The 2009 season sees the introduction of the most radical new rules to hit F1 in a generation.
Here’s a quick guide to the major changes in the sporting and technical rules, including some potentially significant tweaks which haven’t had much attention.
Drivers can only use eight engines during the (17-race) season. If they have to use a ninth engine they will have a ten-pace grid penalty at the first race where they use it, and further similar penalties will follow if additional engines are used.
The pit lane speed limit in qualifying and the race has been raised from 80kph (49.7mph) to 100kph (62.1mph).
All teams must declare the starting weights of their cars within two hours of qualifying finishing.
If a race starts behind the safety car, drivers must start the race on wet weather tyres.
The rules on what a team can do to a car which is starting the race from the pit lane have been changed – teams can now make changes to “improve driver comfort” and the driver may do a reconnaissance lap.
The rule preventing drivers from being able to pit during a safety car until permitted to do so has been scrapped.
The FIA will now appoint three stewards per race (instead of two), one of which will not have a vote. It may also appoint an advisor as it did in 2008 (Alan Donnelly).
The teams cannot do more than 15,000km of testing and may not test between the first race of the season and the last day of the year. There are two major exceptions: teams can do up to eight days of straight-line aerodynamics testing, and after the last race of the season they have three days in which they may test young drivers.
NB. Distribution of points remains the same as in 2008 (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1) despite the FIA’s recent attempt to introduce a system where the driver with the most wins would become world champion.
Grooved tyres have been replaced by slicks. The tyres known as ‘standard wets’ last year are now called ‘intermediates’ and ‘extreme wets’ are called ‘wets’. At each race the softer of the two dry compounds available and the wet weather tyres will be marked with green rings.
Teams may use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) but it is not compulsory and they may run KERS and non-KERS cars at different races. KERS may give them a power boost of up to 400 kilojoules per lap which roughly equals 82bhp for 6.6 seconds, though the power could be used in different ways. If a driver abandons their cars its KERS must be switched off. KERS may be charged before the start of the race.
Engines may not exceed 18,000rpm (reduced from 19,000).
The cars’ front wings may be adjusted while the car is moving a maximum of twice per lap by a maximum of six degrees.
There are new restrictions on the aerodynamic shape of the cars: front wings may now be wider, rear wings are narrower and taller, and many of the winglets and flip-ups that used to be on the cars have been banned. Diffusers are more tightly limited in size and shape.
The cars must now have four onboard camera housings instead of two, so hopefully we should see more interested TV pictures this year!
How do you think the new rules for 2009 will affect the competition? Will cars be able to follow each other more closely? Will KERS cause more retirements? Have your say in the comments.
More on the 2009 F1 rules
- The new safety car rules are an improvement but could still go wrong
- How the F1 rules changes for 2009 are meant to improve racing (part 1/3)
- How the F1 rules changes for 2009 are meant to improve racing (part 2/3)
- How the F1 rules changes for 2009 are meant to improve racing (part 3/3)
- How new engine rules will affect strategy
- Changes to the 2009 Sporting Regulations In Full (La Canta Magnifico Blog)
- The 2009 Technical Regulations Analysed – Part 1 (La Canta Magnifico Blog)
- Changes To The 2009 Technical Regulations (Part 2) (La Canta Magnifico Blog)