2010 F1 rules published: FIA changes post-race penalties and fuel declarations

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Race start weights will not be declared in 2010
Race start weights will not be declared in 2010

The FIA has published the updated rules for the 2010 F1 season.

F1 teams will no longer declare their starting fuel weights and post-race penalties have been changed meaning drivers could have up to half a minute added to their race time by the stewards.

Changes to the sporting rules


Stewards hand out post-race penalties in situations where drivers would be given drive-through or stop-go penalties, but incur them too late in the race for that to be possible.

Last year stewards could only give 25 second penalties, but now they will be able to give 20 second penalties to drivers who would have received drive-through penalties, and 30 seconds to those who would have had stop-go penalties.

Drivers who get penalties during the race will now have only two laps to serve them instead of three.


The widely-discussed ban on refuelling is in the rules:

29.1 a) Refuelling is only permitted in the team’s designated garage area.
b) No car may be refuelled after it has left the pit lane for the first time whilst the pit exit is open for the
c) Fuel may not be added to nor removed from a car during a race.
29.2 No car may be refuelled, nor may fuel be removed from a car, at a rate greater than 0.8 litres/second.

The FIA has also deleted the requirement for teams to publish their fuel loads before the race. This is no great surprise, as the fuel load no longer has as great a bearing on race strategy, and F1’s engine manufacturers may not want people working out which of their units are the most efficient.


In place of ‘race fuel qualifying’ the FIA is now forcing the top ten qualifiers to start the race on the tyres they set their best time on. Here’s the wording of the rule:

25.4 d) At the start of the race each car which took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his grid time. This will only be necessary if dry-weather tyres were used to set the grid time and if dry-weather are used at the start of the race. Any such tyres damaged during Q3 will be inspected by the FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion, whether any may be replaced and, if so, which tyres they should be replaced with.

The total number of tyres available to a driver has also been reduced to 11 sets of dry-weather tyres (six ‘prime’ and five ‘option’).

A new clause requires drivers to hand some tyres back after FP1, which is no doubt to encourage more teams to run cars in the often-quiet first session.

Each nominated driver will be allocated three sets of dry-weather tyres for use during P1 and P2, two of ‘prime’ specification and one of ‘option’ specification. These are the only dry-weather tyres which may be used during these sessions. One set of ‘prime’ specification must be returned to the tyre supplier before the start of P2 and one set of each specification before the start of P3.


Team must now homologate certain parts of their cars at the start of the championship which they cannot change.

28.7 a) One specification of each of the following parts must be homologated prior to the first Event of the Championship season:
– survival cell;
– principal and second roll structures;
– front, rear and side impact structures ;
– front wheel;
– rear wheel.
Once homologated, changes to the these parts will only be permitted for clear safety or reliability reasons following written approval from the FIA.

It’s not hard to see how the FIA might want to widen this homologation in the future to keep costs under control.

Race suspension

New rules govern what drivers must do if a race is suspended, as it was during last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix:

41.2 When the signal is given overtaking is forbidden, the pit exit will be closed and all cars must proceed slowly to the starting grid. The first car to arrive on the grid should occupy pole position and others should fill the remaining grid positions in the order they arrive.

Some of the other changes in the 2010 sporting rules have been mentioned previously here, such as the reduced allocation of six days of straight-line aerodynamic testing (any day of which can be substituted for four hours of full scale wind-tunnel testing).

There’s also the new points system (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1), provisions for a rookie driver test if a team needs to make a substitution during the season,

Here are the sporting rules in full:

Technical rules

Among the changes to the technical rules are a restriction on the maximum number of exits an exhaustmay have (two), limitations on the construction of suspension uprights and wheel assembly, and a revised list of permitted materials.

Drivers also have a new limit on the number of gear ratio pairs:

9.6.2 The maximum number of numerical change gear ratio pairs a competitor has available to him during a Championship season is 30. All such gear ratio pairs must be declared to the FIA technical delegate at or before the first Event of the Championship.

