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FIA announce rule changes for 2005 and 2006 22 Oct 2004

Formula One engines will have to last two race weekends from next season, under changes announced by the FIA on Friday designed to slow cars down and improve safety.

From 2006, 2.4 litre V8s will replace the current V10s, though smaller teams will be able to continue with the old engines, subject to restrictions.

Other changes to come into force next season include revised bodywork designed to cut downforce, and new tyre regulations whereby each driver may use only one set of tyres to complete qualifying and the race.

The full text released by the FIA:

On June 30, 2004, the World Motor Sport Council voted unanimously to invoke Article 7.5 of the Concorde Agreement and give notice to the Formula One Technical Working Group (TWG) to propose measures to reduce the performance of the cars within two months. Notice was given on July 6, 2004.

When the TWG failed to produce proposals by September 6, 2004, the FIA Technical Department proposed three packages of measures to the TWG, in accordance with Article 7.5(c).

In summary, all three packages involved bodywork changes to reduce downforce, new tyre rules to require “harder” tyres and a reduction in engine capacity from 3.0 to 2.4 litres with eight cylinders. Of the three, Package 1 gave the most aerodynamic freedom but imposed maximum restrictions on the engines; Package 2 gave less aerodynamic freedom but slightly fewer engine restrictions; and Package 3 imposed further aerodynamic restrictions but gave the same technical freedom for the 2.4 litre V8 engine as the current 3.0 litre V10.

All the teams were prepared to agree the bodywork changes and tyre regulations contained in Package 2. However, opinions differed on the engines. The closest to the necessary 8 out of 10 votes was at the meeting of September 6, 2004, when the TWG voted 7 to 3 in favour of the Package 2 engine rules.

The TWG met most recently on October 15, 2004, but still failed to vote 8 to 2 in favour of any one of the three packages within the 45 days specified by Article 7.5. The World Motor Sport Council was therefore free to impose its own measures from October 21, 2004, to come into force no sooner than three months from publication.

On October 21, 2004, the WMSC decided to impose Package 2 and that those parts of it which apply to 2005 would come into force on March 1, 2005 and the remainder on January 1, 2006.

Package 2 consists of the following measures:

2005 (to come into force on March 1, 2005)

Bodywork
Changes to the bodywork (aerodynamics) to raise the front wing, bring the rear wing forward, reduce the diffuser height and cut back the bodywork in front of the rear wheels.

Reason: it is estimated that these changes will result in the loss of 20% or more downforce with minimal loss of drag.

Tyres
One set of tyres must complete qualifying and the race.

Reason: a harder tyre will reduce cornering speeds.

Engines
Each engine must last for two complete Events

Reason: a two-race engine will give less power than a one-race engine.

2006 (to come into force 1 January 2006)

Engines
The introduction of a 2.4 litre V8 engine together with a number of restrictions concerning design and permitted materials.

Reason: reducing capacity is a sure way to reduce power (as repeatedly requested by the TWG), while technical restrictions will limit the rate of power increase. It is estimated that power will drop to about 700 bhp compared to the 1000 bhp that existing engines will reach by 2006.

In order not to prejudice the smaller independent teams the existing 3.0 litre V10 engines may continue to be used in 2006 and 2007, subject to a restriction on revs to be determined by the FIA

Reason: having reduced engine power, we need an inexpensive but competitive engine for the smaller independent teams, including newcomers. A rev-limited 3 litre can be adjusted to be competitive with factory 2.4 litre units, but will be far less costly.

The full text of the 2006 engine technical regulations is available on request. These regulations impose restrictions on engine development comparable to those already applicable to Formula One chassis. Such restrictions have by no means stifled technical development of the chassis, but they have prevented uncontrollable increases in performance. In a similar way the proposed engine restrictions will significantly slow the rate of increase of engine power output. Current freedoms have resulted in engines approaching 1000 bhp compared to the absolute maximum of 650 bhp promised when engine capacity was reduced from 3.5 litres to 3.0 litres in 1994/5 following the Imola fatalities.