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Faster cars, cockpit protection set to be introduced in 2017

24 Feb 2016

Formula One racing is set for a rules revolution after governing body the FIA approved plans to make cars wider and faster, and to introduce a form of cockpit protection, for the 2017 season.

In a statement, the FIA said the new bodywork regulations were aimed at creating "more exciting cars, delivering additional downforce to increase speeds and lower lap times."

While the changes still need to be formalised and ratified by the World Motor Sport Council by an extended deadline of 30 April, the proposed new bodywork rules - compared to current regulations - are set out below:

  2016 2017
FRONT TYRE WIDTH 245mm 350mm
REAR TYRE WIDTH 325mm 405mm
SUSPENSION TRACK  1800mm 1800mm
FRONT WING SPAN 1650mm 1800mm 
REAR WING WIDTH 750mm 950mm
REAR WING HEIGHT 950mm 800mm
BODYWORK WIDTH 1400mm 1600mm
DIFFUSER 125mm high, 1000mm wide 175mm high, 1050mm wide
MAX WEIGHT 702kg 722kg + tyres (est. 5kg)

Early estimates suggest the changes could make cars up to three seconds per lap faster than the current cars.

Cockpit protection

Alongside the new bodywork regulations, the FIA confirmed that enhanced cockpit protection will become a reality in 2017, with the 'halo' design the current preference.

"The F1 Commission confirmed the intention of introducing some form of cockpit protection from the 2017 season," a statement from the FIA read. 

"All stakeholders are working together to make this a reality, with the “Halo” concept currently the preferred option. Other options, such as transparent cockpit protection, will continue to be evaluated."

Power units

The FIA said that 'significant further progress' was made on four major topics relating to power units - the cost of supply, obligation to supply, performance convergence and improvement of noise.

A working group consisting representatives of the FIA, Commercial Rights Holder, Power Unit suppliers and customer teams will undertake further work with the aim of reaching agreement on a plan to meet the above requirements by 30 April, 2016.

Driver of the Day

A new 'Driver of the Day' award will be introduced after plans were approved by the F1 Commission.

Viewers will be encouraged to vote online for their 'Driver of the Day' throughout a Grand Prix, with the winner to be announced as part of the race broadcast immediately following the conclusion of the race, when the driver will be presented with their prize.