OCTOBER 19, 1998
Other World Council business
THE FIA World Motor Sport Council voted through a range of modifications to the Formula 1 regulations including new tire rules, a restriction on the number of cars allowed to take part in the World Championship, a clarification of the situation relating to the imposition of time penalties by FIA stewards at Grands Prix, a new fuel regulation and a variety of safety measures including the fitting of steel cables to F1 cars to increase the likelihood that wheels will remain attached to the cars during accidents.
The new tire rules reduces the number of sets of tires that a driver has for each race weekend from 10 to eight in an effort to reduce production problems for Bridgestone, the sport's sole tire supplier in 1999. It has also been agreed that the 1999 tires will have an extra groove to reduce grip a little more, and that the width of front tires will be restricted to 270mm. The FIA has also agreed that every year in the future it will determine the specification of tires for the following season by SeptemberÊ1.
The restriction of entries in the World Championship is in line with the new Concorde Agreement which allows for 12 teams (24 cars). Anyone wishing to enter the sport will, therefore, have to buy an existing operation. While this could be construed as a restrictive practice there is a very sound argument that it is necessary on the grounds of safety.
The problems over time penalties at Silverstone have resulted in new rules which fix stop-go penalties at 10secs. If the penalty is imposed in the last five laps of a race 25secs will be added to the race time of the driver concerned. As soon as an incident is under investigation by the stewards a message to that effect will appear on the time monitors.
The new fuel regulation which has been agreed by the fuel companies in F1 will result in much cleaner fuel with reductions in both sulphur and benzine levels. The new fuel is believed to be in line with a planned new European Union fuel standard.
The new safety measures include an increase in the height of the main roll hoop above the driver's head from 50mm to 70mm; oil breathers venting into the air intake rather than spraying oil onto the track; a pressure relief valve in the cooling system of each car (although listed as a safety feature this is designed to stop engine-manufacturers pressurizing cooling systems to get more horsepower). In addition there are new rules related to seats, which must now be removable with the driver in it, and an increase in the speed of the nose impact test.
The World Council also voted through the rule that teams must run both cars in liveries which are "substantially" the same.