Rules & RegulationsHere's a condensed version of the most important Rules and Regulations that pertain to the Formula 1 Championship. If you wish to explore in more detail click here to access and directly download FIA documents.
DIMENSSIONS & WEIGHT
DIMENSSIONS: There are abundant of measurement specifications in design, parts, weight, and of course dimensions. The most relevant have to do with overall length, width and height of the car at 4635mm, 1800mm, and 950mm respectively. Most of these numbers come from combining distances from an specific parts or sections to a line, point, etc. and those values are the common rule, since teams look to optimize performance so they rely in different parameters as long as they do not infringe measurement rules (width is set at 180 centimeters maximum).
WEIGHT: the car must not be less than 642kg in the scale including the driver, and the balance between the front and the rear of the car has been defined to be 291kg and 342kgs. If the car is underweight, teams rely on ballast to increase it, which has to be securely allocated.
ENGINE, GEARBOX & KERS
ENGINE: the formula on main power source is homologated to have 8 cylinders in V shape at 90° with a capacity of 2.4 liters at a maximum controlled 18,000rpm. In addition, each cylinder has 4 valves: a pair for inlet and another for exhaust. Additionally, the units cannot weight more than 95kg and no more of eight of them can be used during the season.
GEARBOX: The news rules estipulate the unit to last for 5 races. The semi-automatic gearbox has 7 forward gears and one reverse. Continuously variable transmission systems are not allowed.
KERS: the Kinetic Energy Recovery system is device that captures the energy from the braking of the car, storage it and release it as requested by the driver. This power boost is activated from the steering wheel and it lasts between 6 and 7 seconds. The unit eight around 35kg and it generates around 80cv enough to entice overtaking or defensive maneuvers.
The Formula 1 car tyres are probably the single most important part of the car, and the one that more often defines a race. Starting in 2011, Pirelli will replace Bridgestone as the sole tyre supplier for all the teams. During the Grand Prix weekend each team receives 11 sets for dry-weather; 6 of them will be made of a harder compound and are call “prime” while the other 5 are of softer compound and named “option”, the latter will have a green band on the sidewall to make it recognizable. For wet conditions there will be four sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of full wet tyres.
In addition, during the race each car must use the two dry-weather compound tyres.
Finally, the cars that participated in Q3 will have to keep the same tyres for the start of the race on Sunday.
As in any modern car, electronics elements control and provide much of the data needed to analyze the cars performance, specifically of the engine and gearbox. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) follows FIA specifications and all teams must use the same. No electronic aid is allowed to help driver identify the race start signal, and Pit to car Telemetry is forbidden.
Additionally, the driver and pits communication channel must be opened at all times and the accident data recorders (ADR) must be operative at all times and follow FIA guidelines.
PRACTICE & QUALIFYING
PRACTICE: teams and drivers have three practices sessions available before qualification and the race. The first two are on Friday from 10.00 to 11.30 (P1) and from 14.00 to 15.30 (hour and a half for each). A final practice session is on Saturday at 11:00 for one hour. The team decides how many laps to run, which tyres to use and for how long, and/or how much fuel.
QUALIFYING: The hour-long qualification session is composed of three consequent phases to which define the grid position for Sunday’s race. All the participant drivers in a session can run as many laps as they wish.
The first session (Q1) lasts 20 minutes, once time is out, the slowest seven vehicles will be relegated. The reinstated 107% rule indicates that if a car lap time is above the aforementioned percentage in respect to the car with the best lap time, it will no be allowed to participate in the race. The second session (Q2) runs for 15 minutes and the again, the seven worst lap times will not advance to the final round. Finally, in Q3, the last ten driver will have 10 minutes to define who will take the first ten spots on the staring grid.
RACE & POINT SYSTEM
RACE: The race begins with a warm-up or formation lap, after which the cars take their positions on the starting grid in the order they qualified. The maximum distance of each race is 305km and maximum racing time limit is of two hours.
The start of the race is indicated by the light system that features five red lights, which are illuminated sequentially and turn off without a specified time (normally no more than 4 seconds).
During the race each car must use the two sets of dry-weather tyres provided, and most complete at least 90% of the laps covered by the winner to be considered “classified”.
POINT SYSTEM: the way that points have been awarded in relation to the position a car and its driver finishes a race has suffered several changes in time. Until 2009 the first 8 to finish received points accordingly; staring in 2011 and beyond it will be as follows:
PITS & REFUELING
PITS: For the 2011 season the pits track has been officially divided in two formal lanes. The one closest to the pit wall were part of senior team follows the race is designated as the “fast lane”, while the one closer to the garages with a now mandatory width of 3.4 meters, as the “inner lane”.
All personnel working on the pits must wear protective suits and helmets, and they will only leave the garage when a pit stop occurs.
REFUELLING: aside from the enforced fact that petrol or the “gasoline” used in Formula 1 cars is almost the same as seen in regular commercial car, where no special additives or mixes are allowed to increase performance. Since 2010 refueling during the race has been forbidden. Such regulation has an impact over design, given the need for bigger tanks, plus weight and hence performance.
PRE-RACE PARC FERME: is the enclosed designated area by the FIA where all the car scrutineering is performed. Also, the term refers to the condition in which no major alterations can be made to the cars, while under FIA control.
After Q1 all cars are deemed to spend the night before the race in PARC FERME until five hour before the formation lap time on race day. Within three and half hours after completing Q3 all cars must be covered and sealed by the FIA delegates.
POST-RACE PARC FERME: after the race is finished, all cars must go for scrutineering at the Parc Ferme area, where FIA officials proceed to inspect the cars to check if regulations have been followed such as the car weight, fuel mix, etc.