Here’s a summary of some of the rule changes made for this season.
Cars will face a 10 place penalty for each engine change. Previously, a car could change engines twice before a race, and only lose 10 places. Now, that will cost 20 places.
T-bar identification. The number one driver of each team will sport a red T-bar camera housing (above the air intake), and the number two will sport a yellow T-bar.
Safety car = pit lane closure. When the safety car is deployed, the pit lane will be closed until all cars are assembled behind the safety car. Only then will Stewards declare the pit lane open. Penalty for transgression, 10 seconds. This does not apply for cars that only change to wet or extreme weather tyres (i.e. no fuel). I’ve yet to work out why this rule has been introduced.
Lapped drivers may unlap during safety car laps. I think this is a crazy rule change, and one made to increase the spectacle of F1, polluting the purity of the race. Before the safety car comes in, lapped cars that are between leading-lap cars will be able to pass those lead-lap cars and the safety car, and rejoin the train at the back, effectively unlapping themselves. In my opinion, this will lead to safety car deployment just to bring cars back into play for entertainment value, in other words, the best cars may no longer win.
I can just imagine a driver having the race of his life, one lap ahead of his competitors, only to have one car of a rival team stop at a dangerous point. The safety car is deployed, and the track cleared. Before coming in, the signal goes out that lapped cars may pass and rejoin at the back of the snake, putting all cars on the same lap as the leader. Blatantly unfair on the leading drivers. Bringing F1 down to the level of other impure ‘sports’ where ‘competition yellows’ are thrown a few laps before the end to close up the field.
After the infamous Shumi Monaco parking incident, the clerk of the course may extend the quali session if a car blocks the circuit.
Only a few days to go!