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F1 rule changes '04

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Main rule changes for 2004 Formula One season
Wed 25 February, 2004 01:01

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - The following details the main rule changes for the 2004 Formula One season which starts in Melbourne, Australia, on March 7:


Limited to one per driver per race weekend from Friday practice onwards. Any driver who has to change an engine before qualifying will lose 10 places on the 20-place starting grid from wherever he qualifies.

A second change will cost another 10 places -- the back of the grid effectively.

Any change after qualifying will automatically send the driver to the back of the grid.


Rear wing limited to two elements (instead of three) with the vertical parts of the wing (the end-plates) and the engine covers increased in size to allow more space for sponsorship.

Williams technical director Patrick Head estimates that this change has reduced his car's aerodynamic downforce by between three and four percent.

But he added: "Usually one's progress over the winter is considerably more than that amount. So had that not happened then the cars would be going even quicker still."


Pit lane limits raised from 80 kph to 100 kph. This should change race strategy at some circuits, with teams able to make quicker pit stops.


So-called 'launch control' is banned along with automatic gearboxes. Drivers can no longer rely on computerised electronic systems to get them off the starting grid quickly and cleanly.


A two-hour private test session on Friday mornings has been scrapped.

Friday is now devoted exclusively to free practice, with two hour-long sessions and all but the top four teams in the 2003 championship are allowed to run a third car in whatever livery they choose.

Any driver of a third car on Friday must not have competed in more than six grands prix over the previous two years.

Qualifying takes place in one two-part session of 90 minutes on Saturday instead of an hour each on Friday and Saturday.

Drivers start the first part in the order that they finished the previous race, with the winner first, rather than in championship order.

Ferrari's Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, winner of 2003's season-ending Japanese Grand Prix, will therefore be first on track in qualifying for Australia.

Any car that stops on the circuit in the first part cannot start the second, when the finishing order from the first part is reversed, but goes to the back of the grid instead.

Some drivers could have as little as two minutes between ending their first timed lap and having to start their second if they are first to retire in a race and then slowest in the initial qualifying.

A small team such as Minardi who would normally fill the back row of the grid may opt to start the race with new engines since they will have nothing to lose in terms of position but something to gain in performance.
post #2 of 4
It won't be long now.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Who's counting?

McLaren MBZ

post #4 of 4
How perfect - it's ski season and F1 season!
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