F1 Commission agrees new 2010 points and double diffuser ban for 2011

2010 F1 season

F1 teams will have to use smaller diffusers in 2011

F1 teams will have to use smaller diffusers in 2011

The F1 Commission has agreed on a second new points system for F1, amending the proposal they made in December.

A win will still be worth 25 points and the value of a second place finish has been slightly reduced – but the value of other lower-placed finished has been increased.

The Commission has also decided to make drivers who qualify in the top ten start the race on the same tyre as they qualified on, which they hope will “introduce a further element of strategy” and “improve the show”.

Revised points system

The revised F1 points system increases the points difference between winning and finishing second from five to seven, which the FIA hopes will “further encourage the ‘race to win'”:

1st – 25 points
2nd – 18 points
3rd – 15 points
4th – 12 points
5th – 10 points
6th – 8 points
7th – 6 points
8th – 4 points
9th – 2 points
10th – 1 point

However, as discussed here earlier, it also offers more points for drivers who finish lower down the running order, increasing the likelihood that championship leaders will be able to collect lower placed finishes to guarantee themselves the title instead of pushing for wins.

Read more on that and see how the new points system would have changed the 2009 championship here: Teams considering an even more generous points system for 2010

The ‘top ten tyre’ rule

With refuelling banned this year, the requirement for the top ten qualifiers to start the race on the fuel load they qualified on was to be removed. However the Commission has decided to continue handicapping the top ten qualifiers by making them start the race on the tyres they qualified:

Cars having participated in Q3 must start the race on the same set of tyres with which their grid time was set.
F1 Commission statement

Presumably an exception will be made in the event of rain during qualifying or the race.

Disappointingly, this means we will not get to see ‘pure’ qualifying in 2010, as the quickest drivers will be compromised by tyre choice.

As I’ve already said here, I think this is needless meddling with the rules which will at best have a minimal effect on the quality of racing in 2010.

More on that here: Stop the needless rules changes

2011 double diffuser ban

Double diffusers will be banned in 2011 if the Commission’s proposal is accepted.

This will cut the amount of downforce the cars can generate and reduce cornering speeds. Whether it will help cars follow more closely – and thereby increase overtaking – is a subject of much debate.

Double diffusers

Other changes

There will be a further reduction in the number of tyres a team may use at each weekend, with 11 sets of four now available instead of 14.

This is good news for Bridgestone, who will now have to supply far fewer tyres in 2010 than they were expecting. It may even be interpreted as an attempt to get them to reverse their decision to leave the sport at the end of this year by reducing their costs.

More on that here: Bridgestone to make surprise F1 exit

“Improving the show”

The F1 Commission’s proposal will now go before the World Motor Sports Council where they are very likely to be accepted. However it remains to be seen whether Jean Todt will be satisfied they have done enough to “improve the show” as he urged them to. Their statement adds:

Further measures for 2010 are also being examined.
F1 Commission statement

You can read the full statement here.

Do you think F1 needs to “improve the show”? Will these changes help? Have your say below.

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108 comments on F1 Commission agrees new 2010 points and double diffuser ban for 2011

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  1. Hairs said on 2nd February 2010, 10:38

    They don’t need to “Improve the show”. They need to “Get rid of Hermann Tilke” and get Mark Webber to re-profile the corners on the tracks he’s already done.

    Two words:
    Inter – Lagos.
    disproves every bit of nonsense the commission have come up with.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 2nd February 2010, 10:46

      Two words: rule book.

      That disproves everything you just said about Tilke. I guarantee you that if you get rid of him now, nothing with change. Tilke is actually pretty good at what he does; it’s not as if he sets out with the intention of making a bad circuit. He has to do the best he can with what he’s given, and what he’s given is a tract of land that has been set aside and a rule book filled with very strict regulations. If you replace Tilke, his successor will only do the same thing. But if you change the rule book and allow more freedom in circuit design, you’ll get more noticeale results, even with Tilke.

      But bettr yet, change the cars. Ban aerodynamics outright; force the teams to make cars where the grip is all mechanical. Or at the very least, keep aerodynamics to a minimum. Single-plane wings and no shark fins or aerodynamic bells and whistles. Because the problem with overtaking has nothing to do with the circuits and everything to do with the cars. It’s easier and cheaper to change the cars, anyway.

      • Macca said on 2nd February 2010, 11:13

        What’s Mark Webber got to do with anything? Have I missed a point here?

      • NomadIndian said on 2nd February 2010, 12:07

        If that is the case, how are almost all of the older circuits more exciting, presumiing they to conform to the rule book?

      • Hairs said on 2nd February 2010, 12:56

        I’m sorry PM, but again you’re demonstrably wrong here.

        There’s nothing in the rule book to state
        “All corners must be 90 or 312 degrees”
        “No gradients of any sort are allowed”
        “All corners must be of fixed radius”
        “There must only be one viable line into and out of any corner”.

        Tilke had a blank canvas and a blank chequebook in Abu Dhabi and look what he came up with. That section through the hotel could have been a curving panorama, with the Senna S’s coming down towards it, and the cars lashing through it at speed. Instead, it’s a 90 degree rectangle. What a joke. They were creating that land out of the sea, in the desert, are you suggesting they couldn’t possibly have put a small hill on it somewhere? Reprofiling an existing corner to make the exits wider is dirt cheap, not outside the regulations, and only has to be done once. “Changing the cars” is cheaper?? The cars have to be re-invented every single year. How often has Interlagos had to be re-invented? Twice? Utter nonsense to suggest that limiting car development with new regs (that will have to be defined, enforced, and engineers will spend millions to get around) is cheaper than laying tarmac.

        If the cars are to blame, how come the exact same cars produce phenomenal racing at non-Tilke circuits? The Long straight-tight corner system works IF there is more than one racing line into, and especially out of, the corner.

        Why did I mention Webber? He’s not shy about looking at something that’s blatantly crap and saying “That’s crap mate. Why didn’t you ask drivers about the best way to overtake?” He’s dead right, too.

        • @Hairs Abu Dhabi really isn’t the greatest example. Tilke’s firm wasn’t given free hands in the project and investors changed their mind about the layout from ”Monaco-clone” to current whatever it is. Not all old tracks are great for racing – take Hungary for example. Imola was far too narrow for any kind of passing too. On the other hand – not all modern tracks are rubbish – Turkey and Sepang showed some good racing since they were introduced in the calendar.

        • Plus as a GPDA director, Webber can officially speak on behalf of the drivers.

      • I agree Tilke is blamed far too much these days. When he is given free hand in designing the track you get Istanbul Park which is trully a challenging track with its unique features. When Chinese organizers give him a swamply plain, request the longest straight on the calendar and the track to be shaped in the shape of the chinese letter simbolising prosperity… you get what is now refered to as ”Tilkedrom”.

        • Hairs said on 2nd February 2010, 13:27

          Is he obliged to take these jobs on the terms offered? The best Tilke circuits (the early ones) are, to be generous, “ok”. They’re nowhere near the level of the good ones. And even if he’s told “the circuit must be this shape”, there’s no excuse for profiling the corners in such a way that there is only one exit line.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys said on 2nd February 2010, 10:41

    Do you think F1 needs to “improve the show”?
    Yes and no.

    There’s too much reliance on aerodynamic grip these days, and while we’re fortuantely going back to single diffusers for 2011, 2010 has already shown elaborate designs that will make the cars go faster but make it harder to pass. And in the meantime, the Powers That Be need to find some way of keeping the spectale going and preventing a return to the bad old days of 2004. So if they have to artifically do that by tampering with the rules a little, so be it. If it’s better than watching nineteen processions, then it’s nothing worse than a necessary evil.

    • Accidental Mick said on 2nd February 2010, 11:51

      Couldn’t agree more. It is not the track that prevents overtaking, it is the “wake” left by the cars.

      Am I the only person that thinks that a designer will build in a certain amount of turbulent air behind his car precisely to make his car difficult to overtake.

      Someone needs to come up with a way of measureing the turbulance and setting a maximum limit on it.

      • I’m sure they do that on purpose.

      • david said on 2nd February 2010, 14:45

        No, they don’t

        To increase the wake left by the cars you would have to tilt the aerodynamic vector, thus reducing downforce and increasing induce drag. Sometimes designers do try to introduce some turbulence to reduce total drag by filling the hole left by the car and decreasing ‘pressure drag’.

        Drag and lift are made up of many components (ie. induce drag due to lift, pressure drag, skin friction) and the aim is to maximise lift (downforce in the case of F1) and minimise drag. Increasing the size of the wake would do just the opposite, minimise downforce and maximise drag.

