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Top 10 mid-season Formula 1 rule changes

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Top 10 mid-season Formula 1 rule changes
Jul 29, 2016, 5:54 PM

Unlike most elite global sports, Formula 1 seems to love enacting mid-season rule changes.

Unlike most elite global sports, Formula 1 seems to love enacting mid-season rule changes.

After the news that Formula 1 has decided to abandon it’s widely decried team radio restrictions just before the German Grand Prix, JAonF1 decided to look back on ten occasions when the sport changed its rules mid-way through a season.

10. FRIC

Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension or FRIC was banned a few weeks before the 2014 German Grand Prix. It was thought to be an integral part of Mercedes’ dominant WO5 but the team went on to win in Hockenheim anyway and its success-rate ever since hasn’t exactly taken much of a hit.

2014 German Grand Prix

9. 2016 elimination qualifying

On the eve of the 2016 F1 season, it was announced that the sport’s knockout qualifying system would be replace by a format where the drivers slowest driver was eliminated every 90-seconds. The system lasted two races before common sense prevailed after mass-outcry from fans, drivers and teams alike, and the sport went back to the 2006-2015 arrangement no one had been complaining about.

8. Team radio 2014

Team radio restrictions were first announced mid-way through the 2014 season that sought to clamp down on driver assistance, parts of which were delayed after the teams objected.

 Jenson Button

7. Team radio 2016

For 2016, team radio restrictions were back on the agenda and the drivers were not allowed any assistance from the pitwall on how to cope with mechanical issues, which led to several high-profile arguments and penalties before the restrictions were abandoned just before this weekend’s race at Hockenheim.

6. 2013 Pirelli tyre changes

Pirelli changed its tyre allocation mid-way through the 2013 season after a series of tyre failures blighted that year’s British Grand Prix. Teams were banned from swapping left and right tyres around and limits on camber and tyre pressures were introduced. The Italian company also provided all-new tyres using its 2012 construction with 2013 compounds from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards.

5. 2005 aggregate qualifying

After two years of single-lap qualifying, F1 tried an aggregate system in 2005 where the drivers went out for a low-fuel effort on a Saturday in the reverse order of their finishing position from the previous race, which was added to the time of a second fully-fuelled lap set just before the race on Sunday. This system was abandoned after just six races.

2009 Brawn GP double diffuser

4. Double diffusers 2009

This one wasn’t so much a rule change as a rule clarification as the Brawn, Williams and Toyota teams began the 2009 season using the aerodynamically advantageous double diffuser loophole that their rivals had not spotted. Once the FIA decided it was legal other F1 outfits had to scramble to adapt it to their cars.

3. 2011 blown diffusers

Diffusers again, this time in 2011 when “cold blowing” and “hot blowing” air from the exhaust pipes directly into the diffusers was banned ahead of that year’s British Grand Prix. This arrangement lasted the grand total of two races before it was relaxed, but the process was totally banned in the regulations for the following season.

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

2. 2015 clutches

When the F1 field returned after their mid-season break in 2015, they had to adapt to new start rules that prevented the teams from helping the drivers set the optimum clutch bite point and left it in the hands of the racers. While there have been a few slow getaways, notably in 2016, there have been relatively few examples of shocking starts as the teams quickly adapted to the new rules.

1. Mass dampers

Renault pioneered these devices, which kept grip levels consistent by reducing the amount of tyre bouncing via a weight mounted in a spring, during the 2006 season. They were banned shortly before that year’s German Grand Prix much to Renault’s displeasure, as it was thought it would hurt the French manufacturer’s performance more than title rival Ferrari.

Fernando Alonso 2006 Renault

What was your favourite or least favourite mid-season F1 rule change? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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