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F1: New Season, New Rules

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ahh... the F1 2006 season starts this weekend! There will be a few changes from the 2005 season. Here's the lowdown of those changes:

Engine
* Engine capacity has been reduced for 2006 from 3-litre V10 units to 2.4-litre V8s.
* The '2.4-litre' refers to the maximum engine capacity which must not exceed 2400 cc.
* The 'V8' refers to the 90º V configuration of the engine, while the '8' is the number of cylinders the engine has.
* The new V8 engine has been introduced in the hope of cutting costs and improving safety - expect to add around three to five seconds to lap times at most circuits.
* Engines must also last two entire race weekends - the driver will earn a ten-grid slot penalty for a premature engine change. Bad news for Kimi Raikkonen, then...
* And did you know: Scuderia Toro Rosso is the only team that won't be using V8s this season - the team has been permitted to use V10 engines with rev limiters fitted that will reduce the engine's speed

Tyre
* Tyre changes during grands prix will return in 2006, ending the one-season ban on changing rubber in pit stops.
* Teams may use as many as seven sets of tyres per driver during a grand prix weekend. (One consequence of this is that if say, Kimi and Fernando are going head-to-head in a grand prix, the driver who has kept a final set of new tyres in reserve for his final pit-stop could gain a decisive advantage - Ed)
* And did you know: 2006 will be the final season that Michelin compete in Formula One as they've opted to withdraw following the FIA's decision to change the tyre rules.

Qualifying
* A new three-part qualifying system will be used in 2006, replacing the old one-lap shoot-out.
* Qualifying will last one hour and drivers may put in as many laps as they want to during any of the three sessions as long as they haven't been eliminated.
* The first session, which is 15-minutes long, will see all 22 drivers on track, each carrying a low fuel load. At the end of the session, the slowest six drivers will be eliminated and they will make up the final quarter of Sunday's grid filling the positions P17 to P22 in order of fastest to slowest.
* A five-minute break will follow.
* Following the break, the second 15-minute session will begin and the remaining 16 drivers will return to the track, once again carrying a low fuel load. At the end of the session, the slowest six will be eliminated and they will make up positions P11 to P16 on Sunday's grid in order of fastest to slowest.
* A five-minute break will follow.
* The final session, which is 20-minutes long, will see the final ten drivers battle for pole position. However, in this session they will have to carry the same amount of fuel that they plan to start the race with. The fastest driver will take P1, while the slowest will occupy P10 on the grid.
* And did you know: If you find this new format confusing don't worry, you're not alone. Max Mosley also doesn't understand it!

Ta! Can't wait!
posted by Ivan, 7:23 pm

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