• All teams, other than those who finished in the top four positions of the previous year’s World Championship for Constructors, will be permitted to run a third driver during both free practice sessions on the first day of practice provided :
- He is not one of the team’s nominated drivers for the Event in question.
- He is in possession of a Super Licence.
- He has not been a nominated driver for a Formula One team in more than six World Championship Events during the two previous World Championships.
FIA comment: “As has been widely reported this was decided at the request of the team principals. “
• As before both cars entered by a competitor must be presented in the same livery at each Event, but these requirements will not apply to any third car being run by a team on the first day of practice.
• So that the cars of each team may be easily distinguished from one another the on board camera of the first car must now be predominantly fluorescent red, the same camera on the second car must remain as supplied to the team (black) and any third car fluorescent yellow.
FIA comment: “This will help the quick identification of each car. Some teams drivers have very similar crash helmets and it can be difficult to distinguish them. It will help everybody, especially the marshals.
• Any driver intending to start the race from the pit lane may not drive his car from his team’s designated garage area until the 15 minute signal has been given and must wait in the fast lane.
• Each driver must nominate which specification of tyre he will use for the remainder of the Event by 09.00 on the second day of practice. If both free practice sessions on the first day of practice are declared wet this decision may be deferred until 13.00.
FIA comment: “In 2003, the teams had to make their choice before the Saturday qualifying session. Now, they’ll have to choose on Friday. “
• Before the start of the second part of the qualifying practice session each driver must now nominate which two cars he intends to use for that part. If a driver then wants to change to a spare car after the start of the second part that car must carry the same fuel load as his original car.
• A car will now be deemed to have been used once the timing transponder has shown that it has left the pit lane.
• Any driver who decides to use another race car or a spare car following the qualifying practice session, and before the end of the pit lane is closed for the start of the race, must start the race from the pit lane. If this were to happen no restrictions on fuel load are applied and tyres may be changed.
FIA comment: “Before the start of the session, all teams must nominate which two cars they will use for qualifying. If they want to change, they will have to prove to us that the spare car has the same amount of fuel and of course they’ll drop 10 places on the grid for using a different engine. It’s so they can’t decide at the last minute how much fuel to put in it, having seen what someone else’s qualifying time was.”
• Only one engine may be used by each driver during all practice sessions and the race. If a driver uses another engine he will drop ten places on the starting grid each time one is used. Any engine change carried out after the qualifying session will result in the driver concerned starting the race from the back of the grid.
• The FIA will attach seals to each engine to ensure that no important moving parts can be rebuilt or replaced. Other than the straightforward replacement of one engine unit with another, a change will be deemed to have taken place if any of these seals are damaged or removed from the original engine.
FIA comment: “When this rule was first discussed, there was not much support for it from some teams. Eventually the Formula 1 Commission agreed that it was a good idea and since then, it has gathered significant support. Precisely how an engine is sealed will depend on its layout, but typically we will link the cam covers to the cylinder heads, and the sump to the block. All the 2004 engines are different, but having inspected them, we’re confident that the regulations cannot be broken.”
• Fuel may not be added to or removed from a car between the start of the second part of the qualifying practice session and the start of the race. The only exceptions are i) cars forced to abort their qualifying run if the session is stopped, which may be refuelled before a new qualifying attempt and ii) any adjustment to the fuel level when a spare car is used.
• No connection may be made to the fuel system of the car between the start of the second part of the qualifying practice sessions and the start of the race.
• Race refuelling systems may now be used during the first part of the qualifying session and in the two minute interval between the sessions.
• The pit lane speed limit for qualifying and race has been raised from 80 to 100km/h.
• Other than by driving on the track, teams may not attempt to alter the grip of any part of the track surface.
FIA comment: “The most important change is the second point. We had many discussions with the teams about what they were doing when we allowed them to attach a fuel cooler in parc fermé. Some teams said, “How do you know somebody is not changing the amount of fuel in the car at the same time ?”. We were very confident because we knew how much fuel the cars had before and how much they had after. But now that coolers have been prohibited we should see an end to the problem. Another change: the new speed limit in the pitlane should encourage more pit stops. We think it will make the difference on some circuits between a 2 and 3 stop strategy. “
• Free practice sessions will now take place :
- On the first day of practice from 11.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 15.00.
- On the second day of practice from 10.00 to 10.45 and from 11.15 to 12.00 (from 09.00 to 09.45 and from 10.15 to 11.00 during Events taking place in North America).
FIA comment: “The team principals decided what they wanted to do for qualifying. This was their proposal. Free practice is back to were it used to be on Friday and a later start on Saturday. The teams feel that 9 o’clock was too early and there were no spectators.”
• In 2004, the Friday and Saturday quailfying session from 2003 will be run together in one continuous session on Saturday afternoon.
• The session will take place the day before the race commencing at
14.00 (at 13.00 during Events taking place in North America). It will have
two parts which are separated by two minutes and will be run as follows :
- During the first part each driver will carry out a single timed lap starting in the order they were classified in at the end of the previous race. Any drivers who were not classified will be arranged according to the number of laps they completed during the previous race, the one with the highest number going first. At the first race of the year the order of the last race of the previous year’s World Championship will be used and, in all cases, any new drivers will be arranged in numerical order.
