How it works: Restrictions on the refinement of machines

How it works: Restrictions on the refinement of machines

June 21, 2020 0 By autotimesnews

In order to save money, the FIA ​​imposed restrictions on the refinement of cars – Formula 1 teams must homologate cars in 2020 and use them in 2021. After homologation, engineers will only be able to upgrade aerodynamics and not more than two of the 77 authorized components.

Does this mean that if in 2020 someone has a car that is unsuccessful, then this team will have to put an end to the 2021 season? Not really, room for maneuver remains.

Paragraph 22 of the technical regulation describes in detail which components of the machine can be modified after homologation. It lists 77 components in 14 different areas and spells out how many conditional points will be deducted from the team’s “account” if it decides to upgrade one or another component.

The “cost” of the components is different, and the conditional points available to each team will be enough either to upgrade two small elements of the machine or one large.

There are exceptions to this rule. First, client teams may not always be able to dispose of conditional points at their discretion. For example, if Ferrari decides to spend their points to modernize the 2020 model gearbox, then these points will be deducted from the Haas “account”, since the team will also use the upgraded box. And nobody cares if in Haas these conditional points were planned to be spent on upgrading another component.

The same rule also has a loophole that is used in Racing Point. This season, the team’s cars have gearboxes and rear suspension elements from Mercedes 2019, and these components are not subject to homologation rules. Thus, if in 2021 at Racing Point they want to put the gearbox and rear suspension elements of Mercedes 2020 on their car, the team will be able to do this without spending conditional points, since these elements are already homologated. And only for the use of the box in 2021 conditional points will be “written off”.

“The rules are so complex that we are only now beginning to understand what we can do within their framework and what not,” says Andy Green, Racing Point Technical Director. – A huge number of documents describe what parts of the machine we can generally refine within the framework of homologation.

The restrictions are very strict, but those who are smart and have the means can now develop the car in 2021. For example, we buy a suspension part and a gearbox from another manufacturer and can upgrade these parts because we are one year behind. ”

Another problem that engineers have to solve is to choose the elements that need to be modernized. According to the regulations of the team, 14 days after the resumption of work, the FIA ​​must inform their choice. In fact – until the first stage of the season in Austria. In the conditions when the teams worked with the machines only six days at the tests in Barcelona, ​​there is a risk that in the first races there will be weaknesses that the engineers were not aware of, and it is almost impossible to fix them. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

“If there is a problem with the reliability of the machine, then with the permission of the FIA, we will be able to refine this component,” Andy Green continues. – And it will not cost us conventional points. At the same time, we can freely modify aerodynamics. Conditional points apply to components of the chassis, gearbox, suspension, fuel system, electrics, and so on. These restrictions prevent serious interference with the concept of the machine, but an unsuccessful machine in 2020 does not mean that it will be so in 2021 either. We have enough room to maneuver. ”