My Wishlist For a FOTA Breakaway Series: Technical Regulations

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My Wishlist For a FOTA Breakaway Series: Technical Regulations
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

If the FIA-FOTA row has been about anything besides control, budget caps and a way for everyone up and down the paddock to say the most outrageous things about the Formula One establishment it has been about one thing:

Freedom.

FOTA wants the freedom to spend however much they want on whatever they please. So that should be the main guiding principle behind the technical regulations for Grand Prix One (I think it's catchy, especially because of GP2, GP2/GP1 it works.)

 

ENGINES AND FUEL

The most important piece of equipment in any car, especially in motorsports, is obviously the engine. Engine rules for the Grand Prix One should not be specific and should allow for multiple interpretations.

I propose two formulae. A 2.0L turbocharged option or a 3.5L naturally aspirated option. There should be no restriction on the amount of valves, compression, fuel injection, exhaust or electronic control of the valve train, and there should be no rev limiter in either the naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines.

For the turbocharged engines specifically, and only for the sake of reliability and safety, there needs to bee a maximum displacement specification for the turbine itself and if not importantly there has to be a limit to the amount of boost a turbo can generate.

Another good option would be some sort of "push-to-pass" button, but without all of the downsides of KERS. For the turbocharged cars, it would be an over-boost function and for naturally aspirated cars it could be employed by over-revving the engine or engaging another gear ratio above the top ratio to access more power from the engine.

Fuel and refuelling will be in the spirit of innovation to capture some of the green spirit. Grand Prix One will not have a single race fuel. There will not be any reward or punishment for using different kinds of fuels. But ethanol/methanol or a mixture with gasoline can be used to gain more power from the engine.  By doing this it allows for more competition.

 

TIRES

The issue of tires is to take away the Bridgestone monopoly and invite Michelin, Goodyear, etc. to Grand Prix One, painting it as a clear good investment in advertising the performance image of their companies.

Slicks are clearly the best option as any self-respecting racing series uses slick tires. It creates the most challenge for both the drivers and the mechanics. Slick tires wear more heavily than grooved ones, so tire management becomes more important.

Get rid of the stupid one must use a set of each of the different compounds rule.  It's manufactured drama and also wasteful. If there was only one tire available each weekend, teams could choose their preferred tire in Friday practice and run it all weekend.

 

ELECTRONIC DRIVER AIDS

Traction Control and ABS could be used to make the racing more interesting by taking some of the risk away from some more exotic and maybe just stupid maneuvers. I understand all of the critics will say "they're the best drivers in the world, they shouldn't need help from computers."

Well maybe, but in the Le Mans series they have technologies like traction control, launch control and ABS and it takes nothing away from the racing. Formula One style cars are really hard to drive and if even Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikonnen can put too much power down and spin out, EDAs can be used to keep drivers on track and for safety purposes.

 

CHASSIS: DOWNFORCE, AXLE TRACK, AND OVERTAKING

From watching this season of Formula One, it's clearly visible what taking downforce away from cars does especially when looking at the MP4/24 and the F1.09. Sunday at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton seemed to have one of the twitchiest cars I've seen in a long time.

Downforce is vital to Formula One-style cars, but on the other hand, high-downforce cars create huge wakes of dirty air which makes the car following it unstable, making overtaking nearly impossible.

So to try and neutralize the rear spoiler issue that so many of the teams are having this year, what we need is the solution the "diffuser three" came up with—high capacity diffusers that create massive amounts of downforce without creating so called "dirty air" behind it. 

Also, diffusers are a good compromise for teams who want to explore ground effect aerodynamics in their design. Diffusers would be regulated but there would be a large amount of flexibility for experimentation.

Axle track is an important issue because it correlates directly with downforce. The more space there is between the wheels, the more surface area is available to add down force to the car. A compromise between the pre-1998 and the post-1998 would be a solution to keep most everyone happy, providing safety and aerodynamic performance.

These are my suggestions. Feel free to disagree, and also post your own ideas on the comment thread and article responses would be awesome. FOTA says they care about the fans, so we need to organize and make our voices heard.

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