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Race weekend changes approved by FIA 15 Oct 2003

The FIA has approved major changes to the structure of the Grand Prix weekend for 2004 following Wednesday's meeting of the World Motor Sport council in Paris.

This year's first qualifying session has been abandoned, as has the Friday morning pivate test. Instead the opening day's track action will comprise two one-hour practice sessions, in which all teams, bar the top four in the 2003 championship, will be allowed to run a third car.

The driver of the third car cannot be one of the team's nominated drivers for that event and must be in possession of a Super License. He must also have not taken part in more than six grands prix in the previous two seasons. Third cars will be allowed to run in non-standard livery.

Saturday's schedule will again feature two 45-minute practice sessions, which will be followed by a new two-part qualifying session, effectively this year's Friday and Saturday sessions back to back, with just a two-minute break in between.

In the first part of qualifying the starting order will be determined by the finishing order from the previous race (except at the opening round in Australia where it will be in driver-number order), with each driver getting one timed lap. In the second part they will get another timed lap, running in the reverse order of the times set in the first part. Any driver failing to complete the first part of qualifying will not be allowed to participate in the second.

Refuelling will be allowed during the first part of qualifying only. As in 2003 though, set-ups and fuel loads cannot be altered between the end of the second part of the qualifying and the race.

Other minor revisions to the Sporting Regulations for 2004 were also announced, including the raising of the pit lane speed limit to 100 kph for most events and forcing teams to make their tyre choices ahead of Saturday's first practice session.

The 2004 Sporting Regulation amendments in full:

Race Weekend Schedule

Friday 11.00-12.00 Free practice
Friday 14.00-15.00 Free practice

During both sessions all teams, other than those who finished in the top four positions of the previous year's World Championship for Constructors, will be permitted to run a third car provided any driver of this car:
- is not one of the team's nominated drivers for the Event in question;
- is in possession of a Super Licence;
- has not taken place in more than six World Championship Events during the two previous World Championships.

If one of the team's nominated drivers is deemed unable to drive at some stage after the end initial scrutineering, and the stewards agree to a change of driver, the driver of a third car may take part in the remainder of the Event. Under such circumstances a driver who started the Event as a "third" driver would have to continue with the same engine for the remainder of the Event.

The requirements of Article 60 concerning car livery will not apply to the third car being used during these two sessions but will apply should this car be used as the team's spare car during the remainder of the event.

Saturday 10.00-10.45 Free practice
Saturday 11.15-12.00 Free practice
Saturday 14.00 Qualifying begins and will be run as follows:

- the session will be held in two parts separated by two minutes;
- during the first part each driver will carry out a single timed lap as now starting in the order they finished in the previous race. At the first race of the year the order of the last Event of the previous year's World Championship will be used (in both cases any new drivers will be arranged in numerical order);
- any car stopping in the first part will not be allowed to take part in the second, if the car is brought back to the pits before the end of the session it must remain in parc fermé until the end of the session;
- refuelling rigs will be allowed in the first part subject to everyone wearing suitable clothing and photographers being restricted as for a race;
- the running order for the second part will be determined by the times achieved in the first part reversed;
- cars will run with race fuel and race settings as in 2003;
- in both sessions cars will be released as the previous one crosses the Line to start its flying lap;
- in both sessions the 6th, 11th and 16th cars in sequence will be released two minutes after the previous finishes its flying lap;

Sunday 14.00 Race (or at other times according to the relevant schedule).

Tyre use and allocation
The number of dry-weather tyres available to each driver during the Event will remain the same at forty, twenty front and twenty rear.

Each driver will be allocated three sets of dry-weather tyres for use on Friday, these may not be used at any other time during the Event. No tyres from the remaining seven sets may be used on Friday.

The choice of dry-weather tyre for qualifying and race must be made by 09.00 on Saturday (either specification of tyre may be used for the free practice sessions on Saturday). However, if both Friday sessions are declared wet this choice may be postponed until 13.00 on Saturday.

The number of wet-weather tyres available to each driver during the Event will remain the same at twenty-eight, fourteen front and fourteen rear.

Extreme weather tyres will continue to be permitted but, as now, may only be used when authorised.

Parc fermé procedures
To remain the same as in 2003 but the practice of fuel circulation for the purposes of cooling will now be prohibited.

Number of drivers per car
Each team will now be allowed to use four drivers during each season, not including any third driver running in the Friday sessions.

Pit lane speed limit
The speed limit for qualifying and race will be raised to 100km/h. In accordance with Article 100 (of the draft 2004 Sporting Regulations) the Permanent Bureau may be asked to consider a lower limit at tracks which have a particularly narrow pit lane.