Faster cars, cockpit protection coming to F1 in 2017

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Formula One Halo cockpit protection concept

Formula One Halo cockpit protection concept

Following a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland this week, organizers of the Formula One World Championship have agreed upon a number of key proposals that will see some significant changes introduced to the sport as early as the 2017 season. Crucially, the changes are designed to deliver faster, more spectacular races.

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Among the agreed upon changes are longer, wider cars. Wider tires have also been agreed upon. The result of these changes will be increased downforce and grip, leading to higher speeds and thus lower lap times. Early estimates suggest the changes could make the new cars around 3.0 seconds faster per lap than the current crop.

But it’s not all about the spectacle. Organizers have also confirmed the intention of introducing some form of cockpit protection from the 2017 season. All stakeholders are working together to make this a reality, with the Halo concept shown above currently the preferred option. Other options, such as a jet fighter-style transparent cockpit, will continue to be evaluated.

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A new elimination-style qualifying format had also been agreed upon and may be introduced as early as the 2016 season. Each of the three qualifying sessions will have a knockout portion running for a few minutes. During this knockout session, the slowest driver would get eliminated every 90 seconds. This would keep going until only one driver is left.

Another novel idea is a “Driver of the Day” competition. Viewers will be encouraged to vote online for the best driver of the day throughout a Grand Prix race, with the winner to be announced as part of the race broadcast and awarded a price.

Note, the changes still need to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

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