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The 2005 regulation changes

Date 2005-02-23

By Nikki Reynolds

The start of the 2005 season is just over a week away and this year there are more regulation changes to get used to. Tyres, engines and bodywork are the main points of the technical changes, which were bought in to reduce the speed of the cars. There is also a yet another new qualifying format, based on aggregate times from two single-lap sessions.

Tyres: During Friday practices drivers can use two different dry tyre compounds and prior to Saturday practices they must chose one compound for the rest of the weekend. Three sets of the chosen tyres will be allocated: one set for Saturday practices, one for qualifying and the race and the third as a reserve set in case of punctures.

No tyre changes can be made during the race except for a puncture or damage, and refuelling is not permitted while such a change is made. If the race director decides the track is wet, extreme or wet-weather tyres may be used.

Engines: An engine must last for two races and a failure prior to qualifying will result in a 10 place grid demotion penalty, as previously. If an engine change is required between qualifying and the race, the driver will have to start from the back of the grid.

If a driver fails to finish a race a new engine can be used at the following event without penalty. This has caused speculation that a driver may contrive to not finish in order to gain a new engine for the next race, but the FIA believes that would be hard to do without detection.

Bodywork: As we have seen with this season's new cars, the aero changes given the rear of the car a more compact appearance, due to the rear wing being bought forward and the reduced diffuser height. The front wing has been slightly raised and all of the changes are in order to reduce downforce.

Qualifying: The new qualifying format is not vastly different from the previous one, the main changes being the two sessions taking place on separate days and the grid decided by aggregate times. Unsurprisingly, there has been a fair amount of negative reaction to the new system, but for the moment it seems it will stay.

The first single-lap qualifying session will take place on the Saturday afternoon and will run in reverse order of the results of the previous race. The second session will take place on Sunday morning and the running order will be the reverse of the first session. The times from both sessions will be aggregated to determine the grid.

During Saturday qualifying the cars can run with unrestricted fuel and parc fermé conditions will apply once the session is over. Before the Sunday session the cars can be refuelled to race level but may not be refuelled again before the race.

The FIA race weekend timetable, in local time, is a follows:

Friday (*)
11.00 - 12.00 Practice session 1
14.00 - 15.00 Practice session 2

09.00 - 09.45 Practice session 3
10.15 - 11.00 Practice session 4
13.00 - Qualifying session 1

10.00 - Qualifying session 2 (**)
14.00 - Race (***)

(*) Friday Practice sessions at Monaco will take place on Thursday.

(**) Except for Malaysia (11:00), Bahrain (10:30), Canada (09:00), United States (09:00), Great Britain (09:00), Turkey (11:00) and Japan (10:30).

(***) Except for Malaysia (15:00), Bahrain (14:30), Canada (13:00), United States (13:00), Great Britain (13:00), Turkey (15:00) and Japan (14:30).
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