And these are the two additions to the technical rules which ban the use of wheel ‘hubs’ and spinners:

The ducts may not rotate with the wheels nor may they, or any of their mountings, protrude axially beyond the outer face of the wheel fastener;
No part of the car, other than those specifically defined in Articles 12.8.1 and 12.8.2, may obscure any part of the wheel when viewed from the outside of the car towards the car centre line along the axis of the wheel

Read the full 2010 F1 technical rules here

42 comments on “2010 F1 rules published: FIA changes post-race penalties and fuel declarations”

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  1. Fuel weights bad for marketing. But its pointless anyway, as it doesn’t determine team strategy since there isn’t likely to be one. Also a team might add the extra 1 or 2 kilos of fuel just to ensure they get to the end.

  2. All the KERS rules are still in there. What’s to stop someone like Williams using KERS?

    1. FOTA has a voluntary agreement that its members will not use KERS in 2010.

    2. gentlemans agreement… Bad karma from the others… kicking out of FOTA (again) ;-) Seriously, this could be the diffuser war of 2010, in addition to the current diffuser war about diffusers of 2010… oh, my. My head hurts!

    3. It’s good that the KERS rules are still there because it’s very likley they’ll see a rivival in 2011.

      Especially if the rules are freed up somewhat, KERS systems will be reaping twice the energy at the begining of races now, an will have a major impact on fuel efficiency.

      1. Good point Scribe, with refuelling banned KERS could help shift that extra weight the cars are carrying, though that would put further stress on brakes and tyres. However, if the teams agree to lift the voluntary ban for 2011 then the cars would possibly have to be even heavier (than 620kg) to accommodate it which may not be a good thing. One thing’s for sure though, if 2010 races prove to be processional then we will see KERS return next year to “improve the show.”

  3. Here’s an idea: why don’t they make all the cars look identical and let the teams fit any engines they want (V8, V10, V12, whatever).

    1. pointless, there will be no competition. Teams want a car will work on every track on the calendar. v8 teams will work better at short tight tracks, v10s will be best for long circuits and v12s will just sound the best and win everyones hearts and nobody will care if they win or not aslong as they get the sound :)

  4. Well apart from rubber stamping the change to the points system and the top ten qualifying rule, which personally I don’t agree with, the rest of the changes seem to be just tidying up the rules and appear to make sense.

    I don’t think I would want many more parts to be included on the homologation list as it could restrict a teams chance to improve the car during the season.

    With regards to the top ten tyre rule one of my queries has been answered, what would happen if a driver had a bad flat spot on a tyre, but would it be possible for a driver to use his second quickest time set in Q3 as his grid time if he wanted to use that set of tyres, I wouldn’t have thought it would be allowed but teams are always trying to find loopholes.

  5. All this just makes me miss the BTCC during the Supertouring 90’s.

    Simple rules and brilliant racing.

    1. I’m with you 100%. But then nobody watches F1 for its simplicity do they…
      I’m now off to watch some ’98 BTCC highlights on a certain ubiquitous video-sharing web site.

  6. HounslowBusGarage
    12th February 2010, 12:08

    So the Top Ten Tyre rules are only applicable to Qualifying/Race situations which are Dry/Dry. Wet/Dry, Dry/Wet or even Wet/Wet combinations are not affected. So the Top Ten could all line up on the grid with new tyres no matter what in these 3 combinations.
    Like PJA, I wonder how bad the damage or flat spotting would have to be for the FIA technical delegate to approve a change (of all four?) tyres.
    “Careful with that Stanley knife! Oops, oh well. Never mind . . . Fetch the FIA Technical Delegate!”

    1. If Q3 is wet then no team gets an advantage anyway. The Dry/Wet combination is the most interesting — depending on how reliable the weather forecast is, teams could gamble on using soft tyres and either reap rewards on Sunday or have their race strategies ruined.

