With some major rule changes planned for next year, there have only been minor tweaks to the regulations for 2016…
Exhaust layout - to improve engine noise, teams must now use separate exhaust pipes for the turbine and wastegate rather than the single exhaust used in 2015. The rules allow for the option of using a twinpipe for the wastegate, though any exit must not be more than 100mm from the main pipe.
Power unit allowance - with the number of championship rounds increasing from 19 to 21 this year, the number of power units each driver is allowed to use over the course of the season has increased from four to five. Consequently, grid penalties will only kick in when each driver uses a sixth of any one of the six disparate power unit elements.
Power unit development - Each manufacturer will be allowed 32 power unit tokens for in-season development. They may use these at their discretion. Additionally, whereas previously no manufacturer could supply more than one specification of power unit, engines homologated in previous seasons may now be re-homologated for use in 2016.
Cockpit safety - the head protection structures either side of the cockpit are now 20mm higher than before and able to resist a compression load of 50N per 30 seconds.
Tyres - To encourage variation between race strategies, Pirelli are now making three, rather than two, of their five dry-weather tyre compounds (including the new purple-marked ultrasoft) available at each event. The Italian company will allocate two sets of tyres for the race (only one of which must be used) and one set which can only be used in Q3 (the softest of the chosen three compounds). Each driver will then be able to choose 10 further sets of tyres from the three compounds to take their weekend allocation to 13.
Virtual Safety Car - The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) may now be used in practice sessions as well as races in order to reduce stoppage times, while DRS will now be re-enabled immediately after a VSC period.
Accident analysis - For the purpose of accident analysis, each car must be fitted with a high speed camera and each driver must wear in-ear accelerometers at each event and all tests which are attended by more than one team.
Testing - The number of pre-season tests has been slashed from three to two, meaning that the teams may participate in eight days of track running ahead of the new season rather than the 12 they had available in 2015.
Pit to car messages - To ensure that drivers drive the car 'alone and unaided' and are not being 'coached' from the pit wall, stricter rules have been introduced to govern what information can and can't be given to a driver over team radio. For example, a driver can no longer be given information about driving lines or how to adjust his car to make it faster whilst out on track.