FIA comments on
2008 rules proposal
July 13, 2005
What follows is a statement from the FIA in which they express
their views on technology in Formula One in 2008 and beyond.
While the FIA wish to limit driver aides, they are not
against proposals such as energy recovery systems first
looked at in the late 1990s.
"The FIA proposals for 2008 which were sent to you on 4 July
include significant restrictions on technology with a view
to reducing costs. However, the recent FIA/AMD survey has
demonstrated that the public regard technology as an
important element of Formula One, although they do not like
its use for driver aids. The responses to our proposals from
major manufacturers involved in Formula One also favor
retaining sophisticated technology.
During the consultation period which is now underway, we
should like all stakeholders to consider carefully the
technology/cost issue and let us have their views. Which
technologies to allow and even encourage is a decision of
fundamental importance, as is the question of cost.
The FIA’s preliminary view is that technology which helps
the driver to control the car (eg traction control, ESP-type
systems, launch control, etc, etc) have no place in Formula
One, which should remain a supreme test of driver skill.
This view is supported by the public in the FIA/AMD survey.
On the other hand, technologies which improve car
performance by, for example, saving energy or reducing
mechanical losses should be encouraged. These do not devalue
a racing driver’s skills and their development can benefit
the ordinary motorist.
The example of an energy recovery, storage and release, or
“hybrid”, system is a good one. Using known technology it
would be possible to recover and store about 300 kilojoules
of energy when braking for a corner and release it to give
about 60 bhp for 5 seconds on the next straight, all from a
system weighing no more than 50 kg. If we were to regulate
(limit) such systems by weight, the research would aim for
the maximum energy (power) for the minimum weight. We would
soon see more power for longer from lighter systems. Such
systems will eventually be on all road cars - it is just a
question of how many kilojoules per kilo of weight plus
system cost compared to fuel cost. Deployment in Formula One
would greatly accelerate the rate of development of such
devices as well as promoting public acceptance and consumer
In the Research and Development departments of the major
manufacturers there are certainly many other new and
interesting technologies under development which could
usefully be deployed in Formula One. It is also possible
that major manufacturers not currently in Formula One might
wish to come into the World Championship with their new
technologies without necessarily becoming engine suppliers.
This would benefit the independent teams.
We believe there is a strong case for putting the emphasis
on useful technology as a means of gaining performance in
Formula One. At present, much of the technology is sterile.
For example seeking the best lift/drag ratio within the
confines of very restrictive bodywork regulations whose only
purpose is to limit cornering speeds is arguably not the
best use of talented aerodynamicists working in very
expensive and sophisticated facilities.
On the subject of aerodynamics, we believe there may be a
case for placing a limit on the amount of downforce a car
can generate (i.e. a maximum of x newtons) rather than
constantly regulating to restrict the aerodynamics in the
hope of containing performance. Research would then be
directed to reducing drag, possibly useful to the car
industry. Techniques for generating massive amounts of
downforce from the bodywork of a single-seater racing car
have limited practical application.
Also, if we have a fixed but relatively low maximum
permitted downforce, why would we need to continue to ban
moveable aerodynamic devices? Could we not allow them at
least under braking? Or perhaps forward of the front wheel
centre line to help aerodynamic balance when following
another car closely? We would have to have an accurate and
reliable means of measurement, but I am told this will be
much easier with a single tire supplier. Moveable devices
might also be useful for safety.
If there is some support for such ideas, we should like to
discuss possible action for 2008 as a matter of urgency. In
the longer term we would propose setting up a small
committee from the major manufacturers and perhaps some
academics to advise the FIA on possible car and aerospace
technologies for use in Formula One. We could then start to
think about regulations five or even ten years ahead of
Finally, we must never lose sight of the need to keep at
least 20, preferably 24, cars on the grid. This means that
permitted technologies must either be relatively inexpensive
to develop or of a kind which bring paying technology
partners into Formula One. We should be glad to discuss
these and related questions with any of the teams and other
stakeholders, either individually or collectively." FIA
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