The FIA is pushing ahead with plans to radically shake up Formula 1’s technical regulations from 2011, by publishing proposals that include the introduction of electronically-controlled moveable wings.
The governing body’s plans are designed to make F1 more road-relevant, environmentally friendly and cost-effective while at the same time improve the spectacle by encouraging overtaking.
Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday, the FIA published a framework document which has been put together to prompt discussion with the teams and manufacturers with the aim of producing a concrete proposal by September.
The most radical aspects of the document concern the chassis regulations.
The FIA proposes to introduce moveable or active aerodynamic devices that would reduce the amount of drag generated by the wings on the straights while maximising it during cornering.
Such plans would be used to reduce drag, thereby saving energy, as well as improve overtaking.
Significantly advanced aerodynamic devices such as plasma generation, MEMS turbulators and shape-morphing are all under consideration within the document that could spearhead a revolution in F1 technology.
The FIA expects to revise plans to introduce 2.2-litre 6-cylinder engines which in conjunction with these chassis reforms would lead to unacceptable straightline speeds.
It is now estimated that engine capacity will be reduced to around 1.3-1.5 litre 4-cylinder engines, though no RPM or boost limits would be set.
Energy consumption will be capped, however.
In the interests of the sport as well as cost cuts, the FIA also proposes to abandon flat-bottomed undertrays and introduce a standardised floor with underbody aerodynamics.
The undertrays would produce the majority of the car’s downforce, lessening the problem of turbulence which is currently the main obstacle to overtaking. Winglets, bargeboards and other appendages will also be banned.
Finally a number of standardised and homologated components are expected to be introduced, including chassis and fuel cells that last the season and standard wheels, brakes and uprights.
These proposals have been set out to prompt discussion between the teams, but the objective is to have a definitive set of 2011 technical regulations by the end this year.
Key proposals are:
Limit engine power by imposing a maximum energy flow rate. There will be few restrictions on the engine cycle, which can include turbo-charging and energy recovery. This could lead to a gain of at least 20% in thermal efficiency.
Allow moving aerodynamic devices, which will reduce drag by more than 50% and allow a 40% reduction in the power required to maintain current speeds.
Energy will be recovered during braking and returned to both front and rear axles when accelerating. The amount of energy returned on each straight will be limited in order to prevent top speeds exceeding circuit safety criteria.
The total amount of fuel energy to be consumed during a race will be regulated, encouraging further overall efficiency. The CO2 emitted will be further reduced by the introduction of gasoline which is partly derived from sustainable, non-food bio sources but complies fully with pump fuel legislation.
New aerodynamic rules will halve the downforce, and de-sensitise the car to the influence of the wake of the car ahead. It is also proposed to eliminate automatically the downforce deficit of the following car.
The best estimates of what these measures will mean in terms of regulations are currently as follows:
• 1.3-1.5 litre, 4-cylinder engine;
• no RPM or boost limit;
• energy flow rate to generate 300kW, including energy recovery from the exhaust;
• 200kW brake energy recovery, front and rear axle;
• 400-600kJ energy return per straight;
• pump-legal bio-fuel;
• FIA specified and supplied undertray and possibly other aerodynamic components;
• 50% 2007 downforce;
• adjustable, regulated wings and cooling;
• automatic downforce adjustment when following another car;
• lap times and top speeds maintained at 2009 levels;
• over 50% reduction in fuel consumed.
A number of measures to constrain costs are proposed, including:
• standardisation of components (including wheels, brakes, brake ducts and uprights);
• homologation of components and assemblies;
• material restrictions;
• extended life of assemblies;
• restrictions on personnel and work at races;
• restrictions on the use of certain facilities (eg wind tunnels).
All these measures will be developed into detailed regulations in close collaboration with the teams and manufacturers, prior to a full proposal being produced in September.
You can read a detailed description and the full proposals for the future of Formula 1 on the FIA's official website by clicking here.