  7. They couldn’t word something clearly if they tried…

    “One set of “prime” specification must be returned to the tyre supplier before the start of P2 and one set of each specification before the start of P3.”

    Is that one set of each ‘in total’ before P3, or one set of each ‘in addition’ to the one set of Prime? I guess the latter, and I’m sure the teams know, but still… this is how all the arguments start. All those lawyers, all that money, and still an inabilty to clarify clean crystal on a sunny day…

    1. Looking at the line you quoted I can see what you mean – but go back to the regulation in full and it’s clear what is intended:

      “Each nominated driver will be allocated three sets of dry-weather tyres for use during P1 and P2, two of “prime” specification and one of “option” specification. These are the only dry-weather tyres which may be used during these sessions. One set of “prime” specification must be returned to the tyre supplier before the start of P2 and one set of each specification before the start of P3.”

      Each drivers gets two sets of primes and one set of options for use in P1 and P2. One set of primes is handed back after P1, the other two sets (one primes, one options) are handed back after P2. Simple.

      1. Cheers Tim, I totally agree that’s what they intend – and on this subject it doesn’t really matter, after the first practice everyone will know where they are.

        But that’s not what it says. Were it to ‘come to court’ – of course it won’t – a team could say, “By returning one set of Prime after P1, and one set of Option after P2, thus we have fulfilled our obligation under point 25.4a to return one set of each tyre before the start of P3”. And even old Max would have to accept that.

        It seems odd that they include the largely unnecessary line about only 11 sets of tyres to be used, then specify teams will be given 3 sets, then a further 8. Typical sloppy-copy, go to lengths to specify the obvious that 3+8=11, but on the line that matters, leave it vague. All they needed to do was include the word “additionally” after the ‘and’.

        Unless of course we’re both wrong, and they DON’T mean additionally… ;p

        This time it won’t matter a damn, but next time it’ll be a bargeboard or a diffuser specification, and all hell will break loose again…

    2. 4 Prime tyres after Practice 1.

      4 Prime and 4 Option tyres after Practice 2.

      That’s how i took it but I see the loophole you’re talking about, just handing in a set of Options after P2 because then, technically you’ve handed in “one set of each specification before the start of P3”

      They should just appoint a “Common sense delegate” who comes down on people exploiting vague loopholes.

  8. All sensible changes, I would say other than using Q3 tires for the race start. But, of course that rule is there only because all teams have agreed to it and there is no protest by any teams or drivers.
    Also shows that Jean Todt is doing good job. Finally someone more sensible heading FIA.

  9. Drivers who make it through to Q3 will have to start the race on the same tyres they used to set their best qualifying lap.

    Does this mean they can run low-fuel during Q3?

    Maybe we see three stints with different tyres in Q3 to even the wear of the available sets of tyres?

  10. Totally off topic keith, but is there a glitch with the mobile site, or did you just give that up?

  11. What’s going on here? The FIA publishing rule changes that actually make sense?

  12. Can someone clarify this for me

    Say, a driver qualified in Q3 using a set of prime tyres. So, is he now obligated to use *this* particular set of prime tyres or obligated to use any set of prime tyres?

    Because, in that one qualifying lap (+1 in lap and 1 outlap), the car tyres can be severely degraded, isn’t it?

    1. Yes, that particular set…

  13. I think its is terrible to mess with the race itself, P10 starts on used tyres, P11 on fresh. Race fuel quali was a strategic choice affecting quali, this rule will not really affect quali, but will affect the race, its the wrong way round. Also, wet conditions negate the whole thing, so a driver who looks after tyres and settles for say P4 is hugely punished if it rains, his advantage over a driver who burnt up his tyres getting P3 is wiped out cos they start on inters or wets.

    The points are so ridiculous. the gaps from 10 to 1 are:

    Why is P10-P9 only 1 point diff? When P9-P8 is 2, same diff as P6-P5? How can P4-P3 be 3 points, the same as P3-P2. So random.

