The Formula 1 teams have rejected the major rules changes that had been planned for 2013.

According to the BBC, the teams instead have endorsed a less radical plan that still would reduce drag and lower fuel consumption but, in their minds, also cost less.

We talked about it on the podcast… I think. It’s all pretty hazy.

The BBC nicely sums up the rules that the FIA was hoping to push through:

The aims were to help reduce fuel consumption by 35% in tandem with a switch from the current 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre turbo engines with ‘green’ technology and for the cars to be more challenging to drive while being no more than five seconds slower per lap.

The initial plan was to reintroduce shaped underfloors as a more efficient way of reducing drag while retaining high levels of aerodynamic downforce.

Instead of those plans, FOTA has put forth the following:

* a front wing of reduced width, down from from 1800mm to 1650mm

* a much shallower rear wing, similar to those used at the high-speed Monza track

* significantly lower noses on the cars to improve safety, although the exact maximum height has still to be determined

* the retention of the moveable rear wing – or drag-reduction system (DRS) – that was introduced this season to make overtaking a little easier

* a restriction on all the extra pieces of bodywork that have sprouted in front of the sidepods of the cars

* a restriction on the design of front-wing endplates, to limit the intricate designs seen today

* a plan to increase wheel diameter from 13 inches to 18 inches has been delayed until at least 2014

For you really technical folks, the BBC says that the “cars’ drag co-efficient will reduce from existing levels of 0.9Cd to about 0.7Cd, while the FIA’s initial hope had been to cut it to 0.5Cd” under the FOTA proposal.

The big question now is whether Jean Todt and the FIA will go for this version of the rules. Todt has been pretty adamant about wanting the rules as the FIA proposed — the package roughly called the “green F1” rules. And even Bernie Ecclestone has sounded at times in step with Todt.

What I think we can say with certainty is that this is another concrete argument for the teams and the FIA and CVC/FOM to have; which one might break the camel’s back (warning, very subtle cigarette ad in there) is the big unknown.

But for now, perhaps we can discuss how these FOTA ideas sound. DRS is still there, so that’s easy enough to banter on about if we want. But, no… I can’t tell from the coverage I’m seeing what kind of engine FOTA is talking about here. Is there a good reason not to just give a total torque and horsepower limit and let the teams decide what kind of engine they want to strap on to their cars? V6 turbo? V12? V4 twin turbo?

  • Williams4Ever

    a) So what was the purpose of tasking Patrick and Rory to this task first place? reminds me of the OWG initiative, where the best of the brains toiled for hours and hours and then first blamed the tracks two years ago, and now have thrown multiple variables in regulation, that have resulted in doctored racing.

    b)Another of those examples, demonstrating ambiguity in roles and responsibilities between FIA-FOM/CVC-FOTA when it comes to establishing technical regulations..

    c) On positive note – Its good to see that FOTA took and stand and conveyed FIA how costly it’s to implement cost saving measures by FIA. And again goes on to show that while he was practicing Masochist, Max mosely ruled with iron first, none of the participants except Michelin had guts to speak up against random regulation changes Max threw at F1 in name of cost savings.

    • Williams4Ever

      In light of c) above – it is interesting test of Jean Todt and his authority. I am impressed the way he has managed FIA efficiently and keeping a low profile so far, so it remains to see if he bends backwards and rolls back the very changes that have been suggested by representatives (Patrick and Rory) of the F1 teams and those that had been agreed by the team few months ago.

  • I think Todt will have to agree, because the teams are effectively offering cost cut. What if the next FIA president decides something else ? The changes are coming way too fast, slow down guys, give the teams what they want. I’m not sure about the engines though …

    • Williams4Ever

      I think Todt will have to agree,
      >> While logical answer is yes, but then this decision has bearing on whole reason of existence of FIA. If FIA bows to F1, sets a wrong precedence to F1 and other racing series regulated by FIA. While 1.6 Liter Turbo Charged Engine obviously is a step down for petrol head fans, one has to take into account that FIA was introducing one racing engine concept for all racing series it regulates and that had great bearing on motor racing remaining relevant to automobile industry. If F1 doesn’t agree to the Engine regulation, it loses its chance to prove its relevance to the industry, and in turn sponsors in that field. So FOTA needs to be cognizant of the repercussions this choice is going to have. While Big4 teams can afford this bravado, not sure about the smaller ones (whom the bigger teams don’t give anything significant to stay in fold).

      • timi

        i hate know-it-alls

        • Williams4Ever

          And to think that I don’t get big bucks or lifetime all access paddock pass to F1 events for all this :(

  • timi

    “Is there a good reason not to just give a total torque and horsepower limit and let the teams decide what kind of engine they want to strap on to their cars? V6 turbo? V12? V4 twin turbo? ”

    now this is what im talking about. a beautiful idea. keeps ferrari happy so they can have they’re V12’s, whereas people like renault would downshift to the l4turbo or V6 in order to gain technology advances in road cars. I honestly dont know why your idea isn’t/wasn’t put forward. I think it’s brilliant.

    And if my memory serves me correctly, there was a period in the 80s when we had many different engine configurations within the same race no? so it’s definitely feasable

    • Maybe combine it with the fuel limit? Although I understand that the “arms race” becomes fuel efficiency and the bigger teams will win. But… is that so bad?

  • F1 Kitteh

    Isn’t it better just to give a reduced fuel limit for the whole race and let them squeeze whatever HP they are able to out of it? If you limit the horsepower then it comes down to optimizing fuel consumption/weight where the gain might be minimal. If the fuel is severely limited, they will then have to balance the power/fuel consumption/drag/KERS equation which would open the door much wider for innovation.

