Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Formula One season


2010 Formula One season

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship season

Jenson Button, 2009 World Champion with Brawn GP. Button will drive for McLaren in 2010.
"F1 2010" redirects here. For the video game, see F1 2010 (video game).
The 2010 Formula One season will be the 61st Formula One season. The technical and sporting regulations applicable for this season have been, and continue to be, the subject of much debate. The reigning Driver's Champion, Jenson Button, has joined McLaren, and the reigning Constructor's Champions, Brawn GP, have been bought by Mercedes-Benz and renamed Mercedes GP. The 2010 season will see the return of the most successful driver in the sport with Michael Schumacher coming out of retirement after a three year absence.[1]

Dispute over regulations and breakaway series

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) planned to introduce a budget cap to reduce costs in order to safeguard the sport during the current economic downturn. The proposal included an optional budget cap of €30 million ($45 million, £27 million), with greater technical and design freedoms allowed to teams who nominated to use it.
The teams objected to what they believed to be two sets of rules within the championship and five of the teams within the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Renault, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso announced their intentions to withdraw from the 2010 championship.[citation needed] BMW Sauber announced on 29 July that they were withdrawing from Formula One at the end of the 2009 season.[2]
Following a discussion, all ten of the FOTA teams unanimously decided to withdraw at the end of the 2009 season unless the budget cap rules were changed.[3] Williams and Force India both later submitted their own entries and were temporarily suspended from FOTA.[4][5]
The remaining FOTA teams all submitted conditional entries for the 2010 season before the entry list was published on June 12, which included all ten current teams and three new teams, Campos Meta 1, Virgin Racing and US F1 Team.[6]
Discussions between the FIA and FOTA failed to find a resolution and the eight FOTA teams announced their intentions to form a breakaway series for 2010.[7] However after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 24 June, FOTA agreed to remain in Formula One and Max Mosley agreed to not to stand for re-election in October.[8]
However, on 8 July, the FOTA group of teams walked out of a meeting with the FIA about future rules.[9] FOTA were informed that they were not entered for the 2010 season and could therefore have no input on regulatory discussions.[10] It was later announced that plans for a breakaway series were still being pursued.[11]
FOTA have since expressed their interest in ending the conflict by negotiating the terms of a new Concorde Agreement directly with CVC, the company that controls the commercial rights to the sport, with a resolution possibly being found in time for the Hungarian Grand Prix.[12]
On 1 August it was announced that the FIA had signed the new Concorde Agreement, bringing an end to the crisis and securing the sport's future until 2012.[13]
Bernie Ecclestone has repeatedly stated his belief that some of the new teams will be unable to prepare in time for 2010 due to the lack of the FIA's cost cutting plans.[14]



The new season test schedule started on 1 December 2009 with a three-day 'Young Driver Test' (for drivers with fewer than three Formula One race starts to their name) at Spain's Circuito de Jerez. British Formula Three Champion Daniel Ricciardo was fastest for Red Bull Racing. As with 2009, the teams will be allowed a maximum of 15,000 km (9,300 mi) over the course of fifteen days in February. Testing sessions were confirmed for Valencia (1–3 February), Jerez (10–13 February and 17–20 February), and Barcelona (25–28 February).[15]
Testing sessions at Jerez were constantly interrupted by heavy rain.
Pre-season testing started at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia with seven teams. Ferrari dominated the test session, with Felipe Massa setting the fastest lap times on days one[16] and two.[17] In his first appearance for the team, Fernando Alonso set the fastest overall time on the third day of the test with 1:11.470.[18]
Virgin Racing had teething problems during the tests in Jerez.
The second session took place at Circuito de Jerez with heavy downpours throughout the test. This also marked the first public test for new team Virgin Racing who only managed five laps after a shortage of parts became a problem.[19] Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the test during a dry Saturday session with 1:19.583.[20]
The third test at Jerez for another four-day test was also affected by mixed weather conditions.[21][22] Lotus Racing started their first public test with the T127.[23] The penultimate[24] and last days saw sunny weather with Jenson Button setting the fastest time (1:18.871).[25]