        • ummm no

          A diffuser makes a low pressure zone behind the car to suck more air under the car in very simple terms…how I exit the air via tuning vains is another thing altogether.
          I can create vortex to join, dissipate, or travel in just about any direction I want.
          if I was an f1 aero guy of course I would make the air as freaken dirty as I could while not lossing aero efficiency on my own car.
          Why…simple I dont want you to get close and I dont want you to overtake easy…

          look I am sick of posting about this…
          DDD are the worst add-on other than dinosaur kers system.

          dont belive the ddd hype, I can say this with 100% security that if you were to ensure the wake of cars and limit the total amount one can make @ certain reference points(more than just a single top speed) there would be better racing immediately with little to no visual difference to the fans or more experienced viewer.

          Now the next argument will be how can they measure this or enforce it?
          Well how do they measure for flex in floor/wings, how did they find hondas extra fuel tanks, etc etc….

          heres one idea and there would be hundred other ways to test also, but have the teams homologate a diffuser at the start of the season this is tested like they do with impact test, in a special ‘facility’, this has to produce an acceptable wake factor %. other wise it’s illegal.
          This diffuser is now the only one that can be used for the season—unless they apply to have a new re-tested (@ their the teams own expense…and is included in cost cap)….
          you could also include rear wing in this if you want but rear wings aren’t the problem…Especially the new high narrow wings.
          so solved 2 birds with 1 stone less wake and cost saving…unless you built a dog and need to revise it…then you would be screwed anyways under a cost cutting system.

      • MuzzleFlash said on 2nd February 2010, 14:56

        I think I remember reading that Ross Brawn was a pioneer at this, designing Ferrari’s not particularly to cut as clean a possible hole in the air, but to plough it up so Rubens could hold everyone up until the first pit-stops, whereby Michael would overtake them all and go on to win.

        I also don’t think diffusers are as big a culprit as others are making out, to my mind wings create turbulence, diffusers are part of a ground effect system, and compared to wings ground effects are a very efficient way of creating downforce without inducing drag and therefore a turbulent wake.

        Bring back ground effect, active suspension and fat tyres and reduce wing angles of attack to negligble amounts only to be used for shifting front-rear balance.

        • david said on 2nd February 2010, 15:19

          Maybe, but it would only work to a point; it would also mean the design of the car has not been refined.

          If you have a car that generates a big hole, that is, the airflow separates earlier than desired you can generate turbulence to fill the hole and reduce the total drag. However that’s not the optimum strategy because pressure drag is the most controllable of all drag classes and you should focus instead in delaying the airflow separation points and getting a much faster car. Only as a last resort you should fill it with dirty air. Yes you will slow down those behind you with dirty air but you will slow yourself down even more.

          If you have two cars designed to give you some control on the size of the wake then you can set them up in a way that one (Micheal’s) is optimised for speed (small wake) and a second (Ruben’s) that is optimised to slow down others (big wake). Only then it makes sense,IMHO.

          • MuzzleFlash said on 2nd February 2010, 15:41

            I know it is something of a crackpot theory, I can’t imagine designing a car aerodynamically versatile enough to provide the different properties mentioned.

    • I agree PM… not entirely because I don’t know how much hand Tilke has had or hasn’t had in designing these new tracks– they definitely don’t allow for 2 lines into or out of a corner which is a sham that this isn’t a regular aspect of track building… what I do agree on is that while it is cool to see what these engineers can do with carbon fiber, I do believe it is not helpful to the real world and therefore should be less of a focus. Single front and rear wings and a standard diffuser would be a positive move forward (though backward)… look how close the action was in the early 90’s and now? I want to see racers race each other and not have to race the draft/lack of downforce behind the guy. Mechanical grip should be more of a focus. Kudo’s for pointing out this fact Prisoner M.

  3. MPJ1994 said on 2nd February 2010, 10:44

    ‘ drivers who qualify in the top ten start the race on the same time as they qualified’
    Think thats a typo, time instaed of tyre.

    But this has to be one of the dumbest decisions that has been made, almost as bad as shortcuts and medals. What is gained by this except confusing people and masking who truly is the quickest qualifyer.

    In my opinion, they should abolish compulsary tyre changes, so that it is possible (although extremly unlikely with the current compounds) to run the entire race on the one set of tyres. This could possibly throw up the occasional crazy finish where one driver is nursing there tyres in the last laps, while the car behind, on fresh tyres is gaining rapidly.

    If they keep up with these pointless rule changes, its going to have the oposite effect of what is wanted and turn people away from F1 instead of attracting them like they want.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 2nd February 2010, 10:47

      This could possibly throw up the occasional crazy finish where one driver is nursing there tyres in the last laps, while the car behind, on fresh tyres is gaining rapidly.

