The FIA World Motor Sport Council has announced a host of new rules for the 2012 Formula 1 Technical and Sporting Regulations, which major changes coming into play around Safety Cars and defending track position.
The governing body has confirmed that the Safety Car rules will revert to an earlier rule whereby lapped cars can un-lap themselves and join the back of the back, which will help ensure that slower cars don’t get in the way of the leaders when the race resumes.
Drivers will now no longer be allowed to move back onto the racing line, having moved off it to defend their position against a chasing car. This effectively means that the defending moves Michael Schumacher made against Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix (pictured above) would be deemed illegal…
They will also not be allowed to leave the circuit – for example, cutting a chicane – on reconnaissance laps or in-laps (particularly during qualifying) to save time and fuel.
There have also been some changes governing the suspension of races. Races will now be limited to four hours to ensure that a lengthy suspension doesn’t let an interrupted event run well into the night.
Cars that are in the pit-lane when a race was suspended will now be allowed to rejoin the race and grid up in the position they were in when the grid was suspended; previously, they would have been forbidden from taking the restart.
To encourage more running in Friday practice, drivers will now be given access to all of their allocated tyre sets. Previously, they were only allowed to use three sets.
The FIA has also announced two significant changes to the testing regulations, with the first being that a single three-day in-season test will be scheduled for the teams, who can run development parts and give junior drivers some on-track time.
Furthermore, cars will no longer be allowed to take part in pre-season testing unless they have passed all of the mandatory FIA crash tests beforehand.
On the technical front, the regulations have been amended to absolutely minimise any aerodynamic effect that exhaust gases could have on car performance. Exhaust tailpipes and exit points will be strictly regulated to prevent teams from gaining additional downforce by chanelling exhaust gases to other parts of the car.
[Image via Fox Sports]