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TWG approves FOTA version of 2013 rules

17 May 2011

As expected, F1's twelve teams have confirmed their intention to press ahead with their own overhaul of the sport's technical rules, rather than adopt those being put forward by the FIA.

The change of heart, first revealed by the BBC over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend [see story here], means that there will be no return for 'ground effect' technology as the teams propose alternative, and cheaper, means of limiting performance, including changes to redefine front and rear wing designs and control the amount of 'superfluous' bodywork in an effort to reduce both drag and fuel consumption.

The decision to follow FOTA's own path, guided by former Benetton and Ferrari aero man Rory Byrne rather than the combined Byrne/Patrick Head proposals commissioned by the FIA, was approved by the F1 Technical Working Group late last week, and should now form the basis for the 2013 regulations, although the governing body has until the end of June to decide whether to force through its own ideas regardless.

The FIA had hoped to cut fuel consumption by 35 per cent through a combination of the reintroduction of ground effect and the introduction of 1.6-litre turbo engines, which would not only increase lap times but also fall into line with the sport's stated 'green' intentions. The teams, however, felt that the proposals were both expensive and labour intensive, going against the current push for cost-cutting.

Instead of a shaped floor, the current stepped flat floor would be retained from 2013, with front wings of reduced width and with revised endplates, a shallower 'Monza-style' rear wing, lower noses and a restriction on extraneous bodywork, notably between the front wheels and sidepods.

KERS and DRS would be retained under the FOTA proposal, but the planned introduction of bigger wheels, originally requested by Michelin ahead of a possible return to F1, would be delayed by at least one year, to 2014.

While the Technical Working Group's decision ought to see the rules adopted, FIA president Jean Todt may provide one final hurdle if he decides to press ahead with his vision of making the sport more sustainable and efficient. The Frenchman is particularly keen to proceed with the smaller turbo engines, despite vociferous opposition from Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone, who have tacit support from the majority of the pit-lane.

According to the BBC, Todt could meet with team bosses and other interested parties at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.


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