      That won’t happen – none of Bridgestone’s compounds can go the full race distance.

    • Puffy said on 2nd February 2010, 11:59

      I really couldn’t agree more. I’d love to see more variety in the strategies used and a wider range of tyre compounds for the teams to choose from.

  4. Grace said on 2nd February 2010, 10:46

    Will Q3 be done on low fuel? In otherwords, are the cars refuelled before the race? Because if that is the case, I can’t see much of an issue with laptimes. Hard and soft compounds don’t give that much of a difference over one lap do they? I still think it will be as pure as it can be. Back before refuelling in the early 90’s drivers had the option then to choose compounds.

  5. Robert McKay said on 2nd February 2010, 10:46

    “Further measures for 2010 are also being examined.”
    (F1 Commission statement)

    A chilling thought.

    Anyway why the hell is it not possible to do all the meddling in one go?

  6. I agree with former speaker.
    To improve the show, the race circuit layouts needs to be adopted for overtaking and speed. The track should also be a challange for the driver, like the Spa or the Estoril circuit(former F1 circuit).

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 2nd February 2010, 10:57

      How exactly do you “adopt a circuit layout for overtaking and speed”?

      Hermann Tilke’s long-straight-tight-corner ethos has been a basicpillar of circuit design since the concept of motor racing was born. Le Mans has it: the Mulsanne. The Nurburgring has it: Aremberg, Adeneaur-Forst, the Mutkruve and the end of Dottinger-Hohe. These are circuits that have existed for nearly a century had were built on the same principles that are used today. Even Spa uses it – in its original format the Blanchimont ended with La Source.

      • Hairs said on 2nd February 2010, 20:16

        Those circuits have long-straight-tight-corner layouts with more than one racing line through them. That’s the fundamental difference.

        • Prisoner Monkeys said on 2nd February 2010, 23:38

          Huh? How does that work? I cannot think of a single curve that has multiple racing lines because there is only ever one fastest line through a corner.

          Look at Eau Rouge: the cars glance the kerb on the left on entry, the kerb on the right up the hill and then coss back over to the left again for the exit. How exactly do you propose that drivers could take this differently?

          Even if there are two ways of taking one corner, one will always be faster than the other. And it’s not like Tilke doesn’t try this: look at turns 9 and 10 at Bahrain: you have to brake and turn through 9 – which is very difficult – in order to take 10 perfectly. But if you take 9 perfectly, you have to sacrifice 10. The same goes for 12, 13 and 14 at Sepang: you can only take two of the three apexes.

  7. James_mc said on 2nd February 2010, 10:52

    Does anyone actually think this tyre nonsense is a good idea?

    • No, no one asked for this top ten tyre rule, no one wants it, and it has just destroyed ‘pure qualifying’ which was the only good thing about the refuelling ban.

      It’s pointless rule changes like this that make F1 a joke sometimes.

      • Drivers will be able to use both hard and soft compound tyres during qualifying. It will be blatantly obvious who is quickest on either tyre.

        If they went faster on the less durable tyre and wish to start on the more durable tyre, then they will have to start on the grid that the time they set on the more durable tyre suggests. If they wish to start on the quicker, but less durable tyre, then they will have that option too.

        But it will be obvious who went quickest on what tyre. And no one complained when some drivers had to start the race on what was obviously second best tyres back in the days when there were more than one tyre manufacturer.

  8. Heckie said on 2nd February 2010, 10:53

    2 words – steel brakes…

    • @ Heckie

      …would melt on the first corner.

      • F1 used steel brakes until the 1980s and they rarely melted at the first corner.

        • If carbon ceramic brakes get hot enough to the point of failure even with modern engineering and manufacturing, I doubt steel rotors and pads would last race distance. Even if they didn’t fail, you’d get massive brake fade.

      • Heckie said on 3rd February 2010, 10:49

        the point I was trying to make is that drivers would have to be easier on the brakes = longer braking distances = more chance for outbraking = more overtaking…

        ok maybe steel not the solution, but get rid of carbon/carbon and maybe have steel/ceramic.

  9. nicko said on 2nd February 2010, 10:56

    The pointless rule changes are ruining the sport. The lack of refueling this year is going to **** everything up again.
    Last year created some great racing. You want more excitment… bring back classic circuits where you can overtake and you have to have some balls/guts to rce around (Montreal a prime example- Soooo glad it’s back).

    • Maciek said on 2nd February 2010, 15:27

      “The lack of refueling this year is going to **** everything up again”

      No, no, no – it’s the bringing in of refueling that was a pointless rule change to begin with.

