The 2014 Formula One season saw one of the biggest shake ups to the rules and regulations in the entire history of the sport. Changes to the regulations concerning engines meant that hybrid power came into play and with it bringing the new, quieter and deeper soundtrack to F1. The new rules to the height of the front of the cars also meant that the cars looked different, with some teams opting for some unusual styling to cope with the demands of the new regulations.
It’s definitely fair to say that Mercedes dealt with these changes the best, dominating the season and wrapping up both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships with relative ease. With the other teams playing catch up, and having had a year to adapt to the new engines, the 2015 season is set to be much closer. So let’s take a look at the new rules for this season and how they will affect the teams, along with some of the new cars too.
No more Double Points
After the Red Bull dominance of previous years, in an attempt to make things a bit closer, double points for the last race was introduced for the 2014 season.
The double points rule wasn’t well met, with most fans calling for rule to be dropped straight away. Double points didn’t come into play anyway and has been been scrapped for the 2015 season.
In 2014, drivers were allowed to use five power units throughout the course of the season. This year, the new rules state that only four power units can be used, with a grid penalty being given if teams exceed four. If the race calendar goes over the originally scheduled 20 races, teams will then be allowed to use five.
Nose Design Changes
In an attempt to adapt and comply with the new rules of 2014, some teams opted for the ugly looking ‘anteater’ nose, which was met with varying reviews, whilst a few other teams went with a forked design.
For the 2015 season, rule changes to enhance safety and reduce the strange appearance of the cars has meant that nose designs will be uniform; the anteater and other alternative designs will not be allowed.
Virtual Safety Car (VSC)
Following Jules Bianchi’s horrific crash in the Japanese GP last year, the FIA felt changes needed to be made to the rules to ensure that drivers slow down to safer speeds in the event of a crash or incident.
The VSC system has been successfully tested and has been implemented to ensure that drivers maintain a lower average speed when double yellow flags are waved. The system gives drivers a lap time to meet and they will be notified by a tone in their ear pieces if they are going quicker than the required average pace to meet the lap time.
Driver Penalties and Unsafe Release
This season, stewards will be able to give ten-second penalties for ‘minor infringements’, along with the five-second penalty that was introduced in 2014. A ten-second penalty will also be given to a driver for an unsafe release for the pit box.
Suspension and Car Weight
The Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspensions (FRIC) previously used have this year been banned. This should make the cars slightly harder to drive, requiring more driver skill.
In 2015, the minimum weight of the cars has been increased to 702g without fuel.
Clearing the Grid and Red Flags
If a member of a drivers’ team, or any relevant tools or equipment remains on the grid following the 15-second signal, the driver will have to start the race from the pit lane.
In the event of a stopped race, drivers will return to the pit lane during the race suspension instead of to the grid as they would’ve in previous years.
In 2014 teams were allowed four two-day tests within the season. This year, that has been reduced to two, two-day in-season tests, with two of the four days having to be used for young driver.