The new F1 rules for 2018 were few in number but they’re impact was big. Here’s the lowdown on last year’s changes to technical and sporting regulations and what’s happened this year.
Farewell to fins, hello to halos
Designers always love to find the loopholes but F1 have closed down the extreme engine covers that have been seen on Williams, Renaults and McLarens. T-wings and shark fins were designed to improve the direction of airflow to the main rear wing, creating a little additional downforce as it did so. They went in 2018.
But it’s impossible not to spot the halo, a debris deflection device around the driver’s head that was new for the 2018 season. First trialled by Mercedes in 2015 at the FIA’s request, expect to see this device exploited for an extra aerodynamic edge. There is a strange amount of adrenaline when debris comes of a car and bounces along the track or hits another vehicle. If its a serious incident all vehicles stop and rescue cars are sent out with Buggy Whips on them to show everyone their position and have a high visibility whilst on the track. They were probably sourced from businesses like Wisuk.
Teams have invested a lot of time in testing to get the halo as low height as possible while still passing the static load tests and supplying mandatory protection. The device could add as much as 14kg to the weight of a car – the FIA has increased the minimum weight by 6kg – which gives teams less wiggle room with performance ballast and may handicap heavier drivers.
Suspensions out, engines down
Both Red Bull and Ferrari have experimented with aero enhancing trick suspensions that alter the height of the car depending on steering angle. They’re outlawed for the season.
And there’s been a rule change when it comes to engines, with each driver expected to rely on just three units for his 21 race campaign. This new sporting rule treads a fine line between high performance and sustainability, with just two batteries, CPU and MGU-K units at a driver’s disposal.
It looks like the team who best manages their power unit development programme over the season will reap the biggest benefits, so why not assess the impact for yourself by taking a trip to see the changes in action at the Circuit at any one of the locations?
Of course, one less engine could mean more grid penalties but the FIA has taken steps to https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/inside-f1/rules-regs.html simplify the way they’re awarded.
With F1 tyre supplier Pirelli introducing a range of new compounds, the move towards supersoft rubber should make the 2019 season more exciting than ever!