Formula 1™ is a constantly changing sport even when the technical regulations stay the same. Every year we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will change almost every aspect of our cars to keep pace with development – on average we develop a new part for our F1 cars every seven minutes, seven days a week, 12 months a year.
Change provides opportunities as well as challenges and the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body, recently announced some detail changes to the rules for the next two seasons.
From a technical perspective, the 2013 rule changes address some safety precautions as well as allowing for the extra weight of the new generation of Pirelli tyres.
To combat the use of aero-elastic components the static load test will now be applied to all of each team’s survival cells, and the front wing test will permit no more than 10mm deflection rather than 20mm.
There has also been a change to the procedure when cars cannot return to the pits under their own power at the end of a track session.
The existing rules state that each car must be able to provide a sample of at least one litre of fuel; from now on, if one stops on track, it must provide that quantity plus the amount of fuel that would have been consumed while driving back to the pits.
On the operational front, during practice sessions the Drag Reduction System (DRS) can now only be used in the same areas on track as it would during the race.
Working hours have also been tightened up, with the personnel curfew now extending from six to eight hours on Thursday night, and the number of permitted exceptions dropping from four to two for the entire season.
Small changes, then, but important ones: every team is going to have to make more efficient use of its time at Grand Prix weekends, design even safer cars and be less marginal on fuel. Those are all challenges we’re ready for.