How new rules will change 2010 F1 cars

Good news - refuelling is officially banned for 2010

Good news - refuelling is officially banned for 2010

The FIA has announced further details of changes to F1?σΤιΌΤδσs technical rules for 2010.

Chief among these is the widely-expected banning of refuelling and tyre warmers. The minimum weight of the cars is also being increased from 605kg to 620kg, and there are revisions to the rules governing KERS.

How are these changes, together with the expected reduction in front tyre size, likely to change the cars of 2010? And will they encourage more drivers to use KERS?

Bigger fuel tanks

The refuelling ban ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ which I am very happy to see ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ was originally proposed by the F1 teams?σΤιΌΤδσ association but subsequently dismissed by Max Mosley as he felt it would interfere with ?σΤιΌ?£the show?σΤιΌΤδσ too much.

However the F1 teams have now convinced the FIA that a refuelling ban makes sense on cost grounds, as it saves them having to hip refuelling equipment around the world at great expense. To my mind a ban has always made sense in pure sporting terms and I now hope refuelling is gone for good.

The consequences for the cars are clear ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ they will now require larger fuel tanks to last a full race distance. Tyre wear over a race distance will now be more critical as the cars will be heavier.

(At this point it is often suggested that, as the cars will have to carry more fuel, they will be less safe. Logically that might make sense, but given how infrequently F1 cars catch fire it may make little difference. Indeed the number one cause of F1 car fires ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ refuelling ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ will be gone, so I expect it will be beneficial for safety on the whole.)

More on refuelling

KERS and tyre changes

The 15kg minimum weight increase is designed to encourage more drivers to use KERS. Already this year we have seen taller, heavier drivers like Robert Kubica not using KERS because it reduced his ability to position ballast where he most wanted it.

Another change not mentioned in the FIA?σΤιΌΤδσs revised rules may aid that cause further. Bridgestone are working on a narrower front tyre, which should address a handling imbalance brought about by the return to slick tyres this year. This may make the cars?σΤιΌΤδσ sensitivity to ballast less acute.

Tyre warmers ban

The tyre warmer ban was originally slated for this year, but dropped after Bridgestone felt its present generation of slick tyres could not get up to operating temperature quickly enough without them. Several drivers agreed vociferously.

Presumably these concerns have now been addressed ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ if not, expect a disgruntled GPDA to make its feelings known in due course. Few other top-line single seater series continue to allow drivers to have their tyres pre-heated, so if F1 drivers can be given rubber that is up to the job there is no reason why the same should not apply to them.

With more fuel to carry, increased weight and narrower front tyres, designers may struggle to make next year?σΤιΌΤδσs cars much quicker than this year?σΤιΌΤδσs. But as the diffuser row proved, we should never underestimate their inventiveness.

More on tyre warmers

Other changes in the 2010 technical rules

  • Changes to bodywork dimensions to prevent tyre damage to other cars
  • More technical freedoms for teams who agree to abide by the budget cap including greater adjust-ability of the front wing, an adjustable rear wing element, doubling of maximum KERS power output and relaxation of the rules limiting engines to a maximum of 18,000rpm and two driven wheels (see here for more: FIA aims to get all teams to cap budgets using one-sided regulations)
  • KERS may not be used above 300kph (186mph)
  • Restrictions on where KERS batteries may be positioned
  • Drivers may use a special valve to reduce rear brake pressure when KERS is operated

You can find the new technical regulations for 2010 on the FIA website: 2010 F1 Sporting Regulations – published on 30.04.2009 showing alterations

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62 comments on How new rules will change 2010 F1 cars

  1. MattB said on 2nd May 2009, 10:37

    What I’m looking forward to is the race that the teams will have in changing tyres – astonishing pit stops at only a couple of seconds!

  2. Clay said on 2nd May 2009, 14:43

    The 4wd thing is interesting. I play around with electric cars and some of the motors we can get are what’s called hub motors. Basically the wheel is attached to the electric motor, and the shaft of the motor is the axle. The shaft stays still while the whole motor, and the wheel, spins around it.

    Use them on your front wheels driving the KERS power through them and you (a) fix the front/rear weight distribution issue and (b) get better regenerative braking as the front wheels drive the generation of electric power. It might increase unsprung weight a little but this is F1, they’ll find a way around it…

    The refuelling ban will be good for F1 and for the world car industry. Engineers that can get the same level of performance from their cars using less fuel (which means lighter cars at the start and smaller tanks) will give their team a massive advantage. Car makers can then take that technology – more performance from less fuel – to road cars.

    F1 2010 should be awesome!

  3. Andrew said on 2nd May 2009, 18:18

    There are too many rules and restrictions now. It’s getting ridiculous.

  4. slep said on 2nd May 2009, 18:20

    i’m sorry, i would like to ask a question

    if there is no refueling in 2010, so the car use 1 set of tyre for entire race, or they can change the tyre but without refueling? thanks

    • They can change tyres, but now the drivers who can better preserve the tyres have an advantage in that they can make less stops — we are going to see much more variation in pit stop strategies.

  5. Chaz said on 5th May 2009, 16:24

    Mark my words, stopping refueling is a mistake. Either way you think about it the cars need fuel and fuel rigs are need anyway. Not having refueling may bring about some initial excitement but this will soon disappear once the usual boring parades takes effect. Having tyre and fuel stops adds another dimension of uncertainty and strategy more so than just tyre stops. Sometimes its better to just pick the lesser of two eveils…

    • Jarred said on 11th January 2010, 7:58

      Thats exactly what I was thinking, they will need the fuel rigs to refuel after practise and qualifying so I don’t see the advantage there really unless they plan to refuel the cars manually using petrol cans.

  6. dwp said on 6th May 2009, 2:42


    The do not need fuel rigs if there is no fueling during the race. Other than pit stops the transfer fuel by pumping in and out of the tank.

    The strategy is simple, pass the car in front until you are the car in front. Maybe you can change tyres and make up the time to pass the car(s) in front, that was and still is strategy.

  7. While this require larger fuel tanks, also consider that the more fuel efficient your car, the smaller your tank can be & the lighter your car will be. Yay fuel efficiency!

  8. marc said on 31st May 2009, 12:02

    holy crap lol theres more rules than i thought. This will be more interesting, hopefully in the near future rule changes in the F1 will die down. I think there are to many regulations being set in one year. It also becoming to strict..

    Quote ” Restrictions on where KERS batteries may be positioned ”

    come on ? THAT IS BECOMING OUT OF HAND, they are already in bad enough positions…why are they restricting it ?

  9. Sukoco said on 22nd September 2009, 4:22

    i think the real problem in F1 in venue or circuit. Now almost all circuit is flat on little demanding circuit like Spa (Belgium) or less drama happened.. i often get bored watch raceday.. only cars with big power will win, torque and balance less influence..

    Refeuling will not much contribute cos driver not push their car 120% over the limit in flat circuit..the will play safe to trial n error

    No tire warmer in positive way will reduce cost (but i dont know how much tire warmer take elect), but less budget team that often struggle in cold tire condition will add more trouble n more left behind..n safety issue?oh no, they(driver)will leave the pit in poor grip n big crash will happen cos depending their position or to make is poor in this area

  10. richard said on 2nd October 2009, 15:51

    refuelling ban will be a big mistake. stupid idea!

  11. Younger Hamilton said on 10th October 2009, 19:13

    it thnk the 2010 f1 cars will be a mixture of the looks of the 2008 and 2009 cars. Combining them together.

  12. With regards to more than 2 wheel drive what about fixing the Kerrs just to the front wheels will help front weight distribution and give better pull up the inclines with better grip on corners

  13. With regards to more than 2 wheel drive what about fixing the Kerrs just to the front wheels will help front weight distribution and give better pull up the inclines with better grip on corners, this must be possible?

  14. Bucciali said on 19th October 2009, 0:15

    “With regards to more than 2 wheel drive what about fixing the Kerrs just to the front wheels will help front weight distribution and give better pull up the inclines with better grip on corners, this must be possible?”

    KERS is KERput. Just forget about it going on…

  15. Look guys, this discussion is academic. With Jean Todt now in charge of the FIA, the rules will be migrated over time to Favour Ferrari and / or Red Bull anyway so it’ll be as boring as the Schumacher years all over again. And on 4wd – remember Fiat has access to Massey Furgerson so Ferrari could have a 4wd drive car already waiting in the … Field.

  16. Current rules do not allow 4wd and I think changing them will be hard based on cost and considerable protests by the majority of the teams.

  17. Instead of thinking about a re-fuling ban I would propose to move these cars to electric motors and really invent some future for cars in general. The technology is there to make them go fast. And we might end up with solid technology for street cars.

  18. I guess refueling ban would make almost all of the teams to run on a similar race strategy, which I think will be a bit sad. Still, I’m looking forward to how the teams will outwit each other now that they’ve sort of leveled the playing field.

    By the way, does anyone have details on 2010’s car design rules? For instance the dimensions and general look?

  19. rtc firestone said on 18th November 2009, 7:32

    we first noticed at the temporada in argentina in 1971 that if you left the wheels on the pit lane wall in the sun they got quite close to operating temperature. we then put the tires on jimmy’s car and he said they came in straight away. Racing was a lot more exciting with cold tires, to see 24 cars smoking tires off the line, and less first corner accidents.

  20. oneillds said on 26th January 2010, 9:01

    Finally catching up on the new rules.

    From a pure physics point of view: no refueling stops means heavier cars, double the KERS output to get up to full speed, decrease the wings to lighten downforce, make the front tires smaller, and remove tire pre-heaters so they are cold going into the first turns. Newton says a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

    Hope the brakes work better than before.

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