The Nineties

Alexander Wurz (AUT) Benetton Playlife B198 has a big crash at the first corner rolling his car. Formula One World Championship, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 7 June 1998. World © Sutton Ayrton Senna in the Williams. © Williams F1
Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F310 suffered a heavy crash during Friday practice which he emerged from uninjured. Belgian Grand Prix, Rd 13, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 25 August 1996. World © Sutton An Arrows does a burnout! Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, 10 May 1998. World © Sutton A wheel fell off Mika Hakkinen's Mclaren during the race British GP, Silverstone, 11 July 1999. World © Sutton

During the Nineties, an absolute priority is placed on protecting drivers, fans and marshals. In 1994, for example, all pit crews are required to wear fireproof clothing. The FIA puts in place a group of experts to assess how new technology can improve Formula One safety.

1993:
- The thickness of drivers’ head protection padding in the cockpit is increased from 80 to 400 millimetres.
- The height of the rear wing is reduced, the distance from the front wing to the ground is increased and the circumference of the steering wheel is reduced.
- Only normal fuel may now be used.

1994:
- Traction control, ABS, assisted brakes and automatic gears are prohibited as auxiliary driving features. Small front wings and a shorter diffuser reduce downforce.
- The FIA uses computer analysis to identify 27 particularly dangerous corners that have to be made safer.
- Crash tests for tyre barriers become mandatory, and the barriers must now also be secured by rubber belts.
- The speed limit in the pit lane is reduced to 80 km/h in practice and 120 km/h in races.
- The production standard for helmets becomes stricter. Ear plugs are prohibited so the drivers can hear better.

1995:
- Engine capacity is reduced from 3.5 to 3 litres.
- Crash tests become stricter, lateral crash tests are introduced, front wings are reduced.
- The FIA introduces new criteria for the acquisition of an F1 Superlicence.

1997:
- FIA accident data recorders are installed in all cars for more precise accident analysis.
- Small wings on the rear and sides are prohibited.
- Tyre barriers have to be bolted down.

1998:
- Car width is reduced from 2 to 1.8 metres, cockpits are enlarged.
- Grooved tyres instead of slicks are introduced to try to reduce cornering speeds.

1999:
- Wheels are attached to the chassis by tethers to stop them from flying off during accidents.
- The seat and driver can be removed together.
- The crash tests for the front of the car become stricter.
- Asphalt instead of gravel is used for some of the run-off zones.

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