Specials

'11 Rules Changes

Again, the FIA made several changes to the rules in an effort to "improve the show". Few teams have struggled to sort them out, and that brings uncertainty as well as opens the door for surprises. Read the summary...
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Changes

107% qualifying rule is reinstated.

For 2011 drivers whose best times are more than 7% slower than the fastest time set in the first part of qualifying (Q1) will not be allowed to start the race.

Curiously, the FIA left the door open for an upper hand involvement, since a driver with a suitable practice time might be allowed to enter. If the rule had been in place last year these driver’s would have been left out:

Most probably Alonso would have been allowed to start in Monaco under those very special circumstances.

Pirelli will be the only tyre supplier, since Bridgestone left the category.

The Italian tyre manufacturer is replacing Bridgestone as the sole supplier. Pirelli has been in formula 1 before in three different periods: 1950-58, 1981-86 and 1989-91. Early testing highlight easier wear an tear on the tyres, which will make pit stops more valuable.

Elimination of the double diffuser and no open exhaust blown diffuser neither.

Once more teams were able to find loopholes in the regulations defining the underfloor so they could create the double diffuser, which was possible when an opening could be put right in between the reference and step planes and the diffuser. New rules eliminate that possibility. Also, that exposed area was also used to create an upward opening in the front of the diffuser which allowed to blow the exhaust through it, hence enhancing the effect.

Elimination of the F-Duct.

Last year’s interesting and clever approach from McLaren; a mechanism discretionarily activated by the driver allowing the air to flow from an small opening set on top of the upper pane in the bodywork to the rear wing, which reduced downward force and generated an increment on speed. It was copied first by Renault and it became a subject of controversy, but the FIA decided to allow it for the rest of the year, but the it was banned for 2011. In its place it created the adjustable rear wing.

Adjustable rear wing system.

It is another attempt from the FIA to enhance the spectacle by increasing overtaking. Derived from the McLaren F-Duct creation, the rear wing adjustable system basically allows the driver to electronically move one of the panes in the wing to allow air to pass through, which will reduce downforce.

During the race, the system can only be activate it by a following car and when the difference in time in respect the front car is less than one second and in certain areas of the track (usually in the final section of straights), in practice and qualification it is completely discretionary by the driver.

Kers unit allowed.

The kinetic energy recovery system unit was introduced in 2009, but it was only developed and put into action by few teams, since its usage required many elements that had repercussions over many aspects of the car.

The stored braking energy is activated by the driver via a “boost button” that generates additional power for few seconds. The unit can only activated twice per lap. It was said to increase weight by about 40kg, reason why car weight has been increased by 20kg to 640kg.

Car weight increased.

The overall weight of the car has been augmented from 620kg to 642kg. Also, the weight balance between the front and the rear of the car has been defined to be 291kg and 342kgs respectively, which in terms of percentage corresponds to 45.5-46.7 for the front and 53.3-54.5 for the back.

Gearbox must land 5 instead of 4 races.

In another effort to reduce costs, the FIA now requires that a Gearbox must last for five races instead of four. This means that with 20 races on the calendar, a team might compete with 8 units in total.

Wheel tethers were double to two per wheel.

Safety is always been a concern, and whereas it can be improved new rules would take place. In this case, the tethers, which are the parts that connect the chassis to the wheels that are not an element of suspension, axle structure or transmission, and in order to avoid the wheels to come off in case of an accident (like it happened to Alonso in Monaco) are being doubled in number. Each wheel will now have a pair (2).

Pit lane width reduced to 3.5.

In recent years we have seen how car dear to race just as the come out of a pit spot, while they are still in the pit lane, which represents a dangerous situation (we had a couple of those in ’10, right Fernando?). The outer lane that goes closer to the pit wall (were the bosses are) will now be 3.5 meters wide, about a meter narrower that before.

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2 Nico Rosberg 317
3 Daniel Ricciardo 238
4 Valtteri Bottas 186
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1'44.496s

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