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Formula 1

Major emergency measures to protect F1 revealed

by Matt Beer
3 min read

A raft of major emergency measures have been approved by the FIA to safeguard Formula 1 amid the global coronavirus crisis.

The first eight rounds of the 2020 F1 season have been cancelled or postponed, with other events under serious threat and serious concerns about the financial impact it will have on the championship and the 10 teams.

A number of key changes to FIA regulations have now been approved by the World Motor Sport Council that grant FIA president Jean Todt the power “to take any decisions in connection with the organisation of international competitions for the 2020 season, which may be required as a matter of urgency”.

Several F1-specific changes have already been approved to “react to the crisis and organise a race calendar that best safeguards the commercial value of the championship and contains costs as much as possible”.

At present, all 10 F1 teams are adhering to either the ‘summer’ shutdown – which has been brought forward to March and April – or lockdown measures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The teams had agreed to extend the normal shutdown period to a consecutive 21 days by the end of April and the FIA has incorporated engine manufacturers into the restrictions for the first time as well.

Engine divisions are exempt from these conditions during the traditional summer break but government restrictions had led to Ferrari and Renault temporarily closing their facilities, and Mercedes and Honda adopting certain working practices.

Now it has been agreed that all four engine manufacturers will observe shutdown limitations.

The FIA’s revised sporting regulations also state that if “public health concerns or government restrictions continue beyond the shutdown period initially envisaged, the competitors and the FIA shall consult in good faith to determine whether the shutdown period should be extended and the length of any such extension, in order to ensure equal treatment as between all competitors”.

The WMSC has formally approved the agreement between teams and stakeholders to give permission the FIA and F1 to change the calendar without a vote.

In addition, rule changes can now be made with only 60% support amongst the teams, “to increase flexibility during this difficult period”.

This will apply to a variety of aspects within the regulations, including the race weekend format – which will allow two-day events to be approved quickly if they are deemed necessary when a new schedule is put together.

There has also been a key change to testing allowances, replacing a three-day end-of-season test with an optional one-day test for young drivers.

Aerodynamic development for the new rules, already delayed from 2021 to 2022, has been outlawed as of Saturday March 28.

It had previously been reported that teams will not be allowed to work in this area until February next year.

With major uncertainty over how many races the season will comprise, the restrictions on engine components has also been clarified.

The rules were designed for a full schedule, due to be 22 races, and limited drivers to three internal combustion engines, MGU-Hs, MGU-Ks and turbochargers, and two energy stores and control electronics.

If there are 14 or fewer races, the limit will be set at two of everything.

If the number of races drops to 11 or less, only one energy store, control electronics and MGU-K will be allowed.

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