An analysis of the 2010 F1 regulations

The deadline for teams to submit their application for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship is rapidly approaching, and it's time to find out what the consequences would be of the new capped and non-capped regulations, and to see what they...

The deadline for teams to submit their application for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship is rapidly approaching, and it's time to find out what the consequences would be of the new capped and non-capped regulations, and to see what they really mean for a Formula One team. First we will have a closer look at the Cost Cap Regulations; after that we will look at the Sporting and Technical Regulations.

All team applications must be entered during the period May 22-29 2009 and must include: <ul> <li>Whether a team wishes to compete under the regular or cost cap regulations. <li>If a Cost Regulated Team (CRT) wants to use another currency then the UK Pound, they must state which currency they wish to use in their application. <li>A CRT team must provide a detailed budget to the Costs Commission within 30 days of its application. <li>An entry fee of 309,000 Euro must be paid before November 1 2009 . </ul> New teams no longer have to pay a 48 million Euro deposit to the FOM organization.

Applications after May 29 will only be considered if a place is available. No more than 26 cars or 13 teams (each team must enter the championship with two cars) will be admitted to the championship.

Cost Cap Regulations

All cost cap regulations apply to the teams who have indicated in their 2010 application they will participate under the terms of these rules. The main objective of the rules is to keep the expenditure of these teams below a fixed maximum level. The FIA has delegated a special commission, the Costs Commission, to monitor and enforce the cost cap.

The valuation of a team's capital assets - or the use thereof - will be determined according to the methodology set out in the Handbook. The valuation of goods or services supplied to the CRT teams, by reference to their fair market value, will also be determined according to the methodology set out in the Handbook. If a CRT team provides goods or services to another CRT team, the relevant costs may be deducted from the team's expenditure. In the first year of participation as a CRT team, the FIA states, there are further "transitional provisions" and these are also described in the cost cap regulations.

The cost cap itself is set to a (provisional) ?40 million in 2010. The level of the cost cap for future seasons will be set by the WMSC. If a team wishes to account in another currency than (UK Pound) Sterling, they must inform the Costs Commission at the same time the team submits its application for the championship. In that case the cost cap budget will be calculated at the mid market exchange rate of the selected currency on the date the FIA publishes the cost cap. No changes in currency can be made after that. The cost cap will include all costs except expenses for marketing and hospitality, test and race driver salaries (including young driver programmes), or any fines or penalties imposed by the FIA. In the first year of the cost cap regulations (2010), the expenses for engines are also excluded.

When the cost cap is exceeded, or a CRT team has breached any of the cost cap regulations, the Costs Commission will report this to the WMSC, and the WMSC will determine an appropriate penalty. If a team exceeds the cost cap, the WMSC can also in addition to any penalty, decrease the team's budget of the next season by the same amount the cost cap was exceeded in the year in question.

The FIA will install a "Cost Cap Technical Working Group", consisting  .
The of one senior representative from each CRT team, and will be       .
The chaired by a FIA representative CCTWG will study technical issues  .
The regarding the cost cap regulations, and will advise the Costs      .
The Commission about these kind of issues                              .

Each CRT team must provide the Costs Commission with a detailed budget for the forthcoming year before December 15, and a list of external consultants, subcontractors, agency staff and key employees it anticipates being engaged in the CRT's participation in the championship before December 15. Substantial additional ongoing reporting will be required as well.

It is the responsibility of the CRT team to ensure that all members of the team will comply with the regulations. Penalties will be given to teams when they fail to comply with these rules, or if they fail to supply any information requested by the Costs Commission.

The 2010 Sporting regulations

There has been some confusion about it, but the regulations now firmly state that the championship will be awarded to the driver who has scored the highest number of points, and not to the driver with the highest number of wins - the system favoured by Bernie Ecclestone .

Track and wind tunnel testing

Cost Regulated Teams can carry out more than 15,000 km of track testing, are allowed to test in wind tunnels using scale models exceeding 60% of the full sized car, and can use wind tunnel speeds exceeding 50 meters per second (180 km/h), non-capped teams are not allowed to do this. CRT teams can also test during the season, whereas regular teams cannot.

Engines and gearboxes

There is no engine or gearbox limit for CRT teams, while other teams can use a maximum of eight engines per driver per year, and must use the same gearbox for four consecutive races. The penalties for using additional engines or gearboxes are the same as in 2009.


Refuelling during a race is forbidden for all teams.

Qualifying Practice

Because of the increased number of cars admitted to the competition, during Q1 all but the last (slowest) eight cars go to Q2, during Q2 all but the last eight cars go to Q3. This procedure is based upon a championship entry of 26 cars. If 24 cars are entered seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2 and if 22 cars are entered only six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2. The rules regarding qualifying itself, are the same for all teams.

Rule changes

A new article was added to Appendix 5 of the regulations, which describes how rule changes can be proposed, are accepted or are refused:

The TWG (Technical Working Group) and the SWG (Sporting Working Group) will be consulted on any proposal for change to the Technical Regulations or Sporting Regulations which did not originate in either Group and their comments, if any, will be made available to the World Motor Sport Council when such proposal is discussed.

The 2010 Technical regulations

All competitors who have agreed to enter the competition under the cost cap rules will have additional technical freedoms as specifically stated in these regulations.

Driver-adjustable bodywork

The angle of movement for the moveable front wing flaps is six degrees for the regular teams. They may only be moved by the driver, and must be controlled by the electronics of the car, with a maximum of two adjustments per lap, except when the car is in the pit lane. The movement of the flaps may not exceed the bodywork dimension regulations.

The CRT teams can adjust the wing by a maximum of ten degrees, and the above limit of a maximum of two adjustments per lap, does not apply to the CRT teams.

Minimum weight

The weight of the car must be 620 kilogram (was 605 kg in 2009) at all times during a race event; no substance may be added to the car, and parts which are replaced during the race, should have the same weight as the original part. The use of ballast will be permitted. These rules are the same for all teams, including the CRT teams.

Engines and kinetic energy recovering systems (KERS)

As before, the engine must be a four-stroke engine with reciprocating pistons, the capacity must not exceed 2400 cc. Engines must have two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder and supercharging is forbidden. For the regular teams the crankshaft rotational speed may not exceed 18,000 rpm, but this limit does not apply to the CRT teams.

KERS rules for the regular teams: the maximum power, in or out, may not exceed 60 kW, the energy released from the KERS may not exceed 400 kJ per lap. For CRT teams, the power 'in' is unrestricted, the power 'out' is restricted to 120 kW, and the maximum energy released per lap is 800 kJ, both twice as much as the regular teams.

For all teams, the release of the KERS power must remain under the complete control of the driver at all times, and the power of the stored energy may not be increased during a pit stop. All KERS devices must be situated between the front face of the engine and the driver's back, viewed in a lateral projection. There is a new rule added to the use of KERS system, whereby the system may not be operated if the car is traveling above 300 km/h; this applies to all teams.


No transmission system may permit more than two wheels to be driven. This does not apply to the CRT teams. The KERS system must connect at any point in the rear wheel drive train before the differential, but again, the restriction "only the rear wheel drive train" will not apply to the CRT teams. Note that the FIA is thinking about a future dual KERS system rather than an AWD scheme. The second KERS unit will derive its power from the front brakes, and therefore a connection other then to the rear wheels is allowed for CRT teams.

Wheels and tyres

The fitting of (any) heat retaining devices or pre-heating the tyres is prohibited for all teams. This applies to all types of tyres, dry, intermediate or wet-weather tyres. Tyres may only be filled with air or nitrogen, CO2 will no longer be allowed as a tyre gas. This applies to all teams.

Fuel mixture

New in 2010 is the use of bio-components in the fuel mixture. A minimum of 5.75% of the fuel should consist of bio-components. The regulations give a precise description of the permitted bio-components. Which bio-components are permitted to use in F1 also depends on "evidence indicating that the supplier is genuinely developing these compounds for use in commercial fuels". This is probably done to prevent suppliers from using expensive or exotic fuel-additives, and claim or pretend these additives are bio-components.

Great, but what does it all mean?

If we take a closer look at the Cost Cap Regulations, it becomes very clear that the FIA has total control, and intends to keep total control. Although teams do have something to say about the regulations and can make proposals regarding these regulations, in the end, the Costs Commission Code (containing the financial regulations) is written by the FIA, the FIA appoints the members of the Costs Commission, the WMSC can at any time alter the cost cap regulations, and teams can only appeal to decisions made by the Costs Commission and the WMSC at the FIA Court of Appeal, and their decision is final.

There is another thing the opposing teams won't like: the FIA wants to know everything about the financial position of a team, they want to know for instance exactly what Ferrari pays for the services of Stefano Domenicali, the money that is involved in sponsor contracts, production costs of the chassis, payments to sub-contractors, how many employees they have and what their salary is, how much they have spend on their new Computational Fluid Dynamics computer system, and dozens of other things that are still considered to be "secrets of the trade". No one likes it if someone else (the FIA) is snooping around in their private business, and the teams are no exception.

The FIA therefore has to be very discreet with all the confidential information they retrieve from the teams, and they'd better keep all this information under lock and key. If any of this information would leak to other teams, the press or the public, the FIA will be in big trouble.

Sporting regulations

The ability for the CRT teams to do in-season testing is without a doubt a major advantage: while the CRT teams can test new aero parts on track, the regular teams can only use the wind tunnel (with the 60% scale restriction) or their CFD computer system to test new parts. Most of the present teams have very expensive full-scale wind tunnels, but are not allowed to use them under the present rules, and will also not allowed to use them if they opt for the non-capped regulations in 2010 .

The use of eight engines per season and one gearbox for four consecutive races is also a handicap: if the engine or gearbox of a CRT team brakes down, they can replace it without getting a penalty, regular teams will be penalized and put back 10 places on the start grid for replacing an engine and five places for replacing the gearbox.

The FIA says the refueling ban should "save the costs of transporting refuelling equipment, and should be an incentive for engine suppliers to build engines with an improved fuel economy". Maybe I'm wrong, but if the FIA wants engines with a better fuel economy, they could also have achieved that by limiting the amount of fuel that is available for a race, this has been done in the past, now teams have to build a car with an enlarged fuel tank , and will have to spend money on a new car design.

Technical regulations

The minimum weight of the car has been increased to 620 kg, 15 kg more than this year, this applies to all teams, and this will be helpful for teams running their car with KERS, as they will have some more room to play around with the ballast. For the same reason the added weight is also helpful for heavier divers.

It still isn't really clear what the exact benefits of the movable front wing flaps are, until now, I have never heard a driver tell that he adjusted the front wing and as a result of that was able to pass the guy in front of him. But with the 10% angle adjustment for the CRT teams, the chances that this will happen will definitely increase. Although the CRT teams are not limited to two adjustments per lap, the system can only be operated manually, a driver has to push a button every time he wants to use the system, and therefore it remains to be seen if the unlimited number of adjustments and increased angle will give any advantage.

The KERS system is still not mandatory in 2010, but the advantage for CRT teams who want to use the system is very clear, as they will be twice as powerful as the version for the regular teams. All teams will still face the dilemma of the added weight versus the advantages of the extra power the system offers. CRT teams will probably use KERS, and if they use it the right way, the extra power could give them an advantage of 0,5 to 1 second per lap and also give them more opportunities to overtake. We have already seen teams using the KERS system this year, also use it as a replacement for the banned electronic launch control, and a driver using it could easily gain two or three places compared to a non-KERS propelled start.

Without any engine rpm restriction for CRT teams, 1000 or 2000 rpm extra will be very helpful in overtaking, especially on long straights. But running engines at 19,000-20,000 rpm could also increase the risk of an engine failure, and as we all know, you're not going to finish a race with a broken engine. More rpm's also means some extra fuel consumption and thus a heavier fuel load.

Having reviewed all the 2010 regulations, and the technical advantages the FIA gives to the Cost Regulated Teams, it becomes clear the FIA has made it as unattractive as they possibly could for a team to operate under the regular rules. The advantages for a CRT team could result in a time difference of two seconds per lap, and regular teams would end up at the back of the field and wouldn't stand a chance to win a race.

Most of the existing teams, especially the manufacturer teams, are not happy with the new regulations, but the differences in the regulations and the advantages they give to CRT teams, will force any right-minded team to compete under the CRT regulations. And that is exactly what the FIA wants, whether the teams like it or not.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari