MATTEO DALL'OMBRA

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F1 Review: What’s Coming In 2015

December 6th, 2014

Just few days after my 2014 F1 review, the FIA published some of the changes will be seeing in the new season next year. Let’s have a look at the most interesting.

Points

Points for both titles will no longer be doubled for the final Event of the Championship.

Seriously? I swear I laughed really a lot when I saw this. The first item in the list abolish the most controversial rule that we had in 2014. It was first introduced to provide a ‘better show’ but it only mathematically relegated Rosberg to a desperate final race. Even without the technical issues there was no way on earth he could have won.

Glad it’s gone.

Standing Restarts

After consultation with the Teams who raised a number of safety concerns, Articles 42.7 and 42.8 on standing restarts have been rescinded.

Never really understood the need for a standing restart. Usually Safety Car spells are where we see most of the action nowadays. Plus there’s the technical issue of stopping all the cars and starting them again. Not just mechanics running around on the pit straight, but also consider the implication of letting the car suddenly cool down just to heat up again few minutes later. I could see a lot of engines suddenly going up in smoke!

Virtual Safety Car (VSC)

Following tests of the VSC system at the final Events of 2014, the introduction of the system has been approved for 2015. The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.

This is a very interesting new article. Safety has always been at the centre of the FIA actions and this feel like a major leap forward. The essence is that with the VSC procedure, cars can be slowed down remotely in case of danger, without having to rely on the drivers. It’s not that we don’t trust drivers to do the right thing, but they are still professional drivers fighting in the ultimate championship: they will always try to meet the minimum requirement still trying to gain something out of it (meaning: not really slowing down that much). By removing the human decision we can make sure all the drivers can be safe and everybody will experience the same delay, meaning that no one will be more penalised than other.

Power Unit Penalties

[…] If a grid place penalty is imposed, and the driver’s grid position is such that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied in the form of a time penalty during the race (not at the next race as was previously the case) […]

I like the idea of preventing penalties from being carried over in subsequent races. If something wrong is detected the penalty should be reflected in the same event the fault was discovered. Porting it into the next race never made much sense.

Qualifying Procedure

The qualifying procedure was clarified: for cases when 24 cars are eligible seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 22 cars are eligible six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.

I have mixed feelings toward this clarification. In very basic terms it explains how many cars are excluded from every session depending on the total number of participating cars. This was clearly done in response to the chaos brought by the sudden disappearance of Catheram and Marussia. Now it’s clearer what to do if the number drops. My question is: why instead don’t they work toward making sure that we always have the full number of cars on the grid? Also why starting to count from 24? Even with all the teams in we had 22 cars. Are they laying the ground for 3-cars team to cover the defection of other manufacturers? This was only a rumour; we’ll see what will happen.

Safety Car: lapped cars

Once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap, the race director will no longer have to wait for all the lapped cars to reach the back of the pack behind the safety car.

Again, a welcomed change even if still doesn’t fully solved the problem. Since a couple years ago lapped cars have to up-lap themselves and take their position at the back of the group, making sure that all cars are within a certain more compact space. This wasn’t the case and it had always been ok. If you were lapped you stayed lapped. You only had to stay where you were and wait for the restart. Having cars unlapping the leaders creates confusion and causes massive delays in the restart. With this new rule at least the delay is removed, still the confusion stands.

To read the full text of all the new rules, you can visit the Official F1 website.