The 2018 F1 championship will see the introduction of a list of minor and medium changes. The arrival of the head protection system ‘halo’ may pose the biggest challenge, but the governing body FIA implemented a series of other changes on the safety, power unit and sporting side as well.
After a thorough technical revamp last year which transformed some of the core aerodynamic features of the cars, the sporting and technical regulation of the pinnacle of the motorsport remains pretty stable. However, FIA intends to make huge strides on the safety level of the F1 machineries and it also tries to urge and force manufacturers to carry out ceaseless work on the reliability of the power units.
The penalty system got also tweaked. Drivers collecting a number of grid drops worth more than 15 places will be automatically sent back to the back of the grid. If more drivers receive this penalty during the same event, the timing of the penalty will decide which driver occupy the higher grid place. An earlier penalty enjoy advantage over a later one.
Following the tricky solution of some engine-makers regarding the usage of the oil during the qualifying and race, FIA introduces a clampdown on the ‘clever oil burning’. Teams can only use one single oil specification over a race weekend. Each power unit can use a maxmimum of 0.6l of oil during a race distance. Furthermore, live information on the actual oil level must be fed to the FIA during the race.
The Paris- and Geneva-based governing body implemented harsh restrictions on the suspensions as well. Following allegations that several teams use the suspension system to control the ride height in search of aerodynamic gains, FIA prohibits that the hydraulic parts of the suspension store energy. Furthermore, each suspension system has to be presented to the FIA and teams have to explain the way their suspension solutions work.
F1’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli will also alter its tyre range for next year. Instead of five, the range will consist of seven compounds. Both ends of the range will be extended: the extreme hard will be the hardest one while the hyper soft will feature the softest compound. Worth noting, the extreme hard is only a back-up compound and will only be used if the next-generation cars produce higher load on the tyres than anticipated.
The crashtests have been also made stricter to further improve the already very high safety level of the sport. It meant that the engineers had to work hard on some points of the chassis. The stricter rules are mainly to improve the protection against the carbon elements boring into the chassis.
The protection against the tyres flying off the cars was also further addressed. Previously, two tethers secured the wheels. Since tyres flew off in some accidents, FIA now requires a third tether for each tyre.
Development through CDF simulation and wind tunnel has been restricted for several years. FIA introduced clampdowns via a maximum data flow and working hours a few years ago. For 2018, these restrictions will be even stricter and the regulation became more clear in an attempt to avoid any loopholes.