By: Nancy Knapp Schilke
- Formula One hot topic
- FIA forms partnership with ACO
- World Rally and FIA GT news
The FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) pulled some surprises out of its hat today in Barcelona, Spain. While many expected the Formula One race in Bahrain would be permanently dropped from the 2011 schedule since the unrest in the country continues, that was not the case.
The WMSC meets four times or more each year to make decisions for all levels of motor sports regarding safety, regulations and other pertinent ideas including development of series, calendar dates for the future years and new ideas regarding the sport.
While many will focus on today’s main headline: Formula One and the earlier cancelled event in Bahrain, there were decisions made for the 2012 season as well. Yes, Bahrain is back on the 2011 schedule to be held on October 30th. FIA WMSC Agrees To Reinstate Bahrain Grand Prix And yes, that was the date for the first Grand Prix to be held in India, so even though the circuit is still under subject to homologation, the new date will be December 12th, which will end the 2011 season.
The new technical regulations for the 2013 Formula One season were also approved but one must realize that nothing is carved in stone. The WSMC did set a final date of June 30 of this year for the consideration of the final vote for the new changes.
The following Technical Regulations for 2013 were approved:
- Power units will be four cylinders, 1.6-litre with high pressure gasoline injection up to 500 bar with a maximum of 12,000 rpm, with extensive energy management and energy recovery systems (now known as ERS), reflecting the earlier decision taken by the WMSC in December 2010
- The aerodynamic regulations have been based on 2011 rules, with modifications in order to improve the aerodynamic efficiency: together with the powertrain rules, this will enable a 35% reduction in fuel consumption
- The height of the tip of the nose will be limited to ensure better compatibility in a T-bone style accident
- A limitation on transmissions (gear ratios, number of gearboxes) in order to decrease costs
- The overall weight of the car must be no less than 660kg
The 2012 schedule was outlined with only one event that still needs to be confirmed: the Turkish GP, to be held on the sixth of May. The United States event in Austin will be held on June 17th, following the Canadian GP.
Next up was the 2012 World Rally Championship calendar. Returning to the schedule are the Monte Carlo event and New Zealand. Peter Johnston, chairman of Rally New Zealand commented, “We have already done a lot of planning towards the 2012 event, which will be based in Auckland as it was in 2010, but until the actual dates were known, we could not move forward with key elements. Now we can.”
The real surprise of the day was about sports car racing and specifically the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the governing body of the world’s most renowned endurance race, has joined forces with the FIA for what will be a new series of events to be known as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This new idea will make its debut in 2012 and of course will include Le Mans.
As per the press release from the WMSC, there will be six or more events. Following on the heels of the ACO’s format of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup where there are selected races for teams to challenge for the grand prize. The first year of the ILMC was in 2010 where Peugeot took home the honors. Now in its second season, there are five confirmed events with an additional one to be held in China on the 2011 ILMC. The FIA WEC will base the calendar for 2012 on the current model and will follow the same pattern of awarding championships to the drivers and constructors.
Citing the innovation and technology arenas, both parties agreed to the partnership and stated: “allowing motor manufacturers to express, through the rigours of competition, their ability to be inventive”.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans event will still remain the property of the ACO. "I am very happy we have reached this agreement with the FIA, a partnership which underlines the rightful place that endurance racing has in motorsport, something we have been promoting since we first established the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1923. Jean Todt has accepted my invitation to start this year's 24 Hours race on Saturday June 11, a symbolic and visible way to celebrate our partnership,” said ACO President Jean-Claude Plassart.
The FIA will also make changes again to their sports car series now known as the World GT with the return to International scene in 2010 and continuing this year with the top rung of the series’ classes, GT1. The GT2, GT3 and GT4 remained in Europe only. That now will change in 2012 with today’s news from the WMSC.
In 2012, the media and the fans will need to get used to calling the series the FIA GT World Championship. They hope to open up the series and bring in new manufacturers by combining the current GT1 cars with the 2009 GT2 cars, along with the 2011 GT3 cars. However, the WMSC did state that they will review the performance of all three classes.