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Greater tyre choice among regulation changes for 2016

02 Dec 2015

New freedoms for teams regarding tyre choice were among a number of rule changes approved for the 2016 Formula One season in Wednesday’s Paris meeting of governing body the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

Three, rather than two, dry-weather compounds will now be available to teams at each round. Of the 13 sets of tyres allocated to each driver at a Grand Prix, tyre suppliers Pirelli will select three sets, while drivers will have the choice of compound for the remaining 10.

In other changes, the number of in-season development tokens available to power unit manufacturers has been revised, while power units from previous season may now be re-homologated. This means Ferrari are free to supply a fourth customer team with a 2015-specification power unit in 2016.

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.

The Council also passed a mandate for FIA President Jean Todt and Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone to make decisions on pressing governance issues such as power units and cost reduction.

The full statement from the FIA's World Motor Sport Council:

The World Motor Sport Council approved, by a near unanimous number (just one vote against), a mandate for the FIA President, Jean Todt and the Representative of the Commercial Rights Holder, Bernie Ecclestone to make recommendations and decisions regarding a number of pressing issues in Formula One such as governance, Power Units and cost reduction. Mr Todt and Mr Ecclestone expressed their intention to establish conclusions on these matters by 31 January, 2016.

The World Motor Sport Council also approved a number of changes to the F1 Technical and Sporting Regulations.


The number of power unit tokens allowed for in-season development will be allocated as follows over the coming seasons:

-        2016 – 32

-        2017 – 25

-        2018 – 20

-        2019 – 15

Any new Power Unit manufacturer will be allocated 15 tokens in their first year, and 32 in their second.

The padded areas around the driver’s head have been increased in thickness for improved safety.


Changes have been approved by the World Motor Sport Council in regard to the way that tyres are used by teams in order to encourage differing race strategies in 2016. These include:

-        The tyre supplier will now provide three dry-weather compounds instead of two

-        Of the 13 sets of dry tyres available to each driver, the tyre supplier will choose two for the race (only one of which must be used in the race), and one set (the softest available) that may only be used in Q3. Each driver may then choose their remaining ten sets from the three available compounds

-        Unless intermediate or wet-weather tyres have been used, a driver must use at least two different specifications of dry-weather tyres – at least one of these must be the one chosen by the tyre supplier.

In the event of a Virtual Safety Car (VSC), DRS will now be re-enabled immediately after the VSC period. Furthermore, the VSC may also be used in practice sessions to reduce the amount of time lost during a stoppage.

Power Units homologated in previous seasons may now be re-homologated. Previously no manufacturer could supply more than one specification of PU. The World Motor Sport Council was also advised that the FIA had agreed for Ferrari to supply a fourth customer team with a 2015-specification Power Unit in 2016.

The maximum number of Championship events in a season has been increased to 21 (from 20).