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
etc…
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.

Practice

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.

Safety

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

Tyres

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).

Gearboxes

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.

Fuel

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.

Curfew

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. Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 12th March 2014, 15:33

    Just what I needed pre-2014 season. Cheers Keith

  2. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 12th March 2014, 16:15

    That’s a very nice video from Red Bull, something interesting that I noticed is that the Renault engine has the turbo motor/generator on top of the engine, whereas the Mercedes (from the round up video) has it in between the two turbines, go figure which solution is better but is nice to see some variety.

  3. jh1806 (@jh1806) said on 12th March 2014, 16:20

    @keithcollantine
    If I recall correctly, if a driver gets banned for hitting 12 penalty points their tally is reset to 5 (or is it 7?) points after their ban, as an incentive to behave better.

  4. sato113 (@sato113) said on 12th March 2014, 16:20

    Hang on, what about the rule about starting the race on your Q2 tyre? or didn’t that make it through in time?

  5. SeaHorse (@seahorse) said on 12th March 2014, 17:02

    There are some positive changes as well as some negative changes (I’m referring to you Double Points) in the rules. Though F1 has brought back in-season testing up to 8 days per team, couldn’t F1 have done much better in the preseason testing? I mean, look at GP2 series where I see each team running both their cars at the same time. A similar provision in F1’s preseason testing obviously would have doubled (theoretically at least) the mileage for each team, resulting in better understanding of the engines and other aspects of the cars, which essentially at the same time would not have increased the costs of each team by much.

    Apart from this, my thoughts over few of the changes are:
    1. On five-second penalty, it would be interesting to see how the FIA would ensure that the entire five seconds are served without the team working upon the car and how quickly the teams would react after five seconds have elapsed?

    2. The engine change penalty says ‘a sixth of any remaining element is used for the first time results in five-place grid drop’. So, imagining that at the 17th round of the season, driver X uses a sixth element of the power unit for the first time and collects a ten place grid penalty and then at the 18th round of the season, the same driver X uses sixth of all the remaining elements of the power unit. Would this cost driver X twenty five place grid penalty (5 place x 5 elements) or would it still be five-place grid penalty?

    3. With the FIA awarding double points at the super-bonus-double-points-season-finale-bonanza I am amazed why FIA didn’t consider doubling the penalty system for the same race? I mean awarding ten-second penalty in place of five-second penalty, ten grid drops in place of five grid drops, double the penalty points for each type of offence etc. would have really spiced up the show, wouldn’t it?

    Btw, that Red Bull video is really good. Well done Red Bull!

    • OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 12th March 2014, 18:21

      @seahorse On the five second penalty, I feel many drivers might take a chance of it getting added in their time, depending at what time the penalty is given… But I welcome the options given…

    • Oscar (@oscar) said on 13th March 2014, 15:02

      I think:
      1. Aerial cam+chronometer+Can´t touch this!
      2. Yes, since 28.4 c) states that “Penalties will be applied according to the following table and will be cumulative” . In that case, I think a complete power unit will be changed, starting from the pit lane, since getting a 25 place grid penalty would send you to the last spot, and you still will be owing 3 places for the next race(R19-Double points) assuming you did pole. Another example: You qualified P10, start on P22, and you still have to serve a 13 place grid penalty in the last race.
      More than ever, reliability will beat performance.
      3. Sounds interesting. And I don´t know why, but I guess Crashtor Maldonado wouldn´t be quite happy with that. :p

  6. Prasad P said on 13th March 2014, 7:18

    Sorry, I really didn’t understand following -
    “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.”
    Statement sounds contradictory.

  7. Juzh (@juzh) said on 13th March 2014, 12:10

    WHY OH WHY is everyone still on the “2 MJ PER LAP” wagon????? This is so completely false it’s starting to irritate me quite a bit. 2MJ per lap is only the limit of what MGU-K can send to ES. Then there’s this thing called, wait for it………. MGU-H, with potentially UNLIMITED supply of power to the MGU-K (or ES). We will actually see more than 4MJ per lap being used in quali laps because of this. I would of expected from a decent site like F1fanatic to be aware of this and provide explanation to users who don’t visit more technical oriented sites.
    30 seconds is also a fictional number, made from 120kw max power and 4MJ max energy store limit. It does not take mgu-h into account by any means.

  8. Chad (@chaddy) said on 13th March 2014, 17:53

    Why would anyone serve the 5 seconds in the pits instead of having it added on to end time? Is it just a matter of whether another pit is needed before the race is over? Five seconds in a pit could really be 5.25 seconds, for example, and with a time penalty you will be 5 seconds ahead in the race and so have more control over the race.

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