Car release schedule

Constructor Chassis Launch date Launch location
Ferrari F10[26] January 28[27] Maranello, Italy[26]
McLaren MP4-25[28] January 29[28] Newbury, United Kingdom[29]
Renault R30[30] January 31[30] Valencia, Spain[30]
Sauber C29[31] January 31[32] Valencia, Spain
Mercedes MGP W01[33] February 1[33] Valencia, Spain[33]
Toro Rosso STR5[34] February 1[34] Valencia, Spain[34]
Williams FW32[35] February 1[36] Valencia, Spain
Virgin VR-01[37] February 3[38] Online[38]
Force India VJM03[39] February 9[40] Online[40]
Red Bull RB6[41] February 10[42] Jerez, Spain
Lotus T127[23] February 12[23] London, United Kingdom[23]
US F1 Type 1[43] TBA[42] TBA
† - On 27 January 2010, Campos admitted that delays in the construction of their car and payment of money due may mean they could miss the February testing season and their launch date altogether and instead release their car on the eve of the first race.[44]
‡ - On 18 February 2010, US F1 confessed that they had fallen dangerously behind schedule and that they had requested special dispensations to miss the first four races of the season and join the grid as late as the Spanish Grand Prix in May.[45]. On 24 February 2010 it was reported that Campos and US F1 were in discussions about the possibility of a merger. Regardless of the success of these discussions, these reports stated Jose Maria Lopez would be transferring to the Campos team because his sponsors demand that he participate in every round of the 2010 season.[46]

Teams and drivers

The following teams and drivers will compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship:[47]
Team Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre No. Race Drivers Test/Reserve Driver(s)
United Kingdom Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-25[28] Mercedes FO 108X B 1 United Kingdom Jenson Button[48] United Kingdom Gary Paffett[49]
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton[50]
Germany Mercedes GP Petronas[51] Mercedes MGP W01[33] Mercedes FO 108X B 3 Germany Michael Schumacher[52] Germany Nick Heidfeld[53]
4 Germany Nico Rosberg[54]
Austria Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB6[41] Renault RS27-2010[55] B 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel[47] New Zealand Brendon Hartley[56]
Australia Daniel Ricciardo[56]
6 Australia Mark Webber[57]
Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F10[26] Ferrari 056 B 7 Brazil Felipe Massa[58] Italy Giancarlo Fisichella[59]
Italy Luca Badoer[59]
Spain Marc Gené[59]
8 Spain Fernando Alonso[60]
United Kingdom AT&T Williams Williams FW32[35] Cosworth CA2010[61] B 9 Brazil Rubens Barrichello[62] Finland Valtteri Bottas[63]
10 Germany Nico Hülkenberg[62]
France Renault F1 Team Renault R30[30] Renault RS27-2010 B 11 Poland Robert Kubica[64] People's Republic of China Ho-Pin Tung[65]
Czech Republic Jan Charouz[65]
Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio[65]
12 Russia Vitaly Petrov[66]
India Force India F1 Team Force India VJM03[39] Mercedes FO 108X B 14 Germany Adrian Sutil[67] United Kingdom Paul di Resta[68]
15 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi[67]
Italy Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso STR5[34] Ferrari 056 B 16 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi[69] New Zealand Brendon Hartley[56]
Australia Daniel Ricciardo[56]
17 Spain Jaime Alguersuari[70]
Malaysia Lotus Racing[71] Lotus T127[23] Cosworth CA2010 B 18 Italy Jarno Trulli[72] Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy[72]
19 Finland Heikki Kovalainen[72]
Spain Campos Meta 1[47] 1 Campos[47] TBA Cosworth CA2010[47] B 20 TBA TBA
21 Brazil Bruno Senna[73]
United States US F1 Team 2 US F1 Type 1[43] Cosworth CA2010[47] B 22 Argentina José María López[74] TBA
23 TBA
United Kingdom Virgin Racing[47] Virgin[47] VR-01[37] Cosworth CA2010 B 24 Germany Timo Glock[75] Spain Andy Soucek[76]
Brazil Luiz Razia[77]
25 Brazil Lucas di Grassi[78]
Switzerland BMW Sauber F1 Team[79] 3 BMW Sauber[79] C29[31] Ferrari 056[31] B TBA Spain Pedro de la Rosa[80] TBA
TBA Japan Kamui Kobayashi[81]
1.^  - On 19 February 2010, a rescue package that guaranteed the future of Campos Meta was announced, with majority shareholder José Ramón Carabante taking control and former Force India pointman Colin Kolles being appointed as team principal. Kolles confirmed that with the departure of the team's namesake Adrián Campos, the name of the team would be changed.[82]
2.^  - As of 18 February 2010, the US F1 Team is yet to launch its car or sign a second driver and has reportedly cancelled its final crash tests.[83] It has been widely reported that the team is in imminent danger of collapse due to financial problems.[84][85][86] On 20 February, USF1's Ken Anderson revealed that his team has applied to the FIA to miss the opening four races.[45] Charlie Whiting, the FIA's senior technical delegate, has been dispatched to the team's Charlotte base to conduct an audit on their readiness.[87]
3.^  - Sauber are officially listed as BMW Sauber despite the departure of the manufacturer from the sport and the team's use of Ferrari engines. The team claims that their name has been retained for "reasons related to the Concorde Agreement" and have expressed an intention to change it in due course.

