The Basics

There are important changes to the Formula 1 rules and regulations in 2008.

Tyres: In 2008 there will be one official supplier - Bridgestone. In previous years there was the possibility of a rival company but between 2008 and 2010 Bridgestone is the official tyre supplier of F1.

Engines: Cars are now fitted with a standard electronic control unit (ECU). These are manufactured by McLaren Electronic Systems although they are branded as Microsoft. The engines are limited to 19000rpm and there is a complete freeze on engine development for the season. The changes significantly reduce the use of electronics for the driver and means that electronic traction-control and other driver aids (notably automatic engine-barking) have been outlawed. This should mean that the cars should be a lot more exciting to watch. It is worth noting that the first unscheduled engine change of the year for each car will not lead to the usual 10 place grid penalty.

Gearboxes: Teams must now use gearboxes that last for four races. If a change is necessary they will be given a penalty of five grid positions.

Cockpits: The sides of the cockpit have been altered to provide more protection for the drivers

Qualifying: The qualifying procedures have been altered slightly: the first (Q1) session will be lengthened from 15 to 20 minutes. The slowest seven cars will be eliminated and will be given grid positions 16 to 22. These may be changed later if other cars receive penalties for engine/gearbox changes. The second (Q2) session will run for 15 minutes with the 15 cars remaining starting from scratch. The slowest five cars and then eliminated and take grid positions 11 to 15. The final (Q3) session has been reduced to 10 minutes to get rid of the the environmentally-unfriendly "fuel burn" segment of qualifying. The fastest car in the session takes pole position and the others line up behind in positions 2 to 10. Cars in Q3 will no longer be allowed to add fuel to make up for what has been used.

Fuel: The cars must have at least 5.75% of biological materials in the fuel.