The 2014 F1 rules changes at-a-glance

2014 F1 season preview

The biggest rules change in a generation is about to hit Formula One.

The new engine formula has attracted widespread debate since it was agreed over two-and-a-half years ago. Now we are finally about to see what F1’s new power units can do.

But the rules changes don’t stop there. There are other innovations in the technical rules and some important new changes regarding driver penalties, safety – and of course the deeply controversial double points plan.

Here’s a quick guide to all of the most significant rules changes for the new season.

Sporting rules

Penalty points

Drivers who break the rules may now be given penalty points on their superlicence by the race stewards. If a driver reaches a total of 12 points they will be banned for one race, after which their 12 points are deducted and they can return. Otherwise any points incurred expire after 12 months.

Five-second penalties

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014The stewards may now impose five-second time penalties on drivers. These are served during their pit stops, during which time the mechanics may not touch the driver’s car. If a driver does not make a further pit stop after the penalty is issued then five seconds are added to their race time instead.

This rule is exempt from the requirement that drivers must serve penalties within three laps of them being issued.

Engine change penalties

Each driver may only use five complete power units throughout the 19 race weekends. Last year they were allowed to use eight engines. Therefore this year each power unit will do three or four races, whereas last year they were doing two or three. Unlike gearboxes they do not have to be used in consecutive events.

The power units are defined as six separate elements – the internal combustion engine (ICE), the motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), the motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE). Penalties are applied once a driver uses more than five of any of these as follows:

A sixth element is used for the first time Ten-place grid drop
A sixth of any remaining element is used for the first time Five-place grid drop
A seventh element is used for the first time Ten-place grid drop
A seventh of any remaining element is used for the first time Five-place grid drop
A complete power unit is replace Pit-lane start

If a driver qualifies low enough that they cannot be moved back all of the places assigned by a grid drop, the remainder of the penalty will carry over to the next race, but not any further races.

Other penalties

Drivers may now receive grid drops if they are released from the pits in an unsafe fashion during practice (which includes qualifying). Unsafe releases during the race can be punished by the usual range of penalties including the new five-second penalty, or by a grid drop at the next race if the driver retires.

In a minor change, teams may not appeal penalties issued during the final three laps of a race (previously five).

Driving standards

Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Singapore, 2013The rules regarding drivers going off-track and gaining an advantage have been revised. They now state a driver may not gain a “lasting” advantage by going off the track. They also allow for the race director to permit a driver to relinquish any advantage they may have gained by going off the track.

Double points

In a move which has been widely criticised, double points will be awarded for the final race of the year:

Round 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
1-18 25 18 15 12 10 8 6 4 2 1
19 50 36 30 24 20 16 12 8 4 2

Pole position trophy

A special award will be given to the driver who sets the most pole positions during the season. If two or more drivers have the same number of poles the number of seconds will be used as a tie-breaker, and so on.


James Calado, Force India, Interlagos, 2013Teams may now use up to four drivers during first and season practice (previously two).

Permanent numbers

Drivers have been given a choice of which number their wish to use for the duration of their career. The world champion is the only driver who can use the number one, if they choose to. Their choice of number must be displayed on their crash helmet.

Because of this change, a previous rule stating that drivers who did not set a time in qualifying could be assigned grid positions based on their car number has been scrapped. They will now be arranged by the order they occupied in previous qualifying sessions or final practice.

Testing and development

Robin Frijns, Caterham, Jerez, 2014Teams’ running outside of race weekends is now defined in four different ways by the regulations: Testing of Current Cars (TCC), Testing of Previous Cars (TPC), Testing of Historic Cars and Promotional Events.

Eight in-season test days have been permitted (there were none last year), of which each team must give one over to the official tyre supplier for tyre testing.

During tests cars being driven by drivers who do not have superlicences must use green rear lights instead of red ones.

The two-week August factory shut-down which teams have observed in previous seasons is now part of the regulations. The extent of wind tunnel and CFD testing has also been restricted.


Team personnel who work on cars during pit stops are required to wear “head protection”.


Tyres, Hockenheimring, 2012Each driver now has an extra set of the “prime” specification tyre (12 for the weekend instead of 11) which may only be used during the first 30 minutes of the first practice session and returned before the second practice session.

Unanimous agreement among the teams is no longer required to permit a change in tyre specification during the season. The agreement of 70% of teams is needed (i.e. at least eight of the current eleven).


Drivers must use the same gearboxes for six consecutive races (up from five last year). The rules on which gearbox parts teams may replace have been temporarily relaxed for 2014 only.


Each driver may only use 100kg of fuel “from the time at which the signal to start the race is given to the time each car crosses the line after the end-of-race signal has been given”.

Weight checks

Drivers may be stopped to have their cars weighed during the first three practice sessions as well as during Q1 ad Q2.

Anyone who fails to go to the weigh bridge when indicated to do so will receive a reprimand if the car is immediately brought to the weigh bridge. If the team fails to do so the driver will be required to start the race from the back of the grid.


Teams are allowed to break the curfew restrictions on working on their cars six times per year. This is up from two last year, but the change is intended for this season only.

Post-race celebrations

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2013Drivers are now allowed to perform ‘post-race celebrations’ providing they are done so without endangering anyone, do not infringe the legality of the car and do not hold up the podium ceremony.

Starting and stopping

Drivers exiting or passing through the pits in the 30 minute period before the start of the race must do so “at a constant speed and with constant throttle”, i.e. not performing any burn-outs.

An addition to the rules on stopping a car during a race states: “Under no circumstances may a driver stop his car on the track without justifiable reason.”

Update: Qualifying

Shortly after this article was published the FIA confirmed a late change to the qualifying rules. Drivers who reach Q3 will now have to start the race on the tyres they used in Q2.

Full details here:

Technical rules

The huge changes to the technical rules have been covered here previously during the two-year build-up to their introduction. The changes to the cars are summarised below and illustrated in the video above.

Renault energy F1, 2014 F1 engine

  • Engines must now be 1.6-litre V6s (limited to 15,000rpm) with a single turbocharger
  • Electrical energy can be harvested under braking (MGU-K) and through the heat from the turbocharger (MGU-H)
  • This energy is stored in a battery (called the energy store) and drivers can use 2MJ per lap (up from 0.4MJ last year), which provides 30 second’s worth of additional power per lap
  • Engines may not exceed a fuel consumption rate of 100kg per hour
  • Engines must have a single exhaust, the exit of which has been defined at a position under the rear wing designed to prevent teams gaining a performance advantage by blowing hot air into the diffuser
  • Gearboxes now have eight gears, up from seven. The ratios must be fixed at the start of the season, but for this first year under the new rules teams will be allowed to change them once during the year.
  • Teams may now run brake-by-wire systems to help drivers cope with the complex demands on the brakes systems due to the new energy recovery systems
  • The minimum weight has increased from 642kg to 691kg, largely because of the increased weight of the new engines
  • The front wing has been reduced in width from 1800mm to 1650mm
  • The maximum height of noses has been lowered, a consequence of which has been the unusual design of the front of this year’s cars
  • The gap in the rear wing formed when DRS is activated has been widened to 65mm. Rather than increasing the overall power of DRS this is expected to make up for the anticipated weakening in its power due to the reduced downforce of this year’s cars
  • The lower part of the rear wing, known as the ‘beam wing’ has been banned

Images © Pirelli/LAT, Williams/LAT, Force India, F1 Fanatic, Lotus/LAT, Red Bull/Getty

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66 comments on The 2014 F1 rules changes at-a-glance

  1. The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 12th March 2014, 10:04

    All of this is just teasing me… Bring on Sunday (and Friday and Saturday)!!!

  2. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 12th March 2014, 10:14

    All looks hugely exciting!

    One thing that really bothered me was the ‘we can have more aggressive DRS attacks’.

    Right, like they weren’t ‘aggressive’ enough… Worrying.

    Sure we’ll continue to see mile long DRS zones, too, despite being ‘re-evaluated’ every year.

  3. Ross said on 12th March 2014, 10:27

    Everytime I see the RB10 I like it more. Personally can’t stand the Merc… I also just want it to be Sunday already.

    • matthew (@mat-k) said on 12th March 2014, 10:31

      there almost the same car bar the nose.

      front wings are going to be around about the same as last year, side post are a standard arangment down the grid, and then the bottle necking is almost identical. then the rear wing are almost bang on apart from the end plates and cooling vents out the back,

      so really its just the nose, which i think will give a good gp2 feeling this year. were we dont have run away cheating redbulls

      • Ross said on 12th March 2014, 23:53

        In the way that the whole field has 4 wheels each, a front and rear wing and a little helmet in the middle, then yes they all look exactly the same.

        Cheats are usually reprimanded.

    • OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 12th March 2014, 18:23

      RB10 is the best looking car out there no doubt, but Merc supporters are not going to agree… It baffles me as to how the Merc looks good…

  4. Fsoud (@udm7) said on 12th March 2014, 10:30

    Extra tyres for…30 minutes?
    Even when running out of tyres is no cause for worry, half the teams (Ferrari,RB, Mercedes those guys at the top) Dont even emerge. Some dont do a lap.
    With Relaibility being a big issue, do they expect teams to cut down on their opening lap checks on fridays to save tyres? Wasted rubber.

    • W-K (@w-k) said on 12th March 2014, 11:56

      The extra tyres are to get the top teams to do their part in track cleaning.

      This year until RBR and Lotus get sorted, they will have to do their running on the Fridays, as they cannot chance running long periods on Sat in FP3, because there isn’t enough time before Qualifying to fix the broken cars.

  5. bravo computer department excellent CGi really stunning renders on those cars and the new rules very well explained.

  6. Verstappen GP (@verstappengp) said on 12th March 2014, 11:33

    What is the green light on the back for? I thought it was just a red light for when it rains.

  7. W-K (@w-k) said on 12th March 2014, 11:45

    How is the fuel usage to be monitored?

    I assume that it implies that the car has to be weighed prior to the start of the race, if not how do they know how much fuel is in the car at the start.

    • Juzh (@juzh) said on 12th March 2014, 12:13

      They have an FIA approved sensor onboard which sends live information on fuel usage to the teams and fia. FIA will know instantly if a car has gone above 100kg used. (100 kg is only for the race itself, while recon laps and parade lap is not counted into this number)

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th March 2014, 15:10

      pretty sure the cpu will measure it.

    • OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 12th March 2014, 18:13

      They can carry any amount of fuel, but they cannot use more than 100kg from lights out till they cross the finish line… its monitored by some gizmo through the machine from where fuel flows…

  8. Rastura (@rastura) said on 12th March 2014, 12:01

    Txs for update
    Good read

  9. OOliver said on 12th March 2014, 12:06

    The PU or individual component penalties are just way too complicated. Considering how important each individual component is to the performance of the PU, and the fact that they are essentially untested in live conditions, I think these penalties are just too draconian and confusing, besides, a ten place grid drop might be inconsequential compared to having fresh batteries and maximum performance during a race.

  10. Dmitry (@albedo) said on 12th March 2014, 12:11

    Don’t see any point in the fixed gear ratios…reliability? reducing costs?

  11. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 12th March 2014, 13:42

    Red Bull have been doing these animated videos for years and this is another brilliant one!

  12. Can’t wait, unfortunately can’t go to see it live this year. An F1 party will have to do though. Hoping for a Mercedes win and one of the few races we get to see at a decent time.

  13. vjanik said on 12th March 2014, 13:48

    extra tyres will not mean more running. i reckon this year teams will be more worried about engine life than running out of tyres. i suspect teams to run very little on fridays in the latter parts of the season. 5 engines sounds like a tough challange and given the bad reliability. i hope im wrong but later on in the season there wont be much running in practice. even if you give them unlimited tyres.

  14. Oscar (@oscar) said on 12th March 2014, 14:26

    Tougher limitations on engines and gearboxes would have been acceptable with “frozen” engines, but not with the new ones, especially knowing reliability issues will play a major role…

  15. Glenn (@glennb) said on 12th March 2014, 14:41

    Thinking back to pre-season testing this year and the amount of engine/transmission/turbo failures, I can’t see 5 engines being enough to get the teams back to europe even. Add to that the excessive longevity expectations of the transmissions and we could possibly see all teams taking penalties very early in the season.

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