Designers and drivers forced into rethink as FIA rules bite
Thursday 15 March 2012
Another year, another raft of rule changes. The drag-reducing DRS rear wing device and kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) brought in to – successfully – aid overtaking remain, but other changes to the technical regulations have posed questions that have taxed designers' ingenuity to the maximum.
Gone are the double diffusers which were first used so effectively by Brawn in 2009. That has reduced rear-end downforce, sending aerodynamicists looking for fresh ways to regenerate it and rebalance their cars. Hand in glove with that, the FIA has also banned trick exhausts that send airflow over the diffuser by mandating the size and position of the exhaust exits.
"Our objective is to prevent teams operating a blown diffuser, which under certain circumstances is akin to a moveable aerodynamic device," explains the FIA's Charlie Whiting. "In combination with additional constraints on engine mapping, it will limit designers' ability to exploit exhaust gases for aerodynamic effect."
Further attention has been paid to the amount of flexibility allowed in front wings – it has been decreased to again limit downforce and aid overtaking.
The most visible change has left most cars with ugly "platypus" noses. "The height of the survival cell in front of the driver was 625mm – and we wanted to reduce that to 550mm," Whiting said. "Our intention was to ensure the nose is lower than the cockpit sides, to protect the driver's head in the event of a 'T-bone' accident." The platypus noses were the compromise result.
Drivers may now only move once while defending their position in corners, while under safety car deployments lapped cars may unlap themselves so race leaders do not get artificial cushions to their immediate challengers.
"The overtaking rule isn't really new," Whiting says. "We've put into the regulations what was an unwritten rule. A driver can make one move only to defend a position – but when that driver then moves back on to the racing line to take a corner it can be construed as a second move, which is not allowed.
"We need to have drivers giving each other space on the track, otherwise we risk dangerous collisions."
There will also be a test session mid-season, in Mugello in May, after three years in which all in-season testing was banned.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga