2012 Red Bull Racing Formula One race carEnlarge Photo
As the pinnacle of the motorsports world, such a progressive view is to be expected for Formula One; after all, its legions of fans expect to see the fastest cars, driven by the most capable drivers, on the most challenging circuits.
Every new season brings with it changes to the Formula One sporting and technical regulations, and 2013 is no different. Perhaps the most significant sporting rule change involves the Drag Reduction System (DRS), designed to permit easier overtaking on designated passing zones.
In previous years, drivers were free to test and deploy the DRS at any time during practice or qualifying sessions. For 2013, use of the DRS will be restricted to the same DRS Zones used during the actual race, which the FIA believes will improve safety during practice and qualifying sessions.
The next change involves the team personnel curfew, which has been stretched from six to eight hours on the Thursday night preceding a race. The number of exceptions granted each team throughout the season has been decreased from four to two.
As for the technical regulations, front wing deflection tests will now use revised standards, meant to ensure that teams aren’t using flexible body panels to gain an aerodynamic advantage. A higher minimum weight will be used as well, to adjust for the additional weight of the new tires adopted for the 2013 season.
Finally, the FIA will now require cars that stop on track to provide the previous one-liter fuel sample, plus the amount of fuel that would have been used to drive the car back to pit lane. This should ensure that teams don’t cut fuel reserves quite as close as in previous seasons.
Changes have been identified for the 2014 season, too, including a higher minimum weight to compensate for the 2014 engine and drivetrain changes. The implementation of “electric-only” drive in pit lane has been pushed back to 2017, and changes to reduce downforce for greater fuel efficiency have been abandoned.