    • That is what Steve Matchett was advocating in theory, starve the engines via fuel rate and let the teams attempt to maximize their output with significantly less fuel consumption. That is a direct knock-on to road car efficiency, green and reduces the use of resources. Not to mention an engineering challenge.

    • mg5904

      Agree 100% with this as I think it gets to the issue at the heart of the matter – allegedly making F1 appear more “green” to the public, while doing so in a manner that can be easily explained to the public. It also allows engine manufacturers the freedom to pursue this directive in the manner that most appeals to them. R&D costs may be at issue here, but I think there are ways to address that problem, and the products of this type of regulation may be more transferable to traditional passenger car tech than what F1 is currently following and proposing.

      P.S. I would like to formally lodge my disappointment and disapproval at the following, “. . . the cars to be . . . no more than five seconds slower per lap.”

      P.P.S. My condolences to Paul Charsley over FOTA’s proposal to keep the DRS.

      • La Rascasse

        5 seconds a lap slower puts us at last year’s GP2 car pace.

        Seb Vettel won in Trukey this year with an average 1:33.40 lap time

        Pastor Maldonado won the GP2 Feature race in 2010 with an average 1:38.53.

        I think I’d like my “Pinnacle of Motorsport” a bit quicker than that.

        • Williams4Ever

          That “Pinnacle of Motorsport” sobriquet is a misnomer anyways. There are other forms of motorsports (LeMans for example) that are looked up as more significant reference points by the Auto Industry from technology perspective.

          It’s just that the presentation and ambience in F1 restaurant is hyped about…

          • La Rascasse

            I quite agree, could argue exactly what the pinnacle is for days.
            My point is that when you are spending that much money to go as fast as a 4 year old, feeder series spec car. That pretty much disqualifies your series from the running.

    • Tony

      indeed something we have all thought about…

      …but then they would have to lift the engine homog. rules, which have done a great job at cost-cutting…. so the big teams would simply spend huge $$$ on fuel efficiency, which is great for big-teams-road-cars (Ferrari McLaren Mercedes ) but the smaller teams would struggle, unless their engine supplier (Cosworth, Renault et al) could also keep pace with the $$$ spend.

      • mg5904

        I apologize beforehand as my comment is not meant to be flippant, but F1 is an expensive sport. And wouldn’t the R&D involved in going to the 1.6 formula be expensive as well? At least now manufacturers justify the cost by pursuing tech and specs that apply to their model line, and engine suppliers have the freedom to pursue a course of development that makes sense to them. And maybe even come up with some new frugal tech that can be sold or patented.

      • Williams4Ever

        Maybe the Big4 expect the smaller teams to purchase Engine lumps from them at knocked off prices (of course with reduced HP).

  • dumpsterdiver

    If the FIA and FOTA were serious of reducing costs, I hear there are some lightly used Dallara chassis here in the states that will be available in ’13. . .

    • mg5904

      – And the body kits only cost $75K. What a deal!

  • Tony

    The FIA’s main purpose of these rules (aside from Green ticket) was to try also to move F1 away from aero to more mech grip, but the teams have no simply presented an Aero cut package, that, lets face it, will be reclaimed by the time the season start with a major spend of time and $$$ in the wind tunnel.

    lets not forget the teams were all against :
    Engine change to V8
    Engine standardisation
    in fact almost anything the FIA introduce that might mean they lose an ‘edge’

  • ImpossiblyLate

    I still fail to see why F1 has to be relevant to road cars. Nothing about an F1 car is relevant, save for it being called a car. A 4 cylinder turbo F1 engine is not going to end up in a road car. Pneumatic valves, yeah right.

    Why can’t F1 just be what it is, “The Pinnacle” of motor racing? Shouldn’t that mean what it says? Let other series be road relevant. All these changes just seem so silly. Yes cost cutting is intelligent, but green? How about motorhome, paddock hospitality cost cutting? How about transporting cars and parts overseas on kites to cut out fuel costs.

    It all seems so pointless, particularly when Negative Camber points out, so accurately, that an F1 engine IS fuel efficient.

    All these changes seem to make F1 into a rules-inspired innovation race series and not a race-inspired innovation series.

    • I know I’m belaboring a point, but that 4-cylinder turbo WILL end up in my MINI. :)

      • mg5904

        I’m gonna step in line behind you for that engine, SJ. And then maybe we can arrange a meeting at some track midway between the left and right coasts? Someplace in WI, I would suggest.

        • Depending on how long it takes… maybe deep in the heart (clap clap) of Texas…. that is, if I’m brave enough to show my face there. :)

    • La Rascasse

      If we want F1 cars to be more efficient and road relevant, why don’t we have enclosed wheels? when was the last time you saw an open wheel road car.

      Why try to save a mile per gallon of fuel, and then double tire consumption and the oil used to make the rubber?

      If we need vast featureless tracks with vast featureless runoffs for safety, why do we still race at Monaco?

      • Williams4Ever

        Why do we still race at Monaco?
        >> Coz traditionally the monarchs and the noblemen were used to be entertained by gladiators, wrestlers and cavaliers since the times immemorial ;-). Times have changed but Monarchs, Noblemen, gladiators, wrestlers and cavaliers exist albeit with a different names….

      • They still race in Monaco because I’d go all Sutil on them if they didn’t.

    • Tony

      I guess the issue is that F1 is now a massive business that involves a significant amount of funding that comes from commercial sources, either sponsors, manufacturers and more importantly than anything TV/Fans…. and in order to keep it as ‘big’ as it is, there needs to be a relevance for car manufacturers to be involved and to gain something from it other than brand image, otherwise we will just have a few big teams running 3 cars and 2 sets of pull-over orders for Alonso’s team mates. :)
      (and i suspect a decline in viewing figures)