The FIA has tonight informed the F1 teams of new procedures with regard to starts from the Belgian GP onwards, as mandated by the recent Strategy Group meeting.
The basic idea is to stop drivers being fed information on clutch bite points in the build-up to the start.
The governing body has says it wants to ensure that Article 20.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations, which says that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided,” is respected. That rule will enforced more rigorously with “the aim of ensuring that drivers will be solely responsible for preparing for race starts.”
Technical directive TD/017-15, titled “Start Practice and Start Procedures,” reveals that the FIA will address the matter of the adjustment of bite points from both a technical perspective, and via the expected clampdown on radio traffic.
From now on the clutch bite point may not be changed from the time the car leaves the garage for the first time after the pit lane is open on the day of the race, until after the start lockout period after the race has started.
In addition bite point finder activation by the driver has to be inhibited by disabling any driver button or switch associated with that function. The FIA adds that the “bite point update from the bite point finder should be disabled by setting BBitePointFinderUsed to zero.”
The FIA says that all pit-to-car communications during any reconnaissance or formation laps will be limited to safety and sporting information, so in other words there can be no discussion of start procedures.
The only permissible radio conversations during those pre-race laps will involve indication of a critical problem with the car, such as puncture warning or damage, an indication of a problem with a competitor’s car, an instruction to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car, marshalling information (for example yellow flag, red flag, race start aborted or other similar instructions), information regarding a wet track, oil or debris in certain corners, or finally instructions to swap position with other drivers, for example if someone is late off the dummy grid.
The FIA says that any other message at these times would be considered a breach of Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations.