Safety, penalties in F1…the FIA validates several changes for Austin and beyond. The World Motor Sport Council, meeting in London on Wednesday 19 October, approved a series of safety-related improvements to the sporting and technical regulations of Formula One.
For the Formula One technical regulations for the 2023 season, the World Motor Sport Council approved an increase in the size of the mirrors for better visibility “in the blind spot” of the cars, as well as an improvement to the braking system.
Teams had already been self-testing a larger mirror type since around the Canadian GP this year after agreeing that larger mirrors would be written into the rules for 2023. The testing also allowed for data collecting for the FIA.
Improved rearward vision for drivers
Red Bull, for instance, ran a standard small mirror on the cars in practice in Canada – with the other side featuring a bigger and bulkier version for direct comparison.
“In the area diagonally to the rear, the view is currently severely limited,” the FIA’s technical boss Nikolas Tombazis told Auto Motor und Sport.
Mercedes tried a bigger mirror at Spa, with Alpine, McLaren and Haas all following suit for the Dutch GP with the 423 x 187mm dimension layout.
Tombazis admitted that one potential side-effect of the bulkier mirrors is that, whilst addressing the rear visibility issue, they will add another forward-facing obstacle for the drivers.
“We have to avoid the driver seeing less ahead because the mirror is in the way. There is only a small window where it fits,” he said.
Further safety measures taken
Further improvements have been made to the roll bar regulations, which have been tightened following an FIA investigation launched after the accident involving Zhou Guanyu at the British Grand Prix at the start of the race when the Alfa Romeo driver ended up upside down at the bottom of the gravel trap at the first corner.
Shocking footage of Zhou’s huge crash at Silverstone
At the start of the F1 British Grand Prix, the Alfa Romeo driver who was ninth on the grid, was hit from behind by the Mercedes driven by Britain’s George Russell. His Alfa Romeo immediately took off and landed upside down a few metres further on before sliding (still upside down) to the bottom of the gravel trap at the first corner where it finally ended up against the catch fence behind the Tecpro barriers.
The British Grand Prix was immediately brought to a halt with a red flag to allow rescue workers to come to the aid of the Chinese driver still trapped in the cockpit of his Alfa Romeo chassis.
— Tanya 🧚🏾♀️ (@Taaaanxo) July 3, 2022
Drivers excluded if they abandon their cars
Further ruling clarification says that any Formula 1 driver who abandons their car will be considered to have withdrawn from the session with the newly-added Article 26.18 saying:
“…any car abandoned on the circuit by its driver, even temporarily, shall be considered as withdrawn from the session”.
So if any driver leaves their car, there will be no opportunity for them to climb back into the cockpit and continue in a practice, qualifying, sprint race or grand prix session.
Grid drops for the US Grand Prix
In terms of sporting regulations, the new procedure for determining grid positions after the application of various penalties has been clarified and has been put in place with immediate effect, meaning that from the US Grand Prix in Austin this weekend, this new procedure will already be in place. This website published a detailed overview of this earlier today READ MORE ON THIS STORY.
In summary, the grid drop rules are:
a) Classified drivers who have received 15 or less cumulative grid penalties will be allocated a temporary grid position equal to their Qualifying Classification plus the sum of their grid penalties. If two or more drivers share a temporary grid position, their relative order will be determined in accordance with their Qualifying Classification, with the slowest driver keeping their allocated temporary grid position, and the other drivers getting temporary grid positions immediately ahead of them.
b) Following the allocation of temporary grid positions to penalised drivers in accordance with (a), unpenalised classified drivers will be allocated any unoccupied grid position, in the sequence of their Qualifying Classification.
c) Following the allocation of grid positions to unpenalised classified drivers, penalised drivers with a temporary grid position, as defined in (a), will be moved up to fill any unoccupied grid position.
d) Classified drivers who have accrued more than 15 cumulative grid position penalties, or who have been penalised to start at the back of the grid, will start behind any other classified driver. Their relative position will be determined in accordance with their Qualifying Classification.
e) Unclassified drivers who have been permitted to participate by the Stewards will be allocated grid positions behind all the classified drivers. Their relative positions will be determined in accordance with Article 39.3 (b).