Four-hour time limit among new 2012 rules

2012 F1 season

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2011

The Canadian Grand Prix took more than four hours this year

The FIA will impose a maximum time limit of four hours on Grands Prix as of 2012.

It comes after this year’s Canadian Grand Prix took four hours and four minutes to complete due to heavy rain causing a lengthy suspension. The existing two-hour time limit on races that are not suspended will remain.

The FIA has also confirmed new rules on driving standards. When defending a position, drivers will not be allowed to move back onto the racing line after moving off-line.

This was a cause for debate following the exchange between Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix this year.

Drivers have also been told they can no longer leave the track without a justifiable reason. Some drivers have been cutting chicanes during practice and qualifying sessions to save time and/or fuel – such as Sebastian Vettel did in Korea and Schumacher in Abu Dhabi.

Drivers will be allowed to use all sets of tyres that are allocated to them on the first day of practice if they choose.

During a race suspension, cars which are in the pits when a race is suspended will be allowed to re-join the cars on the grid in the position they were in.

Teams will also be required to have their cars pass all FIA crash tests before they participate in pre-season testing.

The FIA also announced the following changes to the technical rules:

“All engine standard ECU set up and control parameters, which were formerly contained only within a technical directive, are now contained within the relevant parts of the technical regulations.

“The exhaust tailpipes are now strictly regulated in order to ensure that the aerodynamic effect exhaust gases have on the car is kept to an absolute minimum.

“Better marking of in-car emergency switches operated by marshals are now stipulated.

“The side impact structures will now have to be subjected to a further (upward) push-off test.”

More information on the 2012 F1 season.

2012 F1 season


Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Advert | Go Ad-free

79 comments on Four-hour time limit among new 2012 rules

  1. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 7th December 2011, 16:48

    I’m definitely a fan of the new safety car rules. You only have to look at this season to see a few times when we have been denied a close race to the finish because theres a few backmarkers between Vettel and who ever is chasing him!

  2. Alfie (@alfie) said on 7th December 2011, 17:44

    That picture looks like a badly photoshopped attempt at making it look like Webber is on the grass.

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 7th December 2011, 18:05

    The FIA has also confirmed new rules on driving standards. When defending a position, drivers will not be allowed to move back onto the racing line after moving off-line.

    Yeah, @damonsmedley! :P

  4. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 7th December 2011, 18:17

    Maybe it’s been in à round up already, but here’s an intersting article on different possibilities to use exhausts in 2012

  5. sid_prasher (@) said on 7th December 2011, 20:09

    So if the leaving car leaves the racing line to defend, then it will always be the chasing car that has the first right to the racing line?

  6. Riffa said on 7th December 2011, 23:55

    This may stop blocking all together. If someone moves off the race line to block you, now the race line is yours. It also does not specify when the blocker can move back onto the race line.

  7. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 8th December 2011, 0:20

    The FIA has also confirmed new rules on driving standards. When defending a position, drivers will not be allowed to move back onto the racing line after moving off-line.

    That is just dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

  8. TED BELL said on 8th December 2011, 2:28

    The next new rule will be when a driver catches up to the guy ahead of him and if he waves as in saying “hello” the driver in the lead has to let him by….I promised myself I was going to try to stop complaining about some of these rules in F1 but the new passing rule has already set me off. Drivers have to race under rules made by men who don’t race cars.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th December 2011, 7:15

    I wonder …

    When defending a position, drivers will not be allowed to move back onto the racing line after moving off-line.

    How many drivers will respect this rule? Their natural inclination will be to return to the racing line to make the corner. If they are no longer allowed to do this, then I hope the stewards will crack down on it, probably with a few severe penalties early in the season to discourage drivers.

    If they do respect this new rule, then will DRS be necessary in 2012?

  10. The car in front is on the driving line and the line considered to be be the fastest and cleanest route around the circuit. Surely this is also the best line for defense and your would prefer to remain on this line and can unless a “Blue Flag” is shown to you. To move off line line to defend against an attack surely puts you at a disadvantage on the slower dirty line of the circuit and potentially making you the slower car so to move back to the clean line would then make that move a block. If you have the speed stay on the line and let the car behind attack off line, the chances are you will be attacking back at the next turn.
    I guess the rule is good if it can applied fairly, more importantly, quickly.
    I imagine the urge to weave around in front of passing cars is almost a natural urge, I feel the same sometimes on the M25.
    Only an urge though 😁.

