F1 to introduce minor changes to Sporting Regulations in 2021

Formula One will introduce further minor changes to the Sporting Regulations in 2021, including tweaks to the tyre usage and the maximum length of a grand prix.

Just a few weeks after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Formula One and the FIA have announced that some minor changes have been implemented to the Sporting Regulations for the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the sport was forced to introduce key changes, including heavy modifications to the calendar. New venues were added to the schedule and several events were moved backwards. That uncertainty around the heavily-updated schedule meant that Pirelli also asked for a change to the regulations.

For each race weekend, Pirelli selects three compounds of its five-compound range with every driver having an allocation of 13 sets of dry weather tyres. Teams are usually free to define themselves how many sets of the three compounds they want for a race weekend. However, in 2020, the Milan-based tyre manufacturer supplied teams with eight of the soft compound, three of medium and two of hard.

This regulation will remain in effect next year considering the uncertainty around the first part of the 2021 calendar. Pirelli will also modify the announcement of their compounds which will be two weeks prior to the event, as opposed to nine and 15 weeks before European and flyaway races respectively.

The FIA has also reacted on Mercedes’ mistake at the Sakhir Grand Prix when the team mounted wrong tyres on George Russell’s car. The Anglo-German outfit got away with a fine at Bahrain, but teams need to be aware of that from 2021 onwards.

The updated Sporting Regulations state that ’any driver who uses a set of tyres of differing specifications or tyres not allocated to him during the race may not cross the Line on the track more than twice before returning to the pits and changing them for a set of tyres of the same specification.

‘A penalty under Article 38.3(d) will be imposed on any driver who does not change tyres as specified above within three laps. For the avoidance of doubt, a set of tyres of differing specifications will not be considered when assessing the number of specifications used during the race’.

The FIA has also changed the maximum length of a race. Previously, the maximum time was set at four hours that was introduced after the extremely long 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. According to the new rule, if a race is suspended, the maximum time will be three hours.

The Paris-based governing body has also changed the fee for an appeal. Should an F1 team intend to lodge an appeal against a decision, it will be required to pay a fee of €6000.

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