FIA Interpreting FIA rules and the consistent application of them

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I make no apologies that the FIA rulebook is one of my biggest problems with modern Formula One.

For a start it's too restricting, stifling innovation and genius, reducing F1 to little more than a spec series.

But it's also deliberately worded in such an ambiguous way as to allow teams to get away with "bending" the rules.
All well and good you might say, considering how much designers are restricted these days.
Well no I say, as it means cars are now being designed by lawyers, not designers or engineers.

Let's take the issue of Red Bull's front wing.
However they've done it, Red Bull have managed to engineer a wing which passes the static load tests but, as everyone has seen since the start of the 2010 season, is way outside the limits set in the rules.
I don't want to get into that issue specifically as there is another thread for that, but it does call into question the way the rules have been written, as well as the testing regime.
The FIA had all winter to tighten this up but chose not to. Why not?

Then there is the issue of team orders.
Ferrari as we all know were fined $100,000 for making Massa move over for Alonso at Germany last season. After that race, Jean Todt announced that the practice would be 'regulated', rather than banned or allowed outright.
The FIA though have also increased the fine which stewards can award to $250,000 for any team using coded instructions, 'as such messages would be used to deceive spectators and would require teams and drivers to lie to stewards in order to substantiate the claims made in the message'.
Team orders aren't banned, yet they aren't allowed. They're just not talked about, like some sort of F1 car-shaped elephant in the room?
Confused? I am.
I'm fairly sure we saw at least two instances of team orders today, but as they weren't done using coded messages, it's perfectly OK apparently.
Madness.

Lastly there is the issue of drivers going off the circuit to complete a manoeuvre,
In the past we have seen Hamilton penalised for cutting the white line, yet Kimi somehow managed to use the huge run off area at Eau Rouge almost every lap during one race.
And again at Turkey.
With impunity.
This year the FIA have clamped down on that hard, stating that at least one wheel must be on the circuit at all times.
I guess Melbourne mustn't count then as I saw both Vettel and Buemi complete overtaking moves whilst completely off the circuit. Not just a little bit off, but several car widths off.

Does no-one else care about this continuing ambiguity, obfuscation and inconsistency?
 

Pyrope

Podium Finisher
Supporter
Couldn't agree more on all points.

As far as the front wing goes, the car is clearly breaking the rules. The rules are actually written with no reference whatsoever to the load test; just because a car passes the test just means that the FIA have no quantifiable evidence, not that the wing is legal. Until they organise themselves with a travelling wind tunnel, or else they impound suspect parts and take them back to an independent wind tunnel elsewhere, this will always be problematic. I don't see at all why they couldn't do the latter...

With regard to the cars going off circuit, we have to reintroduce proper grass and gravel traps and do it soon. I take many people's points about the tarmac areas being safer than gravel, but they provide no deterrent or punishment whatsoever. Then the rule enforcing is open to human factors, and as we have seen this is a large effect. I'm not saying that the whole run-off area should be gravel, but the first 10 feet of it most certainly should be. This is easy to change and would pose little safety risk. Apart from anything else, watching a car cruise around in a car park (which is what turns 2-4 in Melbourne actually are...) isn't particularly interesting.
 

gethinceri

Daniil Kvyat Fan. Alfa Romeo Fan.
Contributor
Run off areas should be super abrasive, enforcing drivers to replace their tyres following an off-track excursion.
 

P1

Points Scorer
Agree. What do you expect from a sport run by a sleazy Frenchman who made his career running a team that took cheating to an art form.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Whilst Button got punished for the overtake
I'd just like to say that Ferrari should not have been allowed to attempt the stunt that they did vis-á-vis the Button overtake. Putting Alonso in front of Massa so Button would have to let both of them through? If I were in Race Control I'd stop all punishment when I saw that!
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Run off areas should be super abrasive, enforcing drivers to replace their tyres following an off-track excursion.
There is already such a track.
http://www.circuitpaulricard.com/details-p-156.html Run-off: asphalt run-off zones replacing gravel beds. The run-offs, highlighted by the red and blue colour strips of the Blue Line™ concept, offer crucial advantages for safety through their abrasive surface which slows down vehicles which go off the track
circuit_specificites.jpg
 

Attachments

Andyoak

Race Winner
With regard to the cars going off circuit, we have to reintroduce proper grass and gravel traps and do it soon. I take many people's points about the tarmac areas being safer than gravel, but they provide no deterrent or punishment whatsoever. Then the rule enforcing is open to human factors, and as we have seen this is a large effect. I'm not saying that the whole run-off area should be gravel, but the first 10 feet of it most certainly should be. This is easy to change and would pose little safety risk. Apart from anything else, watching a car cruise around in a car park (which is what turns 2-4 in Melbourne actually are...) isn't particularly interesting.
... and where (Like Melbourne) there are public car parks where they LA's are likely to object to ripping up the tarmac why not just fit big curbs or barriers? A white / yellow line just isn't enough.
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
I came up with this concept a few years ago, as an alternative to speed bumps! Never got round to developing a suitable material though.
But I'm sure that there would be a good market for such a surface in urban areas. Just think: No more speed bumps, better for every road user including emergency vehicles, PSV's etc, perfectly fine if you cross the zone within the speed limit, but slows you down to a safe speed for the protection of pedestrians, and wears your tyres out, if you don't. Magic!
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Hmmm, this thread hasn't exactly gone as planned.

It was supposed to be about rule enforcement, not run off areas...
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
Meanwhile, back on topic:

I agree Brogan, and I am also baffled as to why Buemi was investigated after the race yesterday while Vettel wasn't; Surely, it can't be just based on whether a team protests or not, can it? The stewards have all manner of technical wizardry and video replays at their disposal, and they are watching exactly the same events that the commentators and viewers are; shouldn't they have quickly (i.e. during the race) announced their intention to investigate both incidents? Especially if one of them might affect potential podium places? If, for instance, Vettel's pass had been looked at and deemed illegal, there then would have been the possibility of applying a penalty before the end of the race, so that the wrong person didn't stand on the podium and collect the trophy.
(Please note: I am not making a judgement here as to whether Vettel's move was legal or not, I'm just discussing the principle)
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
That seems to be a common theme Chad.

For whatever reason, the FIA are very reticent when it comes to pro-actively enforcing their own rules.

As you say, Buemi was only investigated because Force India protested.
Presumably Vettel would also have investigated if McLaren had protested.

Even after the protest though, Buemi was cleared, despite him clearly being in breach of the supposed stricter rule.
Maybe that's why teams don't bother protesting?
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
Also, I was quite unaware that team orders were under some sort of regulation. I must admit, I thought they had been 'allowed' again. This is surely a potential nightmare and, at best, confusing for the teams as well as for spectators and viewers.
I didn't see what was wrong with the original system. Team orders have always been part of F1, it was only the brazen manner with which Ferrari and Schumacher used them on a couple of occasions that brought the sport into disrepute. The powers that the FIA already had could have dealt with those incidents in my view, and Max's imposition of the ban was an unnecessary knee-jerk reaction.

Having said that, whether or not it was as the result of any team instruction on Sunday, I thought Alonso's switching of position with Massa was quite clever (if it wasn't co-incidental).
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
These are the actual rules.Obviously 151c is capable of any interpretation.

http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2010/12/11596.html A number of changes were made to the Sporting and Technical Regulations for 2011, including:

- The article forbidding team orders (39.1) is deleted. Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code and any other relevant provisions
ISC 151c

151. Breach of rules
Any of the following offences in addition to any offences
specifically referred to previously, shall be deemed to be a breach
of these rules :
a) All bribery or attempt, directly or indirectly, to bribe any
person having official duties in relation to a competition or
being employed in any manner in connection with a
competition and the acceptance of, or offer to accept, any
bribe by such an official or employee.
b) Any action having as its object the entry or participation
in a competition of an automobile known to be ineligible
therefor.
c) Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the
interests of any competition or to the interests of motor
sport generally.
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
This is the rule that Sauber fell foul of, and you a right in saying that there is no room for technical innovation in F1 - look how many measurements there are!

*Article 3.10.1"Any bodywork more than 150mm behind the rear wheel centre line which is between 150mm and 730mm above the reference plane, and between 75mm and 355mm from the car centre line, must lie in an area when viewed from the side of the car that is situated between 150mm and 350mm behind the rear wheel centre line and between 300mm and 400mm above the reference plane. When viewed from the side of the car no longitudinal cross section may have more than one section in this area.

"Furthermore, no part of this section in contact with the external air stream may have a local concave radius of curvature smaller than 100mm.

"Once this section is defined, 'gurney' type trim tabs may be fitted to the trailing edge. When measured in any longitudinal cross section no dimension of any such trim tab may exceed 20mm."

** Article 3.10.2

"Other than the bodywork defined in Article 3.10.9, any bodywork behind a point lying 50mm forward of the rear wheel centre line which is more than 730mm above the reference plane, and less than 355mm from the car centre line, must lie in an area when viewed from the side of the car that is situated between the rear wheel centre line and a point 350mm behind it."
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
In order to overcome the lack of consistancy as to the application of race rules I believe the first thing that should be done is to appoint a steward panel that is the same for each race event (with the exception of the ex-pro who obviously can be rotated). This should then provide some sort of consistancy in decision even if that may not be the right decision. You see the same sort of thing in Football where one ref will pick up on something with a yellow card week in, week out while another will let that slide but be hot on another area.

As for Red Bulls front wing, I can't get too excited about it to be honest. As far as I'm aware, it's not be protested by any other team, it has passed whatever methods of testing are used to quantify it's legality and that should be that. I don't put it in the same bracket as things like water ballast and hydraulic ride height control but I consider it to be more in the area of sliding skirts and underbody aerodynamics. If the key to the speed of the RBR is the amount of flex in the front wing then there is nothing stopping any of the other teams from the development of such a system themselves until such point as it is either protested or ruled illegal by the powers that be.

As far as race day decisions go, I've now got this image of Jean Todt sat in a room dressed as Blofeld (James Bond Style) and picking up a red phone each time something happens on the circuit to instruct the stewards on a course of action.

LOL

Button was bang to rights in leaving the circuit and using wrong side of the chicane. He should have known that and let Massa past immediately however, we then have the "What do we do Charlie?" thing that reared it's head again from the Mclaren pit. Meanwhile Ferrari in a move that was without doubt underhanded, took advantage of the situation. Once it was clear that the punishment for Mclaren would have been greater than the crime they (the stewards) faced a serious problem.

As for Buemi and Vettel, there did seem to be some sort of inconsistancy here applying to that part of the track. I can't explain that one.
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
Thanks, Sportsman (#16) for pasting the 2011 changes to the rules regarding team orders.
So they are back to the status quo prior to Austria 2002 then, i.e. no specific rule at all on team orders but a reminder that ISC Article 151c can be used against anyone adjudged to be bringing the sport into disrepute. There never was any need for a team orders ban.
 
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