Guest Author - Katie Schwausch
When it comes to Formula 1 racing, the one constant is that things are always changing. The 2011 season is proving to be no different. Rules changes have been announced and they are a mixed bag for teams.
The Return of KERS
A year after being banned, the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is coming back to F1. To help convince more teams to use the technology, the weight of an F1 car has been raised 20 kilos to 640 kilos, or 1,411 pounds, in order to accommodate for system's weight.
A New Engine Formula
Probably the most notable announcement is that of a new engine design. The current 2.4-litre V8 will be replaced by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with an energy-recovery system and rev limiting, down to 10,000 rpm from the current 18,000 rpm. This is an example of F1's move toward more green racing.
Officials have lifted the 8-year ban on team orders during a race. They were done away with to prevent teams from manipulating a race's outcome between team members. This change comes after Ferrari's ordering Massa to give up his position to teammate Alonso in the German Grand Prix.
A New Movable Rear Wing
Designed to provide more downforce to aid in overtaking, a driver can adjust the rear wing electronically when he is no less than one second behind the faster car. The wing is returned to normal position when the driver employs the brakes.
No More Underfueling
Cars must return to pit lane under their own power if a fuel sample is required. The spectacle of Lewis Hamilton pushing his car back to pit lane following qualifying in Montreal prompted this rule.
107 Percent Qualifying
Back in place is a rule stating that if a driver's qualifying time is greater than 107% of the fastest Q1 lap, that driver will not be on the grid come Sunday. This rule has the potential to make things more difficult for new teams wanting to join F1.
In a nutshell, the rule states that if the safety is still on the track during the final lap, no overtaking is allowed. The confusion caused by Hamilton's overtaking at Valencia brought this rule.
After thirteen seasons supplying tires for F1, Bridgestone is leaving the sport, to be replaced by Pirelli. As the single supplier, Pirelli comes to the 2011 season after agreeing to a contract for a minimum of three years.