  11. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 8th December 2011, 11:58

    This is stupid! I’m glad I won’t be bothering with a SKY subscription now! It’s nothing but a pantomime now, “he’s behind you. Oh no he isn’t, he’s in front of me.” utterly ridiculous!

    As the teams are so interested in saving money, why not do away with DRS altogether?

    Instead, they might as well have a rule that says the pitwall team belonging to the car being pursued must tell their driver to let the chasing car past when it is within one second.

    Handing the attacking driver an advantage with DRS is questionable to many, removing the defending driver’s right to defend is just a nonesense.

    Oh, after you sir, oh no, after you sir! Pathetic!

  12. paolo (@paolo) said on 8th December 2011, 12:31

    Presumably this won’t apply on the first lap?

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th December 2011, 13:05

    During a race suspension, cars which are in the pits when a race is suspended will be allowed to re-join the cars on the grid in the position they were in.

    That would be fantastic to watch unfold if we suddenly get a yellow-to-red flag situation.

  14. 72defender (@72defender) said on 8th December 2011, 22:10

    Hi Guys,

    I’m not technically astute, so apologies in advance if my question sounds silly.

    The 2012 rules state:
    “The exhaust tailpipes are now strictly regulated in order to ensure that the aerodynamic effect exhaust gases have on the car is kept to an absolute minimum.

    Given that exhaust gases have to be emitted from the exhaust pipe which are confined to a specific location. Since there is no mention of directing the heat from said gases, can a team then not redirect the heat elsewhere to help aide aerodynamics?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th December 2011, 22:41

      @72defender, you are perfectly right in expecting the teams to want to find any possible way of guiding exhaust gases/heat somewhere to give an advantage.

      But in F1 the amount of openings you can have for exhaust gases is limited to being exactly 2 openings, and they are now specified where they should end. Its not allowed to “leak” out gases elsewhere.

      To get their heat out, would mean using radiators. I guess it would be possible, but the heat gathered that way does not have the aero energy in it from flowing out / over the car at a high speed. You would have to put in something like an air blower to get that engery back in.
      That would bring us close to something like the infamous fan car, only working the other way!

      So, while its never unthinkable a team would find a way, its getting harder and harder to do so.

      • 72defender (@72defender) said on 9th December 2011, 21:41

        Thanks BasCB!

        Well how about this! What if a team were to develop a type of carbon fiber (or carbon fiber blend with other materials) that dissipates heat more readily. Let’s say that the area of the floor closest to the diffusers would be made of a material that allows heat to permeate more readily through the floor and thus to diffusers?

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th December 2011, 20:23

          @72defender, not sure it would be allowed (dependant on how the regulations are formulated on restrictions on materials), but it sounds like that might offer some potential.

          But you would still have to solve the issue of it making heat go where you want rather than just permeating the bodywork in a large area and getting the boost in it by speeding up the airflow around it.

          But nice creative thinking, if its possible, I am pretty sure a team might find a way to do so soon!

  15. marc wheeler (@marcmp427) said on 10th December 2011, 7:57

    K.I.S.S. solution to current overtake/defend problem….Remove The Mirrors!This refreshing step ‘backwards’ would bring F1 racing back to square one; Karting! Seriously, how nice would it be to watch all current drivers revert to skills developed in karting, relying on their instinct and maintaining supreme ‘forward’ focus at all times. Take a moment and review every controversial overtake attempt and then…remove the mirrors! If nothing else, race steward’s verdicts would be almost instantanous. Those pesky blocking maneuvers…gone. Drivers are free to drive whatever line they choose. Concerns regarding Safety; (my opionion only) the use and application of rearview mirrors on F1 vs passenger cars are polar opposites. ie, F1 drivers guage the exact moment to impede rather than facilitate approaching traffic. Without mirrors, every race is a ‘Virtual Wet Race’ (when mirrors are useless, Jensen/Lewis, Canada) I have a great sense of dread for the ’12 season with the proposed: 1 block no return buffonery.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.