New entries process

The FIA announced its intention to open up the grid, aiming for a total of 13 teams, and in July 2009 selected three new teams from 15 new applicants, as well as confirming the entry of all 10 existing teams.[88] The existing F1 teams, under the FOTA organisation, are understood to have agreed a system of technical support to assist new teams.[89] This compromise proposal would involve the supply of parts and design knowledge to the new entrants, but not full customer cars, in return for which the budget cap idea was dropped.

Successful Applicants

The three new teams which were included in the July 2009 entry list were:
Following the withdrawal of BMW Sauber in November 2009, another grid slot became available, and was awarded to:
  • Lotus Racing,[96] a partnership between the Malaysian government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs. Mike Gascoyne, whose previous Lotus entry with Litespeed was unsuccessful will be the technical director.
Under new ownership, the BMW Sauber team was later able to regain its place on the grid, after the Toyota team also withdrew.

Unsuccessful Applicants

The unsuccessful applicants are known to include:
  • Brabham, team established by German company Formtech, led by Franz Hilmer, acquired the rights to the Brabham Grand Prix name and submitted an entry for the 2010 Formula 1 season. Formtech had already purchased the assets of the Super Aguri Formula 1 team in June 2008, after Super Aguri's bankruptcy in May 2008.[97][98] According to previous reports the former Force India managing director Colin Kolles was also involved in the project.[99] The original Brabham founder Jack Brabham was not consulted on the use of his former team's name, and the Brabham family have threatened to take legal action against the usage of their name.[100]
  • Epsilon Euskadi, an established Spanish team which has run cars in various junior single-seater formulae, and has also built its own Le Mans Prototype.[101] [102]
  • Lola Cars,[103] British racing car constructor Lola Cars, which has been involved in Formula One several times in its history, confirmed that it submitted an entry for the 2010 championship.[104] Although the FIA asked that Lola be placed on standby in the event of a team withdrawing, on June 17 the company announced that it had requested its entry be officially withdrawn.[105] However, Lola owner Martin Birrane said that if another spot opens for 2010 season, they'll be ready to relaunch the project.[106]
  • Team Lotus,[107] established by Formula Three team Litespeed and designer Mike Gascoyne who had recently parted with Force India, and purchased rights to the Lotus name from David Hunt.[108][109] A separate group using the Lotus name, Lotus Racing, was later successful in gaining an entry, following the withdrawal of BMW Sauber.
  • March Racing Organisation,[97] a re-imagining of the March team formed by Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd that ran from 1970 to 1992 (with a brief interlude as Leyton House Racing in 1990 and 1991). The entry was submitted by Andrew Fitton, who had acquired the rights to the name in the lead-up to the 1993 season.[97]
  •,[110] a proposed team established by fans of the sport and supported by their donations.
  • N.Technology,[111] lodged application following success in World Touring Car Championship, but withdrew its entry following FOTA's announcement of a breakaway series, not wanting to be involved in a series without the presence of the manufacturers.[112] MSC, the British company behind the entry, later challenged the selection process for new teams at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris; on 25 November 2009 the Tribunal upheld the FIA's process and ordered MSC to pay the FIA's costs.[113]
  • Prodrive F1, led by Aston Martin chairman and Prodrive founder David Richards, announced their application to enter Formula One with financial backing from Dar Capital.[114] This followed a previous attempt to join F1 in 2008. With Renault looking to exit the sport ahead of the 2010 season, Prodrive was confirmed as a potential buyer in December 2009.
  • Stefan Grand Prix,[115] a team backed by Serbian engineering company AMCO and named after team principal Zoran Stefanovic. Stefan GP is currently (as of February 2010) still pursuing a place on the grid for 2010, despite not having an entry. It has a car, developed from Toyota's 2010 car, and has announced drivers. However, the team was forced to abandon a planned circuit test due to its failure to secure a supply of tyres,[116] but remain optimistic of a place on the grid, even going so far as to say they expect confirmation of their joining the championship in the first week of March.[117]
  • Team Superfund, a new team established by former driver Alexander Wurz and funded by Christian Baha, the owner of Superfund Group.[118]
Experienced sports car team Ray Mallock Limited had originally intended to submit an entry[119] and run with the Cosworth spec engine, but ultimately decided against it, citing the current budget cap row and uncertainty over the 2010 regulations as reasons for their decision. They have not, however, ruled out a future entry bid.

