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F1 2019
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F1 2019

F1's 2019 rules changes you may have missed

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F1's 2019 rules changes you may have missed
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Jan 30, 2019, 9:48 AM

Formula 1 fans are waiting for the new-look cars to emerge next month, with an aerodynamic rules revamp set to deliver very different front and rear wings.

The push to get rid of the 'outwash' effect of the old wing designs, and help reduce the turbulence for following cars, is aimed at trying to help improve the chances of overtaking.

There are also much talked about new tyre rules aimed at simplifying how the compound selections are labelled on grand prix weekends.

But it is not just the aerodynamic and tyres rules that are changing for 2019, because the FIA has approved a whole raft of sporting changes too that will make a difference to grand prix weekends.

Here we run through the other 2019 rules changes that have been overshadowed by aero tweaks.

Fuel limit up

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Photo by: Joe Portlock / LAT Images

Formula 1's turbo hybrid era was based around delivering more fuel efficient engines, but that had the unintended consequence of forcing drivers into economy runs in races.

As teams battled to make improvements, the reality of the higher drag cars from 2017 led to some compromise with the original 100kg limit for a race being raised to 105kg.

That still was not enough to allow proper flat-out racing for everyone though, so it was agreed that for 2019 a further five kilos will be allowed.

But whether or not teams will fill their cars to the maximum 110kg, or prefer to go lean on a lighter fuel load, remains to be seen...

Help for heavy drivers

Race retiree Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team

Race retiree Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

With the total weight of cars having long included the driver, it has been clear that teams have been helped if the man in the cockpit is as light as possible.

And even if the driver is not light enough to actually bring things under the minimum weight limit, which is 743kg this year, what a lightweight can bring is the freedom for teams to use ballast in the right areas to help car performance.

For the start of 2019 there is a change that should help the heavier drivers lose some of their disadvantage.

From now on, the weight of the driver and his seat will be measured at the start of the campaign and must hit a minimum of 80kg. Any driver under that limit will have to have ballast fitted inside the cockpit area.

Grid penalty tweaks

Grid

Grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

One of the most disappointing aspects of the new turbo hybrid rules has been the wave of grid penalties for drivers that need new power unit parts.

Some farcical events where grid penalties racked up into the 100s, and fans were left confused about the start order, prompted F1 chiefs to react.

A move last year to simply put drivers to the back of the grid if they faced more than a 15-place drop, rather than a set number of positions, improved things a bit.

But a rule that said the order for drivers starting at the back would be effectively determined by who left the pits first led to some strange situations where a queue would form up on Friday morning to be the first man out.

From the start of this year, those drivers starting at the back will be placed in the order they qualify – which means that even those relegated to the back will be forced to take part as much as possible on a Saturday afternoon.

The FIA has also clarified that any driver who is outside the 107% rule and is allowed to start will be placed at the back regardless, behind any drivers with power unit penalties.

New oil burn limits

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ leads Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H at the start of the race

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ leads Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H at the start of the race

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

Formula 1's fight among the car manufacturers has pushed thermal efficiency levels of the current engines to pretty impressive numbers.

But such was the competitive fight to be best with the new turbo hybrid engines that grey areas were exploited to the max – and this included burning oil to help boost power.

The FIA duly stepped in to limit how much teams were allowed to burn, and some further restrictions have also been put in place for 2019.

From the start of this season, a new clause in the regulations stipulates that teams must keep their auxiliary oil tanks empty throughout qualifying.

This will prevent any efforts by teams to burn extra oil for a 'party mode' boost during the crucial battle for the top grid slots.

Overtaking after safety car

Safety Car leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14

Safety Car leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / LAT Images

Formula 1 drivers need all the help they can get to make overtaking opportunities, and one good chance comes after safety car restarts.

In the past, once the safety car had peeled into the pits, drivers were allowed to overtake at the first safety car line – which was often situated before the start-finish line.

That rule is now changing for 2019, with no overtaking now allowed until drivers have passed the start-finish line following the restart.

This will also coincide with a change in the flag procedures, with the old practice of waving green flags all around the track once the safety car had entered the pits being abandoned. From 2019, the green flags will only begin at the start-finish line.

Trainees to get experience

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF71H and Ferrari mechanics

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF71H and Ferrari mechanics

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

In a bid to cut down costs, for several years now teams have been limited in the number of personnel they can bring to a race track to help operate the car.

While the move has worked well, one of the unintended consequence has been a reluctance from teams to use weekends to help bring on young staff, because they could not afford to lose one of their valuable team slots.

For 2019, there will be fresh opportunities for juniors to get hands-on experience at a race track, as an exemption to the 60 team personnel limit has been agreed.

During the year, team will be allowed six individual exemptions for trainee personnel to be used alongside their regular 60 – although no individual may attend more than two grands prix in this capacity.

Teams scrutineer themselves

Mercedes AMG F1 mechanics push the car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 down pitlane

Mercedes AMG F1 mechanics push the car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 down pitlane

Photo by: Sutton Images

Formula 1 teams often found themselves queuing up in the pitlane on Thursdays so they could get their cars officially scrutineered ahead of the first free practice day.

That will all change for 2019, with the FIA having tweaked the rule book to effectively leave teams to scrutineer themselves.

Rather than being checked by the FIA, teams now have to submit a declaration the day before (no later than 18 hours before the start of first practice) to state that their car fully complies with the regulations. Teams that miss the deadline will not be allowed to compete.

Even though teams are scrutineering themselves, this does not mean that there is any more temptation to try to sneak through some illegal parts into the race weekends.

The FIA still has the right to inspect cars at any point over the F1 weekend, and competitors will face the usual post-session checks as before to ensure that competitors fully comply with the rules.

Pitlane start formation laps

 The green light opens the pit lane

The green light opens the pit lane

Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images

Under certain circumstances (like needing to make a major car change under qualifying parc ferme conditions), drivers have to start from the pitlane.

Under the old rules, there would be no chance to get a last-minute feel of track conditions before the first lap – as they were not allowed to join in with the formation lap.

For 2019 that has changed, with cars starting from the pit lane allowed to run at the back of the formation lap once the last car starting the grid has passed the pit exit.

At the end of the formation lap, this car will need to enter the pits again and take the start from the end of the pit lane as before.

New racewear

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images

Formula 1 drivers will face two new rules when it comes to what they wear in the cars in 2019.

The wearing of biometric gloves (which drivers have already been using) has been formally made mandatory by the new sporting regulations.

The most significant change is with the crash helmet though, as a new safety standard is being introduced to offer better head protection.

Building on the lessons from Felipe Massa's crash at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, new forehead covering dimensions with a smaller visor opening allow for greater ballistics protections and better energy absorption in the area that had previously been protected by a Zylon panel.

Racing to the chequered light

Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37 takes the chequered flag waved by Winnnie Harlow (CDN)

Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37 takes the chequered flag waved by Winnnie Harlow (CDN)

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

Last year's chequered flag bungle at the Canadian Grand Prix, when model Winnie Harlow waved it a lap early, has prompted a new approach for ending races in 2019.

Rather than the traditional flag being defined as the only official way to end the race, a new chequered flag light signal will now be shown at the finish line once the full race distance has been completed.

 

 

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble