F1 tweaks curfew rules for 2023 season to reduce workload on teams

The FIA has outlined plans to reduce the hours worked by Formula 1 team members over the next two seasons.

Mercedes garage atmosphere

Teams agreed to support the initiative as they try to reduce the workload on staff members heading into what is expected to be a 24-race season in 2023.

Operational personnel are currently subject to three curfews on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, which are known respectively as Restricted Periods one, two and three, during which they cannot work on the cars and must leave the paddock.

At the moment RP3 on Friday commences 13 hours before the start of FP3.

However, the latest 2023 FIA Sporting Regulations confirm that from next year team members will have an earlier finish as that will be changed to 14 hours before FP3, with a further switch to 15 hours from 2024.

By then teams will face the challenge of undertaking the same Friday evening preparation tasks that they do now, but in a two-hour shorter window.

In addition, there will be a reduction in the number of curfew exceptions - or jokers - that teams can deploy.

The exemptions were originally intended for emergency use, and a generous level was set for the start of the current schedule.

However, they are often used when new update packages arrive late and are fitted to cars on race weekends.

In effect the teams have agreed to be “saved from themselves” by reducing the number of exemptions, thus taking away the temptation to use them routinely.

At the moment teams can use eight exceptions for RP1 on Wednesday evenings. That will be reduced to four in 2023, and then to two by 2024.

The number of exceptions for RP2 on Thursday evenings will be trimmed from the current total of six to three in 2023, and then two in 2024.

The entrance to the paddock

The entrance to the paddock

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

There will be no change to the current figure of two Friday night exceptions for RP3.

In a change to the 2022 regulations that will be applied from this weekend’s French GP, operation team members no longer have to leave the paddock as the Wednesday and Thursday curfews are beginning.

They are now allowed to stay for an extra hour but “for the sole purpose of exercise on the circuit, meals and socialising.”

The move is seen as promoting the wellbeing of team members by allowing them to run or cycle the track or have a relaxed evening meal that doesn’t compromise their garage work commitments.

The rules add that “during these periods these personnel must cease operational activities.

“This includes and is not limited to work on the cars or car components necessary to operate the cars and engineers working on computers. Failure to comply with this will be treated as a breach of the relevant Restricted Period.”

The tweak to the curfew rules introduced early in the COVID era to reduce congestion at the paddock turnstiles, when personnel were allowed in half an hour earlier to take breakfast but couldn’t work in the garage during that time, has remained – however a reference to promoting social distancing has been deleted.

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