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The FIA reveal 2008 rule proposals 16 Jun 2005

Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, has published a draft document outlining a number a major changes to the sport's regulations it proposes introducing for the 2008 season onwards.

According to the FIA, among its objectives are to cut costs, further increase the sport’s public appeal, improve safety and to retain the involvement of both major car manufacturers and independent teams. Among the proposed changes are:

Engines:
- standard ECUs, with no traction control, allowing the FIA to monitor testing mileage.

Gearboxes:
- standard gearboxes, with a manual, foot-operated clutch.

Bodywork:
- wider cars with downforce reduced to around 10 percent of current levels.

Wheels and tyres:
- a single tyre supplier.
- slick, low-profile tyres on larger, wider wheels, increasing the reliance on mechanical, rather than aerodynamic, grip.
- a ban on tyre blankets and other pre-heating devices.

Testing:
- a limit of 30,000 km per team per year.

Other proposed changes include standard brakes and a ban on pit-to-car telemetry and spare cars. Manual starting mechanisms, operable by the driver, would become compulsory and teams would be allowed to purchase parts or entire cars from another constructor.

The FIA have invited feedback on the proposals from the teams and other interested parties. The finalized 2008 regulations are due to be published by the end of the year.

The FIA's proposals in full:

ENGINES

- All components of the engine will be controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which has been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to an agreed specification
- The ECU may only be used with FIA approved software and may only be connected to the control system wiring loom, sensors and actuators as specified by the FIA
- All control sensors, actuators and FIA monitoring sensors will be specified and homologated by the FIA
- The control system wiring loom connectivity will be specified by the FIA
- A 3 litre V10 engine will remain an option for teams unable to obtain a 2.4 litre V8, but subject to similar strict performance limitations as in 2006 and 2007

Reasons
- to eliminate the use of driver aids such as traction control
- as teams will not be able to develop their own ECUs, expenditure on electronics will be considerably reduced
- to allow the FIA to check testing mileage and other elements
- to keep engine costs low for the smaller independent teams


GEARBOXES
- All cars will be fitted with gear ratios, final drive ratios and differentials which have been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to an agreed specification
- Gear changing will only be permitted by the use of a manually operated mechanical linkage to the gearbox
- Clutches will only be operated via a foot pedal connected mechanically to a release mechanism

Reasons
- to restore control over the clutch and gear changing to the driver
- the use of standard gearbox internals will result in a very significant reduction in expenditure


BODYWORK
- Downforce will be reduced to approximately 10% of current levels
- Drag will be maintained at current levels
- Overall car width will be increased
- By stipulating maximum and minimum dimensions cars will be “cleaned up” with devices such as barge boards, flip ups, winglets and other small add on parts removed
- Total advertising area on the car to remain unchanged

Reasons
- to reduce the reliance upon downforce as a means of improving performance
- by increasing mechanical grip the likelihood of one car being able to follow another closely in corners, and hence be in an attacking position at the end of the following straight, will be increased
- eliminating winglets, bargeboards, etc, will reduce costs as well as the danger of debris on the circuits
- drag should remain unchanged in order to ensure straight line speeds do not increase significantly


WHEELS AND TYRES
- Tyres will be supplied by one manufacturer appointed by the FIA after an invitation to tender. Such an appointment will be conditional upon :
- a suitable supplier being available ;
- a suitable system to ensure tyre testing is carried out in an equitable manner ;
- no team being disadvantaged by the appointment of a single supplier (detailed regulations will be written to ensure this would not be the case) ;
- there being no legal impediments during the process of appointing a supplier
- Slick tyres will be introduced for use in dry weather
- Lower profile tyres will be introduced
- Significantly larger wheels with minimum and maximum sizes stipulated for front and rear will be permitted
- Tyre blankets and other heating devices will be prohibited
- All tyre regulations will reside in the Technical Regulations

Reasons
- a single supplier would allow a bigger safety margin
- the absence of competitive tyre testing would reduce costs
- as relatively small differences in tyre compound and construction can have a significant effect on lap times, a single tyre supplier would simply ensure that no team would be adversely affected by being contracted to the “wrong” supplier
- slick tyres would be re-introduced as a part of the low-downforce and high-mechanical-grip package
- lower profile tyres would be introduced in order to give the wheels and tyres a more modern look and also permit more freedom on brakes and suspension
- a ban on tyre heating devices would eliminate this significant but unnecessary expenditure


CHASSIS
- The minimum height of the centre of gravity of the chassis will be specified
- The minimum weight for a chassis will be specified
- Energy of all impact tests will be increased
- Loads for all static tests will be increased
- Side intrusion test requirements will be increased
- Ballast will be reduced to minimal levels

Reasons
- to ensure that weight is distributed throughout the chassis
- the centre of gravity requirement should result in less pure ballast being used, the minimum weight will have to be achieved by the construction of a stronger chassis
- by raising the impact test speeds, the static load criteria on structures such as roll hoops and increasing the penetration resistance, drivers will be even better protected than they are at present


BRAKES
- All cars will be fitted with brake discs, pads and callipers which have been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to an agreed specification

Reason
- to reduce the cost of continual development of new materials and designs, the FIA specified products will be designed to work on all types of track and last an entire Grand Prix weekend


DATA ACQUISITION AND TELEMETRY
- With specific exceptions, any data acquisition system, telemetry system or associated sensors additional to those associated with the ECU will be physically separate and completely isolated from the control electronics
- Pit to car telemetry will be prohibited

Reasons
- to ensure that any data acquisition system used by a team cannot interfere with the FIA specified ECU and sensors
- to ensure teams are unable to send messages to a car and potentially affect its performance


MATERIALS
- Limitations, similar to those within the 2006 engine regulations, will be imposed on all parts of the car

Reason
- costs will be reduced as research into exotic materials will be unnecessary


STARTER
- All cars will be equipped with a driver operated starter which is capable of starting the car without outside assistance a minimum number of times

Reasons
- to simplify the operation of starting a car, at present it is massively complex
- to give the driver a chance of starting a car unaided in the event of it stopping on the track
- to reduce the number of personnel needed at an Event and hence reduce costs


NOTICE OF CHANGE
- Notice periods for changing the rules will be related to the effect (if any) of a change on the design of a car rather than an artificial distinction between “sporting” and “technical” regulations. There will no longer be a distinction between changes to the engine, transmission or chassis.

Reason
- to ensure that changes may be made to the regulations in a timely and more realistic way


SPARE CARS **
- Spare cars will be prohibited, i.e. no team may have more than two built-up cars available at an Event at any one time. Spare chassis will be permitted but precisely what constitutes a car in this context will be clearly defined

Reason
- by taking one car less to races teams will be able to save considerable sums of money as, apart from the cost of the car itself, fewer personnel will be needed


TESTING **
- Testing will be limited to 30000km per team between 1st January and 31st December, subject to a single tyre supplier being appointed

Reason
- To reduce the enormous amounts of money currently being spent on testing


CAR ACQUISITION **
- Teams will be free to buy a complete car or any part of a car from another constructor
- How constructor’s points are to be allocated will be clearly defined after further discussion

Reason
- to enable a team to buy a complete car, or any part of a car, from another constructor. As a result teams will be able to save considerable sums of money on the design and development of their cars


** For the purposes of the submission to the World Council these Sporting Regulations will be included as an addendum to the draft Technical Regulations.