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Electrical systems

FIA technical engineer in parc ferme with Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 9 April 2011 Electronics department Force India Factory, Silverstone, England. 29 May 2008 World © Moy/Sutton

The electrical and software systems of all cars are inspected by the FIA at the start of the season and the teams must notify them in advance of any subsequent changes. All teams must use the same FIA-specification Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for controlling power unit and gearbox.

All software must be registered with the FIA, who check all the programmable systems on the cars prior to each event to ensure that the correct software versions are being used. Electronic systems which can automatically detect the race start signal are forbidden.

In the event of an accident, each car carries an accident data recorder and is also fitted with a warning light which is connected to the FIA data logger. The light, which is situated on the top surface of the car, in front of the cockpit, illuminates automatically, thus giving rescue crews an immediate indication of the accident severity.

In the cockpit, every car must have a track signal information display (usually integrated into the steering wheel), which informs the driver of circuit conditions via red, blue and yellow lights (corresponding to the colours of the track marshals’ flags).