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The major regulation changes for the 2011 season explained

With the start of the season only a week away, explains the major regulation changes for the season ahead


Pirelli replace Bridgestone as the sole supplier of tyres from the 2011 season. Pirelli has specifically designed their tyres to wear quickly in order to encourage better racing and more excitement on the track, as drivers will be forced to make more pitstops depending on their strategies and driving styles. It is believed at some races, drivers could make as many as four pitstops. Tyre management will be crucial and drivers will be lapping at different speeds according to the level of tyre degradation. Cars may also be sliding around more on the track. Drivers will be allocated a total of 11 sets of tyres for the race weekend. At selected events, drivers may be given either an additional set of 'prime' tyres for use on Friday only, or be asked to test experimental compounds to assist the tyre development process. Tyre usage is governed as follows: Prime Option Tyre usage P1 & P2: 2 sets 1 set, 1 prime returned before P2. 1 prime and 1 option returned before P3 P3 1 set 1 set. 8 sets of tyres, four of each specification, allocated for the remainder of the event 1 prime and 1 option returned before Qualifying Qualifying 3 sets 3 sets. Drivers who reach Q3 must start the race on the set of tyres used to set their fastest lap Drivers must use both types of dry tyres in the race, unless wet-weather tyres have been used Race - Failure to use both types of dry weather tyres in the race will result in exclusion from the results


The Kinetic energy recovery (KERS) system, which was used in 2009 but dropped last year after an agreement among the teams, returns for 2011, but again the use is optional. Some teams have already opted not to use the system while others are committed to doing so. The systems give a short boost of power at the press of a button.


Driver-adjustable bodywork is now allowed, specifically a moveable rear wing that drivers operate by pressing a button on the steering wheel to open a slot in the rear wing and gain more straight-line speed when chasing a rival. The wing will be enabled via control electronics if the driver is less than a second behind a rival at pre-determined positions on the circuit. The overtaking zone will be on each circuit's main straight. Meanwhile, the double-diffusers and 'F-ducts' seen last season are outlawed since anything which relies on driver movement to alter the aerodynamic characteristics of a car is banned.


After the controversy that surrounded Ferrari after the German GP result last year, the rule on team orders has been amended. It is now legal for a team to tell their drivers to let their team mate past. Although the governing FIA can still charge teams with bringing the sport into disrepute if the move is too blatant. Effectively, teams must not show favouritism too early in the season. Later on in the year, such tactics are to be expected if one team mate is no longer in contention.


Gearboxes must now last five successive races, instead of four. Any unscheduled change will incur a five-place penalty on the starting grid. Drivers are however allowed one penalty-free change the first time an unscheduled switch becomes necessary.


The rule, which excludes a driver from taking part in a race if his best lap in qualifying exceeds 107 percent of the fastest time set in the session, has been restored after being dropped to help the new teams. Stewards will have the final say and can still allow a car to start under exceptional circumstances.


Team personnel "associated in any way with the operation of the cars" are barred from the circuit for two six-hour periods before the start of practice on Friday and Saturday. The lockout runs from midnight to 0600 or 0100 to 0700, depending on what time practice starts. The aim is to spare mechanics all-night shifts. However, each team will be permitted four individual exceptions during a season.


The Indian Grand Prix, at a new circuit near New Delhi, will make its debut this year after South Korea last season.

Additional powers for the stewards

Previously, the stewards' powers to impose penalties after an incident were limited to three options: a drive-through penalty, a ten-second time penalty or a drop of grid position at the next event. These powers have been boosted for the 2011 season to include four more sanctions. The new penalties are: a time penalty, to be decided at the stewards' discretion; a reprimand; exclusion from the results; or suspension from the next event.

Stricter driving standards

Formal driving standards have now been written into the rules rather than forming the object of a gentleman's agreement, and standards of behaviour when being lapped have also been tightened up. The rules explicitly forbid: more than one change of direction, crowding another car off the circuit and abnormal changes of direction.

Enhanced pit lane safety

Following an incident in Monza last year when a mechanic was injured in the pit lane, there was no mechanism for closing the pit lane to other cars. This has now been introduced, along with other measures to improve safety. The pit lane can now be closed for safety reasons during the race. In this situation, cars may only enter the pits for 'essential and entirely evident' repairs. Cars queued at the pit lane exit must now form up in a single line and leave in the order they arrived, unless another car is unduly delayed.

Car weight & weight distribution

Minimum car weight has been raised to 640kg for the 2011 season to accommodate KERS, and for this season only, the front and rear weight distribution of the cars must be between 45.5/54.5% and 46.5/53.5%.

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