Formula 1 bosses have made amendments to a number of rules ahead of the 2023 season – so there is no confusion going forward.
Most importantly, big changes were made to one rule to ensure that reduced points are given for races that are shortened, for whatever reason – whether it be a red flag or weather conditions. This comes after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured his second title amid major confusion in Suzuka.
Last year’s Japanese race was halted after two laps due to lashings of rain and didn’t resume until over two hours later. A total of 28 laps – out of the scheduled 53 laps – were completed.
READ MORE: Remnants of Romain Grosjean’s 2020 Bahrain car to go on display as ex-driver says “it saved my life”
It turned out that full points were awarded that day, according to stewards, which was enough for Verstappen to clinch the title with four races left in the season – but even the Red Bull driver questioned his result.
The FIA explained that at the time the reduced points rule only applied when a race was suspended and could not be resumed.
Representatives from all 10 teams, along with the FIA and commercial rights holders all met in London this week ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5.
Among the key changes was the revised wording of this rule to ensure that shorter races have reduced points “even if they don’t finish with a suspended race”.
Other changes made during the meeting, according to FIA notes include:
Radio messages between teams and drivers
The Commission approved the proposal to relax the regulation of radio messages to and from the Drivers at all times during a Competition.
Parc Fermé for events that include a Sprint session
In the context of reducing the current excessive workload on FIA technical staff and scrutineers during events that include a Sprint session, the Commission approved a revised Parc Fermé request acceptance policy, in which Sprint weekend Parc Fermé allows a greater scope to change components that are prone to getting damaged, and greater use of self-declared Parc Fermé forms. This will apply for the whole Parc Fermé period from when the car leaves for Qualifying on Friday to when the car starts the race. This will be implemented via a Technical Directive.
Max Verstappen wins Japanese Grand Prix and is crowned 2022 World Champion
The FIA confirmed various updates and changes to circuits for the coming season:
- Saudi Arabia – significant changes have been to improve visibility on corner entry wherever possible
- Azerbaijan – the track will be completely resurfaced
- Miami – the track will be completely resurfaced
- Zandvoort – space between the pit stop positions has increased by 1.5m
- Qatar – A new pit building and paddock infrastructure will be built
The FIA has analysed DRS zones for 2022 and some changes made for 2023 in order to either facilitate overtaking, or make it harder in certain circuits where it was deemed not to be enough of a challenge.
These changes will be implemented in Bahrain, Jeddah, Melbourne, Baku and Miami, and involve the adjustment of detection and activation zones, and additionally in Melbourne the 4th activation zone will be reinstated.
Sporting, Technical and Financial regulations
Minor amendments to the 2023 Sporting, Technical and Financial Regulations were unanimously approved. These included the introduction of a winter shutdown period for both Competitors and PU Manufacturers, wording to ensure that shorter races have reduced points even if they don’t finish with a suspended race and wording to allow easier access to the factories for the FIA auditing team, in order to police the adherence of the teams and PU Manufacturers to the Financial Regulations, and to the Operational limitations of the technical and Sporting Regulations.
An increase of the cost cap adjustment for additional races above 21 was agreed from 1.2M$ to 1.8M$ per race on the basis that the trend of the additional races being added to the calendar has been towards fly-aways, which are more expensive.
Here’s a look at the full 2023 grid of new machinery with the season start just weeks away