What’s new for Formula One in 2019? The end of the chequered flag and rules to aid overtaking are among the tweaks introduced for the new season
- Designs to Formula One cars have been altered for the 2019 season
- Moves have been made to try and increase excitement during a race
- Safety measures have also been introduced on the driver and car
- READ: All the latest F1 news and features ahead of the new season
Of course the big change in Formula One regulations will come in 2021, but that has not stopped small tweaks being gradually introduced until the real radical alterations come in.
Some will have a bigger impact than others. Tweaks have been made to try and make the Monaco Grand Prix more than just a passing procession, while even racing tradition has taken a bullet.
So from car design to race rules, here is a look at the major changes to Formula One ahead of the 2019 campaign.
The elegance of the shorter front wing pre-2009 looks no closer to returning but small tweaks to the design have been made to improve overtaking chances.
In fact the wings stretch even further across the car. The wing’s width has been increased by 200mm, it’s height by 20mm and it has been moved forward by 25mm.
Overtaking has been the motivation behind these changes, with the change in height helping a car maintain front end grip when following another.
To further aid this, endplates that direct airflow around tyres have been banned. This means most of the air going to the front wing will be used to generate downforce and this in turn makes it easier for a trailing car to follow closer.
The 2018 front wing was shorter and lower, with endplates designed to direct air flow away
But the 2019 wings have been tweaked to allow cars to follow closer in turbulent air
Like the front wing, the rear wing also has a minor facelift to improve overtaking.
Height has been increased by 20mm and this is to direct air flow coming off the wing higher in the air. It’s an advantage for the trailing car, with which the addition of width increasing by 200mm makes a bigger hole in the air for slipstreaming.
The DRS system will also be 25 per cent more powerful this season thanks to the rear wing opening by a further 20mm.
Rear wings prior to 2019 were narrower and lower as seen on the Red Bull at the Spanish GP
But from 2019 rules have been altered to assist the airflow to the trailing car and boost DRS
Changes to the barge boards have been made – and it is of no benefit to the cars they are on. Again the focus is on assisting cars following behind.
They have been reduced in height by 150mm and moved forward by 100mm to help link up the air flow with the front wing. The net result is a less problematic flow for the following driver who as a result will be able to follow closer.
Barge boards on the 2018 Formula One cars were 150mm higher and 100mm further back
But in 2019 this has been amended, as seen on the Toro Rosso, to improve air flow
Even the brakes on an F1 car have an influence on aerodynamics, but that has been reduced for 2019. The surface area for them available for generating downforce has been reduced and this in turn limits the turbulence a car encounters when following another car. In addition blown axles that, push air from out the wheel, have also been banned to improve airflow.
Prior to 2019, cars only had one light on their car, which was on the rear of the car low and central under the wing.
For safety purposes, two further lights have been added and they are on the back of each rear wing endplate on top of the car.
This is to increase visibility in poor conditions and must be used at all times when a driver is using the intermediate or wet weather tyres.
Alex Albon shows off during pre-season testing the new lights added to the rearwing endplates for 2019. Note, the lights will be red during the season with the green colour representing that the Toro Rosso driver is yet to gain an FIA super licence
In a bid to limit the amount of time in a race where drivers are backing off to save fuel, a further 5kg has been added so that a car can now use 110kg in a grand prix.
The changes should now enable drivers to run at full power for the entirety of a race, or at the very least dramatically reduce the amount of time spent worrying about saving fuel.
First of all the car’s minimum weight, without fuel, has increased by seven kilograms to 740kg. Included within that is the driver’s weight which must a least be 80kg – this is including the driver’s seat and driving equipment.
Drivers weighing less than 80kg can bring their weight up using ballast but crucially this must be added to the cockpit area and not distributed around the car to improve its balance.
An all new level of needless confusion was reached last year with a range of compounds called the supersoft, ultrasoft and hypersoft, each with a different colour, in circulation.
At least to a new fan to the sport, there was no obvious way of knowing the difference so thankfully the process has been simplified for 2019.
There were seven slick compounds (plus two wet compounds, banded green and blue) available last year, but this has been reduced to five. However only three are selected for a race weekend and no matter which of these compounds are picked, they will respectively be known as the hard (white banded), the medium (yellow banded) and soft (red banded).
Seven slick compounds of multiple colours were used in 2018 and left fans in confusion
But the process has been simplified, dropping two compounds and ensuring from the three picked for a certain race they will always be known as ‘hard’, ‘medium and soft’
Drivers will wear biometric gloves this term which will monitor pulse rate and oxygen levels in their blood. This is information that could prove crucial to medical teams if the driver is involved in an accident. In addition, drivers will now also have stronger crash helmets.
It’s a very minor change but traditionalists may be a bit ruffled by the knowledge that the chequered flag has been made redundant. Although it will still be waved to mark the end of the race it will no longer be the official signal, being replaced by a light panel on the finishing line.
Another tweak sees overtaking rules on a race restart after a safety car period. Drivers may now only pass once they have crossed the finishing line rather than the safety car line.
The chequered flag is waved at Lewis Hamilton as he crosses the line to win the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the last time the actual flag will officially end a Formula One race
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