  10. Mahir C said on 2nd February 2010, 11:10

    Tyre rule is fine by me, apart from the fact that it applies to top 10 rather than whole grid. As I said in a previous topic, that was the rule before 2003 as well.

    Point system looks good down to top 6, 6th position is about 30 percent of 1st place, roughly the same as last year. But drivers between 7th and downwards earn a bit too many points. But on the contrary the incentive to go for the win is now greater. I think championship runners will rarely go below top 6, last year was an exception. Generally two teams race for the championship and race wins.

    I dont think point system makes much difference for the championship anyway, but the new system may improve individual races.

  11. Jonesracing82 said on 2nd February 2010, 11:10

    who cares about “stategy for qualifying” it should be simple, “get in the go and go flat out” that is the definition of qualifying

  12. The more the people in charge in F1 use the phrase “improve the show” the more I dislike it.

    While some changes could be made to both the technical and sporting regulations to improve the quality of races I don’t agree with some of the proposals they have come up with, primarily the top ten tyre rule.

    This feels like another artificial gimmick which has the side effect of meaning we won’t see the return of pure qualifying after all.

    As well as making an exception in the event of rain at the end of qualifying or the start of the race it throws up some other questions, for example if a driver develops a puncture in the set of tyres he set his grid time with will he have to start the race on the same type of compound, but then could they be fresh tyres or would they have to be a set of scrubbed tyres or would the driver face a penalty.

    If a driver did not want to start the race on the set of tyres he set his grid time on for another reason such as a bad flat spot could he opt to use his second fastest time and use the tyres he had on for that or would he face a grid penalty.

    If the F1 Commission are still looking at further measures for 2010 I dread to think what the will come up with as I fear they too will be gimmicks as it is too late to introduce any changes to the cars.

    • RandomChimp said on 2nd February 2010, 18:45

      agree with above

    • “The more the people in charge in F1 use the phrase “improve the show” the more I dislike it.”

      As I’ve said before, if I hear the words “improve the show” one more time, I will explode.

      There is far FAR to much chopping and changing now. I don’t ever remember the rules changing so much.

  13. Scott Joslin said on 2nd February 2010, 11:22

    I am a bit unsure if this tyre rule for the top ten drivers will actually work. In principle from my understanding, it seems they want the fastest drivers to run on older rubber at the start of a race. This could lead to the possible outcome:

    Drivers won’t come out in Q3 and do many laps in order to save their rubber, they will just sit in the pits until the very last minute and just do 1 run – Like in the 80’s and 90’s. This would mean the tyres they run on wouldn’t be very worn anyway and negate the disadvantage that this rule set out to achieve. This out come might effect the spectator who doesn’t get to see as much track time because the teams are conserving tyres and just sat in the pits.

    • Megatetsu said on 2nd February 2010, 14:48

      This is a good point, if your a team consistently in the bottom of the 10 then why would you waste tires trying to qualify higher when you can save them for the race. Again it’s better to be 11th. It doesn’t improve the show for me.
      I was hugely relieved when they threw out the mandatory stops idea, and then they spoil it with this. Judging from the responses on this website most true fans are purists who like the classic form of racing, so it puzzles me why they keep changing it.

  14. I still do not understand what will happen if it drizzles:(, I hope they will be allowed to use intermediates. Now how will this tyre-thing effect Q3? I think there is a refuelling ban, since all cars are put in the pac femme. So this leaves me to think that all teams in Q3 will go on full tank….. or am I wrong? (headhurts)

    I hope it is explained to me ordinary fan in the near future.

    • ajokay said on 2nd February 2010, 13:04

      Cars will be fuelled to the brim before the race. Qualifying 3 will be done on low fuel.

    • Adrian said on 2nd February 2010, 13:12

      Ok, I’ll try to answer your questions:

      1) If it rains or drizzles and drivers need to use wets (or inters) either to qualify or to start the race, then the same allowance as there is with regard to the 2-compound rule will come into effect. Namely they will be able to switch to wet or dry tyres accordingly. It remains to be seen how they will select which tyres to use if they qualify on wets.

      2) There is a refuelling ban, but this is only in effect during the race. The cars will complete Q1, Q2 & Q3 on light fuel loads and then be refuelled in parc ferme before the race.

      3) You make a very good point regarding how confusing this is to the casual fan. Not everyone is as much of an F1 geek as some of us on here. And even I am going to struggle to get my head round some of these rule changes!!

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