A trip into F1 – 2014 Sporting Regulations

Only 9 days are left before the official start of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship. The Jerez and Bahrain testing sessions revealed how much complicated new cars are and, as a consequence, how difficult it is to understand real values.

F1 has experienced radical changes for this season. Changes involved not only the technical scope but also sporting regulations.

In these days we’ll try to focus on those aspects teams and race enthusiasts will have to keep an eye on to enjoy the show. We start our new trip by talking about Sport regulations’ changes.

LICENSE POINT SYSTEM: At the beginning of the Championship, every driver will have 12 points at his disposal on his Super-license. Every time he infringes regulations, race officials may decide to deduct some points, according to the severity of the offence committed. Once all points available are lost, the driver is not allowed to take part in the following GP.

NEW PENALTIES: a 5-sec-penalty was introduced. It is imposed when little offence is committed and it is imposed at the end of the race, after a driver has made his pit-stop or during the pit-stop. In the last case a driver will serve the 5-sec-penalty in the pit, thereafter mechanics will do tyre changing. In this regard some problems may arise, as it’s up to race officials to decide whether a penalty has to be imposed or not. As we saw in the last season, the criteria imposed by race officials were never the same. Since there is not a written code to set the severity of each offence in terms of points, personal criteria play a critical role. Personal criteria are different from a person to another, so common parameters don’t exist. The same is for the 5-sec-penalty (which is irrevocable). In a potential short standing, being imposed a 5-sec-penalty would mean to drop several positions. Even in this case race officials are free to take decisions…..But let’s go ahead:

DOUBLE POINTS RULE AND POLE TROPHY: Double points will be awarded at the Abu Dhabi GP and a trophy will be awarded to the driver who scores the most pole positions throughout the season. I think that the idea to award double points at the final race is simply absurd, as this way a driver may see all the work done throughout the season being nullified in a week end, without also considering that luck could play a key role, rather than a driver’s skill. I’m in favour of awarding points to the driver who scores the most pole positions. In this way, a driver’s performance would be rewarded, especially if we consider a driver’s first rival that is his team mate.

TYRES: starting from this season, teams will run a race using the same rubber which was used in Q2. All ten drivers will fight for the pole position in Q3 using special rubber – probably supersoft. As previously said, tyre changing was the real protagonist of the pre-season stage and, as we saw during test sessions, it caused several issues. Teams and engine manufacturers had issues with their power units and electric systems. In the last days we reported some team principals’ statements. A little more than a week prior to the Australian GP, they’ve jabbed at two key aspects such as reliability and fuel consumption.

In a couple of weeks teams will enter into new technical regulations which provide new rules about safety car, safety, chemistry, tyre changing…..but this is another story.