must be adhered to by all manufacturers, White reveals, “there are many thousands of design decisions that are not fixed in the regulations”.
The V8 engines were relatively immature and the manufacturers had fairly diverse solutions when the engine freeze was applied. Rob White believes that had the engine design remained ‘unfrozen’ the manufacturers over time would all have converged on similar solutions. The freeze in effect preserved the differing ‘structural architectures’ each engine manufacturer had at the time.
White reveals that the most difficult engine parts to maintain are the perennial stressed parts such as the pistons, connecting rods and bearings that the power travels through. “For example the pistons are stressed to more than 8,000 times the force of gravity (they accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in less than 1/2000th of a sec). The actual weight of a piston is only 250g but when the engine revs to its maximum limit of 18,000rpm (that’s 300 revs per second !) the acceleration exerts a force of 2 tonnes on the piston and conrod”.
The challenge the new F1 V6 turbos bring to the engine manufacturers is immense. Clearly Renault won the battle of the V8’s hands down from the rest, but it is unclear how things will fall when the first powertrain is fired up in anger on track in Jerez, January 28th.
It will be fascinating to see when the FIA actually enforce the design freezes for the new engines, and how this affects the balance of power at that time.
For now it’s a macro scramble to find the optimum solution, before the curtain comes down on that part of the new engine developments, and the micro management becomes the focus.
(Quotes from Renault Sport published interview with Rob White)
Sutil to Sauber
Manfred Zimmermann, Sutil’s manager, states today that, “Adrian has a 2014 Formula 1 drive”, though he wouldn’t name with which team.
Yet this announcement can mean only one thing, Sutil will be in a Sauber next year. The German has dismissed more than once driving for Caterham and Marussia and other than that – there are no more F1 drives up for grabs.
Who will partner Sutil is still unclear. There have been reports that Gutierrez has been seen at Caterham and also that GIedo van der Garde has been spotted in Hinwil.
Gutierrez recently told South American publication, Total-Race, “We continue to work hard. I think there are good opportunities to continue in Formula 1 for me and I hope it works out. For me, Sauber is a priority because in Formula 1, continuity is important, but it’s always good to keep your options open.”
Motorsport Total reports that the change has now been officially declared. According to Sutil himself the contact with Sauber had been established around the time of the Singapore weekend. Sutil already had a Force India contract for 2014 (via option), but Force India bought him out of it to hire Hülkenberg. This explains why the announcement of Sutil’s Sauber contract took relatively long.