Honda website
Honda website

DECEMBER 22, 2006

The FIA publishes 2009 rules

The FIA has made no announcement about its plans for the Formula 1 technical regulations for 2009 but if you take a look on the FIA website you will find that a copy of the regulations has now popped up and it features some interesting changes. These have been agreed by the teams, and voted through by the World Council in the last few days. Many of the rules refer to the new Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS).

There is a significent change in terms of how the technical regulations are formulated with a new clause stating that after 2008 the current Concorde Agreement can no longer be used ot establish rule changes and so "changes to these or to the sporting regulations which, in the opinion of the FIA Technical Department, involve significant change to the design of a car, will be announced no later than 30 June to come into force for the next season but one. Changes needed for safety reasons may be introduced with shorter notice in consultation with the currently competing teams".

The subject of new innovation is also covered with the FIA restricting the use of new systems which are not specifically covered by the rules. These will "only be admitted the end of the championship during which it is introduced". After that the F1 Commission will be asked the review the technology and decide if it adds value to F1. If not it will be prohibited and the team will be required to publish details of the system.

There are also significant changes in the size of the cars with the maximum width increasing from 1800mm to 2000mm and the minimum width being no less than 1980mm, which more or less standardises the cars. Wheels will increase from a maximum of 355mm at the front to 365mm and at the rear from 380mm to 460mm, putting more rubber on the road.

There are changes to the bodywork rules with an increase in the allowed width between the wheels. It is significant that the maximum bodywork behind the rear wheels is being increased to 2000mm up from the current 1000mm. This will mean that there is more scope for creating downforce and ground effect. There are complicated new rules about the way in which rear wings can operate with new measuring techniques and insistence on rigid supports. The weight remains much the same, moving from 600kg to 605kg. The KERS devices are the only place where enregy can be stored and these must never have more than 60kW and energy released must not exceed 400kJ in the course of one lap.

There will be FIA-designated electronic control units and these may only use software that is FIA-approved. In addition to that competitors must have a means of removing all fuel from the car. Voic eradio communication must be open and accessible to both the FIA and, where appropriate, broadcasters. The cockpits will be fitted with red, blue and yellow lights to give drivers information concerning track signals or conditions. There will also be a warning light that will be linked to the FIA accident data recorder which will indicate the severity of an accident so that rescue crews will be immediately aware if the impact was a dangerous one.