PARIS (April 27, 2004) — The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body that rules Formula One racing, is proposing naming a single tire supplier to the international racing series starting in 2008, according to proposed changes to the series' operating regulations for the 2008 and subsequent seasons.
This would mark the first time in the 54-year history of the “modern” Formula One that its organizers have mandated a “spec” tire for the series, considered to be the premier form of motorsports worldwide. Formula One is staging 18 races in 16 countries on five continents this year, with both Bridgestone Corp. and Group Michelin supplying tires.
The new proposals would limit teams to only two sets of tires per weekend per car — vs. 40 dry weather tires and 28 wet weather tires currently — and would rule out tire changes during race pit stops, except in the event of punctures. Also being considered is a change to the tire/wheel widths — narrower in the front and wider in the rear.
The FIA disclosed the proposals as core to its intention to overhaul the F1 formula in an effort to reduce costs and increase competition.
The proposals include a raft of new technical regulations, which, if adopted, would make redundant most of the teams' current investments in technology, materials, electronics, aerodynamics and tires.
The FIA and F1 team principals will discuss the proposals at a special meeting May 4 in Monaco. Unanimous agreement to the changes is not required by the FIA when three years notice is given. The FIA then intends to get the new F1 formula ratified by the World Motor Sport Council at its next meeting June 30, and to publish the final regulations before December 31, 2005, in time for the 2008 season.
Among the changes proposed:
* Engines would be naturally aspirated, 32-valve, 2.4-liter V8 — vs. 3.5-litre V10s in use now. Each engine would have to endure for two entire race meetings.
* Minimum chassis weight would be reduced by at least 110 pounds to eliminate ballast (and thus, said the FIA, to reduce kinetic energy in an accident).
* The cars would be equipped with a manual gearbox (with an electronic rev-limiter to prevent over-revs) and a manually operated clutch.
* Carbon-carbon braking systems would be eliminated and replaced with ferrous discs, pads and calipers.
The FIA will publish a combined tire and aerodynamic package before Dec. 31, 2004, to achieve the FIA's specific targets for cornering speeds, straight-line speeds, grip and braking performance.