F1 announce changes for 2016 & 2017

The F1 Commission met in Geneva on Tuesday and arrived at some change initiatives for the 2017 season and some for the 2016 season. While the new bodywork and car dimension could change, there is continuing conversation about removing the fuel flow restriction as well as many, including McLaren, feel this would add to overtaking and drivers pushing the entire race. It remains to be seen if this will be approved.

The changes are intent on increasing the overall speed by 3-5 seconds per lap as well as shaking up the qualifying format and attempting to get more fan engagement through a online voting program to elect the Driver of the Day. Possibly another award for Lewis to dominate as he is one of the most visible drivers on social media. F1’s version of Fan Boost in Formula E. Nothing like a good high school popularity contest to get fans engaged.

Qualifying format

A new qualification format was unanimously accepted by the F1 Commission. The new system is being evaluated for introduction, potentially as soon as the beginning of the 2016 season.

The basis of the new elimination format is as follows:


16 minutes
After 7 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag
7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2

15 minutes
After 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag
7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3

14 minutes
After 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag
2 drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds

The final elimination in each session occurs at the chequered flag – not when time is up.

Driver of the Day

The F1 Commission agreed to the introduction of a Driver of the Day award, to be implemented by the Commercial Rights Holder in conjunction with Formula One broadcasters, with the intention of driving greater fan engagement.

Viewers will be encouraged to vote online for their “Driver of the Day” throughout a Grand Prix, with the winner to be announced as part of the race broadcast immediately following the conclusion of the race, when the driver will be presented with their prize.

2017 Sporting and Technical Regulations

Following the recommendation of the Strategy Group, the F1 Commission agreed to postpone the deadline for the finalisation of 2017 Sporting and Technical Regulations until 30 April, 2016 – to allow all stakeholders the best opportunity to complete all relevant work.

2017 bodywork

New bodywork regulations have been adopted to create more exciting cars, delivering additional downforce to increase speeds and lower lap times.

The FIA, teams and official tyre supplier will continue discussions on the best solution for testing of the new tyres required as part of the regulations.

* A summary of the proposed changes – which will be included in the final 2017 Technical Regulations to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council – is here.

FIA 2017

Power unit supply

Significant further progress was made on the four major topics regarding Power Unit supply:

– Supply cost

– Obligation to supply

– Performance convergence

– Further improvement of noise

A working group consisting representatives of the FIA, Commercial Rights Holder, Power Unit suppliers and customer teams will undertake further work with the aim of reaching agreement on a plan to meet the above requirements by 30 April, 2016.

Cockpit protection

The F1 Commission confirmed the intention of introducing some form of cockpit protection from the 2017 season. All stakeholders are working together to make this a reality, with the “Halo” concept currently the preferred option. Other options, such as transparent cockpit protection, will continue to be evaluated.

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Okay I’m no engineer but my layperson’s impression raises a couple concerns. The current stress on downforce prevents the effective approach of a car from behind due to the chasing car’s need for undisturbed air. By increasing all the downforce generating surfaces these rules seem to increase the chasing car’s need for clean air while increasing the disturbance of that air by the leading car. How is this progress? It seems the point of the changes is to speed up the cars and make qualifying more exciting, at the continuing cost of excitement in the race. This is a lot… Read more »


You’re right, it’s not progress. Autosport’s analysis comes right out and says that this basically reverses most of the work done by the Overtaking Working Group in 2009.

The F1 Commission’s motto: KISS Keep it Stupid, Stupid

charlie white

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” my father said to me. And this is the one great failure in the sport as a whole, it tampers with little details while ignoring the big issues.


I agree.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but when it is broken (like f1 is), you don’t fix it with a sledgehammer.

Richard Bunce

Not thrilled to see wider wings but the enhancements to the floor may help answer the question from earlier this year about ground effects being less effected by running close together.

On a side note, is the announcement of Stewart/Haas NASCAR team switching to Ford power next year a precursor to HAAS running a Ford PU in F1 down the road?


