OCTOBER 28, 2002
The F1 Commission in detail
The FIA Formula 1 Commission met in London on Monday and voted through a series of changes which it hopes will reinvigorate Formula 1 racing. The big changes come in qualifying with the vote for qualifying to return to Friday and Saturday. There will now be two one hour sessions (between 1300 and 1400) but qualifying will consist of only one flying lap per car per session with the cars running one at a time. On Friday the running order will be established using the points order of the World Championship (the order of the previous year's championship being used at the first race). On Saturday the running order will be determined by the times set on Friday with the slowest car going first and the fastest running last.
The new qualifying procedures will not change the F1 timetable at races with the first sessions on Friday starting at 1100 and on Saturday the morning sessions running from 0900-0945 and 1015-1100. There may however be an extra session on Friday morning (between 0900 and 1100) during which teams which agree to limit testing to 10 car-days between March 1 and November 1 will be allowed to run their cars and spares (and even test drivers) so that they can get the machinery dialled into the race track. In order for this to happen, however, at least three teams must by December 15 this year undertake to the FIA to join the scheme. As this will be a major cut in costs with a big advantage to be gained at the individual events, several teams are expected to agree.
In order to help the smaller teams more the World Championship points scale has been modified with points being awarded down to eighth place. A victory will still be worth 10 points but there will be additional points for second place (8 points rather than six), six points for third rather than four and then five for fourth, four for fifth, three for sixth, two for seventh and one for eighth. This will mean that the teams that regularly finish seventh and eighth can pick up points and that will help them to sell sponsorship on the cars.
The F1 Commission has also ruled that any team orders which interfere with the race result are prohibited. This is a wide-sweeping generalisation but that means that it can be applied to different circumstances and ignored if any manipulation is not obvious. Proving such a case is very hard to do and so this will presumably only be used if there is an obvious change of order such as happened in Austria earlier this year.
Probably the most important change is that each team will be allowed to use two different dry tyres at each event, (previously each tyre company could supply only the same two dry tyres to each of its teams). This will mean that tyre companies may now design tyres for specific cars which means that when a tyre company works closely with one team, other teams are not handicapped because their tyre companies have to make compromises. The number of sets of tyres per weekend will not change.
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