Formula One Management and the FIA have outlined early technical rule changes for the upcoming 2019 Formula 1 World Championship season.
The Formula 1 strategy group and F1 commission recently met at the FIA’s French headquarters. Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey was also present along with FIA President – the former General Manager of Ferrari during its golden years in the early 2000s – Jean Todt.
The group agreed on early rule changes regarding fuel capacity, weight limits and driver safety.
There will be an increased race fuel allowance from 105 kilograms to 110 kilograms allowing drivers to use full engine power at all times.
The driver’s weight will be separately considered from the overall car weight from 2019. This allows heavier and particularly taller drivers, like Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Ocon, to be at less of a disadvantage.
Drivers from next year will also be required to wear biometric gloves. While already worn by every driver this year, the gloves will become mandatory from 2019.
The innovative gloves are produced by all common racing glove manufactures (Puma, OMP, Alpinestars and Sparco) who have previously worked closely with the FIA during development. The gloves have an integrated 3mm sensor stitched into the palm area of the glove to monitor vital human signs. The gloves work constantly throughout a racing session but can be used to monitor a driver’s condition after a heavy impact.
The optical sensor used today so far can only measure “pulse oximetry”, the amount of oxygen in blood. If drivers were to have affected breathing after an incident, oxygen in the blood could diminish causing the driver to lose consciousness. This means medical crew can monitor these vital readings before, during or after an incident has occurred with a driver.
The glove development became crucial after Carlos Sainz’s incident during practice at the 2015 Russian Grand Prix. The Spaniard lost control of his Toro Rosso at the fast left-hand kink at Turn 13 before hitting the barriers head-on in the run-off zone at over 150km/h. The Spaniard’s car awkwardly buried itself under the soft wall barrier with marshals and medical crew unable to attend to Sainz trapped in his car. The Toro Rosso driver was trapped for over 20 minutes and any potential life-threatening injuries he could have sustained may have led to a more costly outcome. Thanks to biometric gloves, medical crews can have access full information regarding a driver’s health condition in times like this.
Meanwhile, discussions will also continue with the FIA regarding potential aerodynamic changes on the car for next season to increase overtaking. A decision is expected by the end of this month once research conducted by the FIA and the teams has been wrapped up.
The 2021 power unit regulations were also discussed with the FIA presenting its proposal. The governing body proposed that teams would continue to use the 1.6 litre, V6 turbo hybrid engines, but with the MGU-H exhaust energy recovery system removed. The MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit – Heat) is the current unit’s most complex and costly element of the six that make up the complete power unit. The MGU-H caused major problems during Honda’s initial years with McLaren back in 2015 and 2016.
The FIA Technical Department plans to finalise the 2021 power unit regulations by the end of May. All the proposed rule changes are subject to the approval of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.
Images via Federation Internationale de L’Automobile and Scuderia Ferrari