Further improvement of noise – Noise being defined as unwanted sound, I take that as meaning even quieter then! But how do these people at the F1 Commission sit around a table and have these kinds of discussion and take themselves seriously? Surely at least someone present is laughing their socks off and just making the most crazy proposals just to see what new ridiculousness they can come up with and get others to agree to? Perhaps they score meeting points at the same time. The F1 Commission is indeed becoming a side-show performance – possibly more exciting than the… Read more »


If they proceed with that half-arsed halo thing I’ll be done with F1 and will switch to watching proper modern closed cockpit prototype race cars with covered wheels in the WEC. Would also be a progress beyond that 100 year old idea of shedding weight by ditching the mudguards … yawn. I’ll try to come to terms with F1 being stuck in time until it will be just forgotten. Bigger wings means they’ll have to increase the DRS effect if they want to keep some overtaking. Great news for everyone here, isn’t it? More downforce means the tyres need to… Read more »


No need to apologize. I think a lot of us are feeling trod-upon by the willful stupidity of those in charge of our beloved sport.

Paul KieferJr

1. I’ve already made my opinion known about qualifying.
2. Driver of the Day: Don’t we sort of do this unofficially here at FBC?
3. New Body Regs: We do seem to be going backwards. Then again, didn’t that working group sort of screw things up in the first place?
4. PU: Well, yeah, PU >holds nose<
5. Cockpit: I'd like to see what comes of this "transparent protection" idea.

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

*Angry, angry rant incoming* Maybe it is the crap coffee I drink at work, but the Driver of the Day as an “intention of driving greater fan engagement.” Is by far the stupidest thing I have ever read besides FanBoost for Formula E. Let me give the rule makers (who will never read this) a way of improving fan engagement: 1.) How about an autograph / Q&A session that is longer than half an hour and IS NOT DURING PRACTICE? 2.) How about charging a reasonable fee to let fans walk the pit lane before and after Free Practice 1… Read more »


Dear Mr. Todt, It’s time to fix Formula1, so what are you gonna do about it? You have been mandated by the WMC to make any changes necercary to fix it, but so far nothing has come of it. If you don’t have the balls to stand up to the manufactures or rather cosy up with your buddies at the UN, put someone else i charge of Formula1. Some that dares to stand up to the manufactures. I read today that qualifying is changed again, thats cute. But… QUALIFYING DIDN’T NEED FIXING. Or Driver of the day, while in itself… Read more »


I didn’t realize Mr. Ecc’estone posted on this site.

Welcome to FBC, Bernie!


I am excited regarding the more open areas for design (10deg incidence, 100mm radius, and larger area for bargeboard).
I am not excited for the higher rear wing.
I am not excited for the increased downforce.

Driver of the day? I am not a fan because I want to be involved. I am a fan because I like the technology.


Rear wing will actually be lower & wider.


Yes, correct. My mistake.


And you’re not concerned with the increased cost of development will once again increase the gap between the top teams, midfield and bottom?

Here’s hoping Sauber comes up with some radical double-diffuseresque advantage…


No, I am not concerned. The gap has always been there. The problem comes when the lower teams can’t participate, not when they can’t compete.
My concern also is when the lower teams can’t have the scope in design rules that allow for some innovation and possibly luck into a ground breaking idea.


Fair points. I concede.

Jack Flash (Australia)

Lower & Wider Rear wing in 2017. Not higher.


Well, let me be a bit of a contrarian here. I understand the anger over the changes, but my take on it is a little different. I’ll start with qualifying – as I commented on Todd’s previous post, I think this is Bernie’s attempt to introduce a degree of randomness to the grid in order to make the races more interesting. Remember he threatened reversing the top 10? That was the classic “unpalatable” idea with the aim of achieving a solution that the teams would not have agreed to otherwise. I wasn’t in favour of it, but then again the… Read more »


Just further on Bernie & qualifying, here it is straight from the horse’s mouth…

“All I’m trying to do is muddle up the grid so that the guy that is
quickest in qualifying doesn’t sit on pole and disappear because why
should he be slow in the race if he is quick in qualifying?”