The F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission meeting took place today in Paris, with all members in attendance – including FIA President Jean Todt and, for the first time, Chase Carey, CEO of Formula One Group.
There were a number of items that were discussed at length and for once, some very sound decisions were made that will move Formula One forward in this new era of ownership. I dare say that the influence of Mr Carey and his willingness to embrace change – and the future – have been a major contributor to some of these changes.
The main points:
Sporting and technical changes
There have been some corrections and additions to the technical and sporting regulations for 2018, which will now be passed to the World Motor Sport Council for approval:
- A number of more integrated solutions for additional frontal protection have been studied, and the decision has been taken to give priority to the transparent ‘shield’ family of systems. The FIA aims to carry out track tests of this system during this season in preparation for implementation in 2018. This basically means that the Halo is now confined to the gallows of history and the shield concept will be investigated at length.
- Changes in the regulation boxes around the engine cover have been made so that designs incorporating the ‘t-wing’ and ‘shark fin’ will be strictly limited. In othervwords, the sharkfin will disappear and the television aerial – sorry, T-wing, will also disappear along with it.
- Measures will be taken to ensure that oil will not be used as fuel. In addition, only one specification of oil may be used for any given power unit during an event.
- Pirelli will be allowed to develop 2018 wet weather tyre compounds using previous specifications of cars and wheel dimensions.
- In the event of a red flag period during a race, the race will be resumed from a standing start
Driver names and numbers
Information was given to the teams that, from Barcelona (12-14 May 2017) onwards, the sporting regulations will be strictly enforced to ensure that visibility of drivers’ names and numbers on the cars will be clearer. There has been a lot of discussion around this point. It’s fairly clear that Sauber make it easy to spot who is who – other teams, not so much.
Representatives from the non-member teams will now be invited to meetings of the F1 Strategy Group to have access to the discussions, demonstrating the effective commitment of both the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder to improve transparency in the sport.
For me, this final point is the most important. This will allow everyone to have a voice that will be heard. There is absolutely no point in half the field deciding what is best for everyone, for as we have seen, they will always vote for what suits their own interests.
All in all, a very impressive first Strategy Group meeting under the new ownership of Liberty Media. Sound decisions, clarity and planning for the future.