Written by SFCMelbourne member, Michele Terminello
This upcoming 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship season sees new rules and regulations aimed at producing closer racing. We take a look at what’s new.
New Front Wing
The front wing has been made wider, higher and much more simplified. This change is to help chasing drivers follow the car in front more closely and increase their chance of overtaking.
The width of the front wing has been increased by 200 millimetres, it’s height by 20mm and moved forward by 25 millimetres.
Complex endplates that send the outwash airflow around the front tyres are banned. Instead, much more simpler endplates mean almost all of the wing’s width is designed for direct downforce degeneration.
The wings increased height further intensifies its power and makes it less sensitive to stall – so the drivers are less likely to lose front end grip when closing in on another car.
The multiple under-wing strakes seen on last year’s machinery have been limited to just two on each side, meaning more airflow is distributed to the underbody. This is less sensitive to the aerodynamic disturbance and creates less wake for a driver following right behind.
The bargeboards have been repositioned and made smaller. The reason for this is to make them less powerful and less aerodynamically disruptive. The bargeboards were reduced in height by 150 millimetres and moved forward by 100mm to join up the airflow to the front wing. This is to help make the flow coming from the rear of the car less troublesome for the closing drivers, meaning they will be able to get much closer to the car in-front.
New Rear Wing
The rear wings for 2019 have been made simpler, higher and wider. This change is for like the front wing, to help promote close, competitive racing. Height has been increased by 20 millimetres, taking it’s “rooster tail” wake off the back of the car much higher into the air. Along with the width increased by 100 millimetres, the larger wing punches a hole into the air, to benefit the cars behind trying to slipstream.
Also, the DRS opening has been increased by 20 millimetres, improving it’s potential power by 25 percent. With its limitation placed on pressure-equalising end plate slots from last season.
New Brake Ducts
The brake ducts were revised to a much more simpler design. It’s been done to reduce aerodynamic exploitation of the brake ducts. Restrictions have been placed on complex designs meaning less area for aerodynamicists to work with. The change also means downforce reduction is less when that area of the car is in turbulent air – another thing that will help drivers behind to follow the car in-front much closer.
Tyre Colours Revised
Rather than a range of colours for tyres used last year, sole-tyre supplier Pirelli have cut that down to just three for the 2019 season. This change has been made to make it easier for the fans to understand. The terms hypersoft, ultrasoft etc. are gone. Now every Grand Prix will feature a white-side wall for hard, yellow for medium and red for soft. However, the actual compounds used for those three designations will change depending on the circuit, with Pirelli having five to choose from with C1 being the hardest and C5 the softest.
Biometric gloves are mandatory for drivers from this season onwards. The reason for this is to increase safety and help facilitate medical rescue. The gloves, made by the FIA Safety Department – features sensors stitched into the fabric to monitor the driver’s heart rate, pulse and oxygen levels in the blood. They send potentially life-saving data to the on-track medical team, before during and after a crash.
Rear Wing Endplate Lights
Two additional lights have been added to either side of the rear wing endplates. This is to increase the visibility of cars in poor weather conditions and improve safety. Alongside the traditional central rear light, cars must have an additional LED light on each rear wing endplate. These must be on at all times when drivers are running intermediate or full wet compounds.
Increased Fuel Allowance
Drivers are now allowed up to 110kg of fuel in the race, which was previously set at 105kg. This is to allow drivers to run the engine in full power at all times. They should no longer have to lift and coast to save fuel – and hence push hard right until the end of the Grand Prix.
There are newer and more stricter helmet requirements. In another safety improvement for the sport, as of 2019, all helmets must follow the new FIA 8860-2018 standard. This standard means an ultra-protective helmet that offers a number of safety benefits including advanced ballistic protection and increased energy absorption. The front visor has been lowered by 10 millimetres to reduce risks of impact from debris, while the helmet shell has advanced composite materials to improve resistance to crushing and penetration.
Car and Driver weight
Driver weight is now separate from the car. The reason for this is so heavier drivers are no longer disadvantaged by weight regulations. The minimum weight of the car has been increased slightly from 733kg to 740kg. More importantly, 80kg must be made up of the driver, his seat and driving equipment. Lighter drivers can make themselves up to 80kg by adding extra ballast, but more crucially, the ballast must be positioned in the cockpit area and nowhere else on the car to improve its balance.
Other Important Rules
Self-scrutineering: Cars are no longer required to be scrutineered at the start of the Grand Prix weekend. Instead, competitors must sign a declaration to say that they are compliant with the rules, but stewards can still do random checks at any time.
End-of-race signal: The traditional chequered flag is sill shown as normal, but the official end of race signal is now featured as a chequered light panel at the finish line.
Mirror modifications: There are minor changes to the mirrors in light of the larger rear wing, to maintain sufficient rear-view visibility and safety.
Onboard cameras: Onboard cameras have been modified to improve the spectacle on television.
Overtaking on race restarts: Drivers can no longer overtake on race restarts until they cross the finish line, rather than safety car where drivers could previously.