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?s 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 ?ǣ which I am very happy to see ?ǣ was originally proposed by the F1 teams? association but subsequently dismissed by Max Mosley as he felt it would interfere with ??the show? 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 ?ǣ 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 ?ǣ refuelling ?ǣ 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?s 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? 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 ?ǣ 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?s cars much quicker than this year?s. 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. manatcna said on 1st May 2009, 3:07

    Ban all pit stops – and have no overtaking at all

  2. Arun Srini said on 1st May 2009, 6:11

    4 wheel drive – hmmmm – audi into F1???
    Refuelling ban?? So ferrari is going to concentrate on miles per gallon?????

    • Interestingly, Top Gear did a supercar fuel-economy test and they did find that the Audi is among the most fuel-efficient (and Ferrari among the worst).

      F1 engines are more-or-less equivalent in fuel consumptions, though.

      What will be interesting is if they also allow rotary and diesel engines. Rotary = more compact but more fuel-guzzling, but mated with a KERS, the smaller amount of space, and the lower amount of vibration, might be useful enough balance-wise.

  3. shery said on 1st May 2009, 6:15

    im not sure how refuelling ban will make races more exciting..for me f1 is not just about drivers rather it is a competetion between brilliant engineers,strategies and ofcourse drivers as well…anyways i wont say it is a bad decision but it has its own pros and cons..lets see

  4. Jonesracing82 said on 1st May 2009, 8:44

    i fear the narrower tyres will create LESS mechanical grip at the front, wont that hurt overtaking?

    • Arthur954 said on 1st May 2009, 12:46

      no, that will make longer braking areas and improve overtaking — I think ?

    • It will make the cars more balanced — right now the front has way too much grip relative to the rear, due to the switch from grooved to slick.

  5. PJA said on 1st May 2009, 10:33

    The only change I support 100% is the return to proper qualifying.

    I assume the tyre warm up plans have been sorted or we wouldn’t have a ban on tyre warmers. Can anyone tell me when tyre warmers were first used in F1? While tyre warmers may not seem to add much to “the show” I think as F1 is the pinnacle of motor racing it should have things like tyre warmers.

    Regarding the minimum weight increase to try and make KERS more widely used, the lighter drivers will now have even more ballast to play about, so will heavier drivers still be at a disadvantage or will the extra ballast for light drivers not make much difference?

    I am in two minds about the ban on refuelling. I quite liked the strategy element of 1 stop versus 3 stop, but it will force drivers to overtake on track rather than wait for the pit stops. If this was introduced when cars had difficulty following each other and overtaking then I think it would have been a mistake.

    I do think that removing the rule requiring drivers to use both compounds in a race should have been scrapped, and it would have made the ban on refuelling work better also.

    • Suppose that right now the amount of ballast a light driver can play with is, say, 80 kg, and with KERS it’s 50 kg. A light driver therefore loses 37.5% of ballast with KERS. Suppose a heavier driver weighs 20 kg more, and therefore the KERS loss is now 30 over 60 = 50%. The heavier driver has a 12.5%/37.5% = 33% higher KERS penalty.

      By increasing the minimum weight by 15 kg, the disadvantage is reduced, both for shorter and taller drivers, though the effect will be more marked on taller drivers. Naturally, it’s not eliminated completely.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

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

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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 ?

  14. 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

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

    refuelling ban will be a big mistake. stupid idea!

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