F1 vote to include aero handicap and open source ideas

Radical rules including an aero development handicap system and the use of open source parts in Formula 1 could be approved later on Friday as teams vote on a package of changes to help secure the future of the sport.

F1 vote to include aero handicap and open source ideas

While much of the focus in recent weeks has been on the reduction of a planned budget cap, other regulations aimed at improving the sport have formed part of a 'New Deal' that has been championed by FIA president Jean Todt.

The raft of rule tweaks will cover chassis and engine rules, sporting regulations as well as the wider spending limits.

On the budget cap, teams are set to vote on whether they support the idea of bringing the budget cap down from the original $175 million to $145 million for next year. The idea is that it will then be reduced by $5 million per year over the next couple of seasons.

The fight over the level of the budget cap has been intense, with Ferrari in particular resistant to calls to radically slash the limit because of the impact it would have on its staff – with it fearing it could be forced to make mass redundancies.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said recently that the $145 million limit was as low as his team would like to go.

"The $145m level is already a new and demanding request compared to what was set out last June," he told the Guardian.

"It cannot be attained without further significant sacrifices, especially in terms of our human resources. If it was to get even lower, we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at other further options for deploying our racing DNA."

While teams like McLaren wanted the level to be even lower, the future glidepath plan looks set to be a compromise that most teams can accept.

Beyond the budget caps, team are also set to vote on a range of other rules tweaks to reduce costs – including potential for tokens on chassis developments. 

Longer term, there is also a proposal for a radical aero development handicap system, where the worst performing teams are allowed more wind tunnel and CFD development time compared to the more successful outfits.

While F1 has previously steered clear of more obvious handicap systems such as success ballast, it is understood that the aerodynamic development plan has gathered support as it is felt to be much less artificial. The hope is that it will help close up the grid. 

Teams will also be asked to back the idea of the use of open source parts in F1 – whereby designs of standard type items like steering columns and pedals are shared so smaller teams can save research and development costs.

The raft of measures are set to be put to an e-vote later on Friday, with unanimous support needed to get the measures guaranteed for this year and beyond.

However, under new privileges handed down to the FIA, the governing body can ratify measures that it feels are important for safeguarding the future of a championship if there is majority support. 

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Author Jonathan Noble
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