F1 chiefs drop the ban on team orders in new rules

The controversial ban on team orders has been deleted from the Formula 1 rulebook in the latest set of changes.

The rule, which forbids teams telling a driver to cede to his team-mate, came under scrutiny after Ferrari were fined for using team orders in 2010.

The adoption of moveable rear wings to aid overtaking were also confirmed in the new FIA rules for 2011 while the Kers power-boost system also returns.

The governing body also confirmed a new ‘green’ engine for the 2013 season.

Many team bosses predicted the ban on team orders would be dropped from the new sporting regulations after Ferrari caused an outcry by appearing to give Felipe Massa a coded message to allow Fernando Alonso through to win the German Grand Prix.

They argued the rule, which was introduced in 2002 after Rubens Barrichello gifted a win to then Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher, was difficult to enforce.

Now the rule has been removed, the teams may tacitly agree not to use team orders as much as possible while article 151.c, which refers to bringing the sport into disrepute, remains intact.

That article warns against “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition, or to the interests of motorsport generally”.

In its new regulations, the FIA aims to improve sustainability by using ‘green’ engines in two seasons’ time.
These powerunits will be four-cylinder, 1.6 litre turbos with energy recovery systems and fuel restrictions, with the aim of increasing efficiency by 35%

The agreement to switch from the current 2.4-litre V8s after months of tough negotiations – exclusively revealed by BBC Sport last weekend – is an attempt to mirror the trend towards fuel-efficiency in road cars and to popularise it, increasing public demand for such engines.

The movable wings, which will be used from the start of next season, are an attempt to improve one of F1’s perennial problems – the difficulties of overtaking.

The wings will be operated by the drivers, who will be able to use them when they are within a second of a car in front which they are trying to overtake.

The gaps between the cars will be monitored electronically by the FIA and the wings will be switched on when the driver behind is within the requisite distance.

Rule makers will monitor the way the wings work through the 2011 season and adjust them so they fit the purpose for which they were designed.

While F1 bosses want to make overtaking easier, they want it to remain a challenge.

The calculations as to when drivers should be able to employ the wings are made more complicated by the return of Kers in 2011.

Although Kers remained in the 2010 regulations the teams voluntarily agreed not to use it last season, in particular to help with cost-cutting and the arrival of the three new teams.

These systems – which store energy that would have been wasted during braking and reapply it during acceleration to give a power boost of about 80bhp for seven seconds – were first used in 2009.

The teams have decided to use them again in 2011 as a first step towards 2013, when F1 is trying to embrace sustainability.

Mercedes and Ferrari had been reluctant to agree to the 2013 engine rules as recently as a month ago, believing that it was an unnecessary expense at a time when F1 was trying to reduce costs.

And F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has been consistent in his view that they were a bad idea.

But, as BBC Sport revealed, the rules were agreed in a series of recent meetings between F1’s current engine manufacturers – which also include Renault and private company Cosworth – and the final touches were put to the regulations by a steering group of F1 engineers a week ago.

The aim is for the new rules to improve the efficiency of F1 engines by as much as 35%.

Care has been taken to ensure the performance of cars will not be affected and total power outputs will remain at current levels – approximately 750bhp. The new engines will not do more than 12,000 revs per minute – current F1 engines spin at 18,000rpm.

By adopting the regulations, F1 hopes to widen its appeal to sponsors – commercial insiders say some companies are reluctant to get involved in F1 because of its image of being wasteful with resources.

In subsequent years, complex new turbocharging technology called compounding will be introduced to further enhance efficiency.

The regulations have been framed to encourage the pursuit of efficiency in engine design, dramatically increasing the amount of power that can be produced per litre of fuel burnt.

Those lessons in efficiency can then be transferred to road cars so that considerably less fuel is used for a given amount of performance.

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