    These points massively reward a win, dont really reward podiums, and massively reward mediocre finished like P7. Seriously, this will genuinely ruin the championship standings. Esp for constructors’, no point pushing, just make sure you finish top 6 every race. Two fourth places are same as a win! Three P7s are worth a P2 finish!

  14. This rule requiring teams not to change their tyres after Q3 is pathetic. I don’t like the points change too.

  15. Two comments on points: Generally speaking, the larger the points awarded become the more difficult it is for “casual” fans to follow the relationship between the current standings and the possible future, post race, standings. This is not a big deal, but it is a function of using larger numbers.

    More importantly, if the FIA wants to really reward the winner of the race they should have bought into the concept and dropped the 18 points for second and added the required additional place at 3 points for 8th. Making the sequence:


    This would make winning a very big deal, which I believe was the original idea. (I can’t believe the FIA didn’t contact me about this!)

    1. What also might work is adopting Bernie’s winner-takes-all system for the championship (which was stupid under the old points rules), but change the points to 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. With that you would probably avoid someone winning on points but losing on wins, except for very strange circumstances.

    2. I still think the system should have been 20-14-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1
      It only adds 20 and 14 to the current points system (which makes it easy to remember and follow).
      Also, makes P2 in 70% of a win and P3 50%.
      Gaps are: 6-4-2-2-1-1-1-1-1.

      With the 2010 system, though it’s better than the 2009 and the 1st proposal for 2010, with the odd number 1st and 3rd places, being P2 and even number, makes me think something is not right.
      Maybe it’s just my obsession with numbers…

    3. If you look at NASCAR points. Now that is complicated. But everyone scores some points, there is points for leading the race, leading most of the race etc. etc.
      I like that everything that is nice to watch (overtaking) is honored some points.


  16. Points system is stupid, qualifying rules counter-productive, and not requiring the publication of fuel loads just removes part of the incentive for engine manufacturers to create more fuel-efficient engines, which is strange since the FIA are big on the idea.

    Oh well.

    1. Oh, but at least we have 20-second penalties for drive-throughs now. I think that’s closer to the actual time lost crawling down the pit lane? I remember that being the case in the late 90s, often a driver would need a gap of roughly 28s to come out ahead after his pit stop.

  17. One thing I don’t understand about the tyre rule is that in point 25.2 they say ‘No driver may use more than two sets of each specification of dry-weather tyre during P1 and P2’. That’s four sets, isn’t it?
    But 25.4 a) says ‘ Each nominated driver will be allocated three sets of dry-weather tyres for use during P1 and P2…’
    So did they just forget to delete the line in 25.2, or am I missing something?

  18. “A new clause requires drivers to hand some tyres back after FP1, which is no doubt to encourage more teams to run cars in the often-quiet first session.”

    Sorry, quite new to F1: can someone explain this to me? Don´t understand the logic behind this. Why would someone not drive in FP1? And if not, there´s nothing about handing back unused tyres. How does that encourage teams to run in FP1? Help!

    1. Nemo
      The explaination is this. Cars didn’t always run in FP1 because they would be saving new tyres (fresh rubber) for later sessions during the weekend. As they now have to give the tyres back they might as well use them and get some data on set-up tyre wear etc.
      Of course another reason teams don’t run long runs in FP1 is they don;t won’t mileage on the engine and thats why you’ll see most engines only reving to 16,500 during FP1 and FP2.

      1. Gotcha with the “Nemo” thing!
        Thanks for the explanation, dude!

  19. What where are the new rules about shortcuts?!?!?!

    1. They are saving them for next year! I hear all the fans asked for them in the survey!

  20. Aleksandar Serbia
    13th February 2010, 12:40

    How bout the first in Q1 gets to sucker punch the rest?
    That would give a new dimension to the sport!

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