- The first part will be deemed to have finished when the last car in sequence enters the pit lane. If the last car fails to leave the pit lane, stops on the circuit or comes back to the pits before completing three laps, the second part will start five minutes after the previous car was due to leave the pit lane.
- The running order for the second part will be determined by the times achieved in the first part with the slowest driver going first.
- If more than one car fails to record a time during the first part of the session they will start the second part in first part order reversed.
- If two or more drivers set identical times during the first part priority will be given to the one who set it first.
- If a car stops on the track in the first part it may not be used during the second part, if the car is brought back to the pits before the end of the session it must remain in parc fermé until the end of the session.
- If more than one car fails to record a time during the second part they will start the race in second part order reversed.
• The following procedure will be used during both parts of the qualifying practice session :
- Each driver will be given one minute to join the track, this will be signalled by the light at the end of the pit lane turning green.
- As each driver crosses the Line to start his flying lap, other than those 5th, 10th and 15th in sequence, the light at the end of the pit lane will be turned green for one minute for the following driver.
- The light for the 6th, 11th and 16th cars in sequence will be turned green for one minute two minutes after the previous driver crosses the Line to complete his flying lap.
- Any driver failing to leave the pit lane in the allotted minute will not be permitted to take any further part in that part of the qualifying practice session.
FIA comment: “Again, just to be clear, this really was something that the team principals discussed at length in their own meetings and came to us and said this is what we think. And we said, fine, why not? There were some small detailed discussions but it was quite an easy process. The new starting order in the first qualifying session was decided to make it less predictable. Also, the timing of the whole qualifying session will be tightened up. So, when a car crosses the line for its flying lap, the light in the pitlane will be green immediately. “
POST QUALIFYING PARC FERMÉ
• After weighing during the first part of the qualifying practice session, and any further random checks deemed necessary by the FIA technical delegate have been carried out, cars will be returned to the relevant team.
• After weighing during the second part of the qualifying practice session, cars will then be moved to the parc fermé.
• Every car which took part in the second part of the qualifying practice session, or was intended for use during that part of the session (in the event of a driver failing to leave the pit lane), will be required in parc fermé. Any car which failed to leave the pit lane during the second part of the session must be taken by the team to the parc fermé immediately.
Each car will be deemed to be in parc fermé from the time at which the light at the end of the pit lane turns green for the start of its qualifying run in the second part of the session until the green lights are illuminated at the start of the formation lap which immediately precedes the first start of the race.
• The remainder of the parc fermé regulations remain exactly as they were during the 2003 season.
The 2004 cars will use bigger engine covers. The rear wing endplates are now 600mm instead of 500mm previously. Also, the number of upper elements of the rear wing is limited to two.
FIA comment: “The increase in size is to provide more space for sponsors without significantly affecting performance. Limiting the upper wing elements to two reduces the aerodynamic potential of the wing assembly.
Each complete cable restraint system, including their attachments, must now :
- have a minimum tensile strength of 70kN;
- utilise flexible cables each with a diameter greater than 9.5mm;
- each cable must also be capable of absorbing more than 900J.
FIA comment: “The diameter of the wheel tethers has been increased from 8mm to 9.5mm. This is to get more energy absorption. It’s not as far as we intend to go, but we think the amount of energy that the wheel tether can absorb in now as much as four times higer than before. So hopefully, we’ve made a step in the right direction there. “
Air ducts for the purpose of cooling the front and rear brakes shall not protrude beyond :
- a plane parallel to the ground situated at a distance of 160mm above
the horizontal centre line of the wheel
- - a plane parallel to the ground situated at a distance of 160mm below the horizontal centre line of the wheel ;
FIA comment: “Brake ducts can be slightly bigger. We had a silly situation where we allowed 140mm above and below the centre line and that meant the brake ducts had to be cut. And there were all sorts of discussions about the small remaining area. Was it a brake duct, was it this, was it that? Was it an aerodynamic advantage ? We just decided to increase the ducts’ dimensions from 140 to 160 to avoid any further discussions. “
HEAD AND NECK SUPPORTS
No HANS device worn by the driver may be less than 25mm from any structural part of the car when he is seated in his normal driving position.
Minor changes to the crash test regulations to make sure that the nose and the rear impact structures that get crash tested are the ones that were subjected to the push-off test earlier on.
FIA comment: “Before, we said these elements had to be similar. Now, we want to make sure they are the actual ones. You put the nose on the car, the FIA do a push-off test and then an impact test, so that we know the part can do both. It’s a detail that came up last year. The order of the tests has also been more clearly stipulated because the teams had what they call a reference chassis – one chassis gets tested to higher loads than the rest - and they were testing the other chassis first, then thinking, which one’s going to be our reference ? It’s now got to be the first one and that’s the end of the matter.”
The sulphur content must not exceed 10ppm, in order to comply with the 2008 European regulation.
FIA comment: “Everyone actually did it last year anyway. That was voluntary but now it’s in the regulations.”