March 22, 2023

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Top 10 changes to the technical and sporting regulations of Formula 1 in 2023

While Formula 1 rules remain largely unchanged in 2023 (after last year’s major overhaul), there are still technical and sporting changes in the upcoming campaign.

1. Height adjustment clearance and diffusers

After some teams experienced pitching problems last year following the introduction of new Formula 1 cars with ground effect aerodynamics, measures to increase agility and control were introduced in the second half of the season, with additional measures planned for 2023. .

In short, four additional changes will come into effect this year: the bottom edges will be raised by 15mm; the height of the diffuser neck will be increased; diffuser edge stiffness increased; will introduce an additional sensor for more effective control and monitoring of the galloping phenomenon.

In theory, these changes should make the significant effects of galloping a thing of the past, and thus focus on the exciting action that the rule change provided.

2. Strengthening the pilot’s head protection system (roll bars) after Zhou’s accident

In connection with the changes aimed at combating galloping, changes were also made to the safety standards of the center roll bar system for Formula 1 cars. This comes after Zhou Guanyu’s horrific crash at the start of the 2022 British Grand Prix, which left his Alfa Romeo upside down on the track.

The 2023 technical regulation now specifies that the protection system must have a rounded top, which will reduce the risk of it hitting the ground during an accident, as well as provide a minimum height for the homologation test point.

In addition, a new physical test will be introduced to test the system, where a weight will push the hoop system forward to test its strength and reliability in the event of a crash.

3. Reducing the minimum car weight

The weight of Formula 1 cars was one of the main topics of discussion on the eve of the 2022 season, when the teams fought to get as close as possible to the maximum allowed car weight of 798 kg (without fuel), due to one of the biggest changes in rules throughout the history of the sport.

With the further development of Formula 1 in 2023, a reduction in the minimum car weight by 2 kg (to 796 kg) will be introduced, which means that the designers will continue to try to save on the weight of cars.

4. Enlarged rear-view mirrors to increase the visibility of the pilot

To make visibility for the pilot more efficient, changes will be made to the rear-view mirrors on 2023 vehicles. The width of the reflective surface will be increased by 50 mm, from 150 mm to 200 mm.

After Red Bull and Mercedes tested in Hungary and Belgium last season, and all pilots joined the Dutch Grand Prix, this change was made to the regulations.

5. Doubling the number of sprints

In 2023, the Formula 1 racing calendar will double the number of sprint races that take place at the beginning of the main race and determine the starting positions. Thus, there will be 6 sprint races at such tracks as Baku, Red Bull Ring, Spa-Francorchamps, Lusail, Austin and Interlagos.

Sprint damage compensation will be a fixed amount per team for each weekend that includes the sprint, doubled to $300,000, and all other sprint damage penalties will be waived.

Thus, in 2023 there will be changes to the Formula 1 rules to combat galloping, improve driver head safety, improve visibility, reduce the minimum car weight and double the number of sprint races. The indoor park rules for sprint weekends will also be revised to make it easier to lock in the settings.

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6. Reduced working hours in the paddock

In the upcoming seasons, Formula One team members’ hours of work during race weekends will be reduced, with the third of three limited periods (on Fridays) starting one hour earlier this year, with another hour reduced in 2024.

In addition to this, the number of curfews allowed for the first (Wednesday) and second (Thursday) restricted periods will also be halved, from eight to four and from six to three, respectively, with another cut scheduled for next year.

7. New rules in qualifying and using DRS

According to the updated regulations, a “revised qualifying format” will be held in two phases in 2023 “to assess whether the changes are suitable for subsequent seasons”.

Tire compounds will be mandatory for each round of the regular three-part Formula 1 qualifying session: hard tires in the first segment only; tires “medium” only in the second segment; and, finally, tires “soft” for the third segment. Rain sessions do not take into account these restrictions.

In competition, each rider may use a maximum of 11 sets of dry weather tyres, four sets of intermediate tires and three sets of wet weather tyres. This compares to a typical weekend permit of 13 dry weather tyres, four intermediate tires and three wet weather tyres.

As for the DRS system, its activation after the start of the race or restart under the safety car will also be evaluated by the Formula 1 commission, which is investigating the possibility of reducing the permission to activate it to one lap.

“This will be tested during every sprint session in 2023 with a view to being rolled out to all races in 2024,” the FIA ​​said.

8. Improvements related to the change in the gearbox

Due to the development of transmissions previously only allowed “to solve reliability problems” or “to save costs” at the beginning of each season, changes are now allowed “in case of unavailability of materials, processes or proprietary parts”.

However, in any case, confirmation of the change must be provided, prior approval from the FIA ​​must be obtained, and the change must not bring a performance advantage. A summary of the essence of the issue sent to all teams from the FIA.

9. Eliminate confusion with fines

At last year’s Italian Grand Prix, grid penalties drew a lot of attention, with many drivers taking advantage of powerplant and gearbox-related crashes to reorder the grid. After some uncertainty in the application of these penalties, the wording of the regulation has been updated.

The relevant section now reads: “Classified riders who have accumulated more than 15 total grid position penalties or have received a starting grid penalty will start behind any other classified rider. Their relative position will be determined according to their qualification classification.”

10. More freedom in fuel cooling

A small change on paper could affect reliability in 2023, especially in hot races, as teams will be given more freedom with regards to fuel cooling.

In 2023, the fuel in the car must not be colder than the lower of two values: either 10 degrees Celsius below ambient temperature, or 10 degrees Celsius (that’s a reduction from 20 degrees) any time the car is running outside the garage.

What else could happen in 2024?

In addition to these 10 changes made ahead of the 2023 season, there are also many initiatives being developed or considered for 2024 and beyond.

A “major overhaul” of arc safety testing is planned for next year, again following Zhou’s severe crash, with the goal being that future Formula 1 cars can handle greater loads.

Discussions about fines on the grid will also continue. The Formula 1 commission has postponed until July 2023 the final negotiations on a possible ban on thermal covers in 2024.