New regulations for the 2006 Championship

Yet again, the F1 regulations will be changed for 2006. The World Motor Sport Council met in Rome and approved the following regulations for the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Tyres: No longer will it be one set of tyres per Grand Prix. Each driver will be permitted to use seven sets of dry-weather tyres for each event. All tyres used for qualifying and race must be of the same specification. Tyre changes will be permitted at any time during the race.

Qualifying format: The one at a time qualifying format was neither equitable nor exciting, so I am glad this has been changed. Now all cars are permitted on the track. At the end of the first 15 minute period the slowest five cars can take no further part in qualifying. These cars will make up the last five grid positions in the order of their times, the fastest occupying 16th position.

The remaining fifteen cars then come out for the next session. At the end of this 15 minute period the slowest five cars will take grid positions 11 to 15 in the order of their times, with the fastest occupying 11th position. This means that if it suddenly rains for this session, the times set by cars on grid slots 16-20, which would be faster, do not count. They have already had their chance. This is a ‘knock-out’ style of qualifying.

For the final period, lasting 20 minutes, the remaining cars will be arranged on the grid in positions one to ten in the order of their times, with the fastest on pole.

Fuel may be added to cars at any time during the first 40 minutes of qualifying and any car eliminated during the first two periods may then be refuelled at any time until the pit lane opens for the race. Teams will be required to fill the 10 cars taking part in the final 20 minute period with the amount of fuel with which they intend to start the race. Any fuel used during the 20 minute period may be replaced before the start of the race.

If 22 cars are eligible to take part in the event, six cars will drop out after each of the fifteen minute periods leaving ten for the final 20 minutes. If twenty four cars are eligible to take part in the event, six cars will drop out after each of the fifteen minute periods leaving twelve for the final 20 minutes.

In essence, the important new rules allow tyres to be replaced during the race, and qualifying should keep everyone trying in every session.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that four wheel drive is commonplace these days, but this was not always the case. I asked what was the make of the first four wheel drive to run in a hill climb. Clue, the car was crashed on its second outing, driven by a man with the same name as the car. The car was the 4.9 liter Bugatti driven by Louis Chiron at the Swiss Klausen hill climb on the 7th of August 1932. One month later it was taken to Shelsley Walsh in the UK, where Jean Bugatti crashed it in practice.

So to this week. Brooklands racing circuit once saw a Charron stop for no apparent reason, thought the driver, until it was noticed that the fuel tank had fallen off! Quite the opposite was a famous NASCAR episode where the scrutineers had removed the fuel tank of one car to check its capacity, and the car was driven off without it. I want to know who prepared this car?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]

Good luck!

Will Nattavude win the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia?

The 2005 Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia title will be decided on Macau’s legendary Guia street circuit on November 20, in what promises to be one of the most thrilling races ever.

Just 17 points separate the top four drivers, and (mathematically) with 20 points up for grabs, the title could go to any one of them. Adding to the close nature of this series, championship leader and reigning British GT Champion Jonathan Cocker has no previous experience of the demanding and unforgiving Macau Guia street circuit. In fact, it will be the first time he has ever raced on a street circuit.

Local Thai champion, Thailand’s Charoensukhawatana Nattavude trails Cocker by five points having led the championship from round two right up until the race in Shanghai last month. Nattavude has a wealth of experience at Macau having competed there for many years in touring cars and, more recently in the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia. In fact, Nattavude has been a winner at Macau on two wheels and four, having been the Macau Grand Prix Super Bike Champion 1989, 1991 and 1993 (Kawasaki ZXR 750-750R). He has also been the Thailand Grand Touring Car (TGTC) Champion in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and third in 2002; Asian Touring Car Champion 2001 and was third in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2003.

The other two contenders include Darryl O’Young, a 25 year old Hong Kong driver, and defending champion Matthew Marsh, both of whom have also much experience of the Guia Circuit which can be relied upon to produce plenty of unexpected additional drama. This is one circuit where one mistake wins you a wall, not a championship cup!

I have a very high regard for Nattavude, and consider him to be the most polished current race driver from Thailand. Not only very skilled, but a nice chap as well.

Is the A1GP series working?

From the point of view of the organizers, it seems that this level playing field competition is working well. The spectators at each round are very satisfied with the racing, and the drivers are obviously all enjoying themselves as well. However, for the rest of the world, relying on local TV channels is currently very frustrating, with one round being broadcast here on the Monday night, instead of the Sunday.

Carbon-Ceramic brakes. The ultimate?

What have Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, Ferrari and a Formula 1 car all got in common? Well, apart from the fact that they are all high performance automobiles, these manufacturers are now also offering the ultimate in braking technology hardware for the top echelon of their products. The common factor is Carbon-Ceramic brakes.

Use of this composite Carbon-Ceramic material was developed in the aircraft industry. Aviation researchers noted the potential for reduced wear and for a higher and more stable friction coefficient. Use of this material also reduced brake weight. In aircraft operations, these carbon materials result in a more rapid operational turn-around, as they lose their heat much more quickly than conventional metal discs, and the plane can then be refuelled safely much earlier than with metallic brakes.

With Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Porsche all offering Carbon-Ceramic brakes as an option, it is worth looking at why these are just so expensive.

For example, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) use a cross-drilled, carbon fiber reinforced ceramic disc with special composite pads. The new PCCB brake disc weighs 50 percent less than its cast-iron counterpart despite considerably larger dimensions. Another key benefit of PCCB is the carbon brake’s exceptional life. While the actual rate of wear on all brake components, particularly pads and discs, is entirely dependent on individual driving style and vehicle usage, comparison testing reveals a much longer life expectancy with PCCB than with conventional braking systems, where Porsche claim 250,000 km or more under normal driving conditions.

So in summary, Carbon-Ceramic brake discs offer substantial improvements in several fundamental areas. The ceramic brake disc achieves not only very high, but also consistent frictional coefficients, maintaining them independent of temperature and weather conditions.

Carbon-Ceramic brake discs also offer a tremendous weight advantage over traditional grey-cast iron components. This reduces the weight of the suspension and means a reduction in unsprung mass resulting in a further improvement in shock absorber response and road-holding behavior.

2006 F1 Season (provisional)

Mar 12: Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain)

Mar 19: Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang)

Apr 02: Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)

Apr 23: San Marino Grand Prix (Imola)

May 07: European Grand Prix (Nurburgring, Germany)

May 14: Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)

May 28: Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo)

Jun 11: British Grand Prix (Silverstone)

Jun 25: Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)

Jul 02: United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis)

Jul 16: French Grand Prix (Mangy-Cours)

Jul 30: German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)

Aug 06: Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)

Aug 27: Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul)

Sep 10: Italian Grand Prix (Monza)

Sep 17: Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)

Oct 01: Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)

Oct 08: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)

Oct 22: Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos)