How new rules will change 2010 F1 cars

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

62 comments on “How new rules will change 2010 F1 cars”

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  1. i can see why they have implimented the refueling ban but will make the cars slow and clumbsy also cause of the cars being slowly any race that has more than 1 safty care if more likely not too finnish in the 2 hour time limit for a race the f1 cars in 2009 where slower than in 2004 so with the new fuel tank that ads more too the time for the race longer time too speed up and slow down gonna be interesting too see what happens if an acident happens at the begining of the race say at china when the cars are reaching 150mph into the 1st corner lets hope the fuel tanks are shatter and bullet proof

  2. I’m not sure if budget restrictions is really the reason refueling is banned. I mean, does it really cost that much to operate two refueling rigs?
    And I don’t see how banning refueling will promote overtaking. They’re saying that with refueling allowed drivers would rather overtake in pitstops. Isn’t this all part of the strategy? Are they saying that race strategies are making F1 ‘less entertaining’?
    And I hope they are not planning to cut the number of laps just to make this happen.

    Although, its a bit too late for complaints, the cars are already launched, and the season is less than 2 months. I hope this year’s rules won’t make F1 a big dull boring race…
    Lets hope for a good Formula One season!

  3. …hail F1!!!…keep up the outstanding effort…and PLEASE..DON’t EVER ALLOW NASCAR principles to creep in to our glorious racing heritage…they’ve(NASCAR)wrecked the honor of racing in America…for the sake of sensationalism/marketing/and the almighty $$$$….yes money greases the wheels of it well should..and is needed…but American politics/business/industry have ALL succumed to greed…be careful..keep F1 honorable..because honor left America some time ago…America is now a wasteland..and may never recover..she doesn’t deserve it..she’s been good to us..and we’ve systematically destroyed her..we should be ashamed..yet we choose to have more than we need..and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$…!!!…(and NASCAR)

  4. Probably the best build up to the F1 season in years starring Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Massa and the return of Schumacher(and Senna!) , which to be honest was very, very disappointing due to the rediculous no refuelling rule!

    This will result in no over-taking during the race, apart from the start and during the end where the car becomes lighter.
    If this continues, F1 will lose viewers and will have to be forced to change the rule.

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