2010 Calendar

On 21 September 2009 the provisional 2010 calendar was issued by the World Motor Sport Council containing 19 races.[120] Another provisional calendar was released on October 21, 2009 with the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian races switching dates, subject to the promoters of both races.[121] The final calendar was released on December 11, 2009.[122]
Round Race Title Grand Prix Circuit Date Time
Local UTC
1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain GP Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir 14 March 15:00 12:00
2 Qantas Australian Grand Prix[123] Australian GP Australia Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne 28 March 17:00 06:00
3 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix Malaysian GP Malaysia Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur 4 April 16:00 08:00
4 Chinese Grand Prix Chinese GP People's Republic of China Shanghai International Circuit 18 April 14:00 06:00
5 Gran Premio de España Telefónica Spanish GP Spain Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona 9 May 14:00 12:00
6 Grand Prix de Monaco Monaco GP Monaco Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo 16 May 14:00 12:00
7 Turkish Grand Prix Turkish GP Turkey Istanbul Park 30 May 14:00 11:00
8 Grand Prix du Canada[124] Canadian GP Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal 13 June 12:00 16:00
9 Telefónica Grand Prix of Europe European GP Spain Valencia Street Circuit 27 June 14:00 12:00
10 Santander British Grand Prix British GP[125] United Kingdom Silverstone Circuit 11 July 13:00 12:00
11 Großer Preis Santander von Deutschland German GP Germany Hockenheimring 25 July 14:00 12:00
12 Magyar Nagydíj[126] Hungarian GP Hungary Hungaroring, Budapest 1 August 14:00 12:00
13 Belgian Grand Prix[126] Belgian GP Belgium Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Spa 29 August 14:00 12:00
14 Gran Premio Santander d'Italia Italian GP Italy Autodromo Nazionale Monza 12 September 14:00 12:00
15 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Singapore GP Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit 26 September 20:00 12:00
16 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix Japanese GP Japan Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka 10 October 15:00 06:00
17 Korean Grand Prix Korean GP South Korea Korean International Circuit, Yeongam 24 October 14:00 05:00
18 Grande Prêmio Petrobras do Brasil Brazilian GP Brazil Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo 7 November 14:00 16:00
19 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Abu Dhabi GP United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit 14 November 17:00 13:00
† The Korean Grand Prix is subject to the circuit's completion in time.[120]


Team changes

  • In June 2009, three new teams were selected to join the grid for the 2010 season; US F1 Team, Campos Meta and Manor Grand Prix.[91] Manor Grand Prix later announced they will be competing under the name Virgin Racing, confirming months of speculation that the team would be sponsored by Richard Branson's Virgin Group.[127]
  • On 29 July 2009, BMW Sauber announced their withdrawal from Formula One at the end of the 2009 Formula One season, citing a lack of future viability and sustainability for the Formula One program.[128] BMW originally were granted the reserve spot on the grid after a proposed buy out by Qadbak Investments,[129] however on 27 November, the team was sold back to Peter Sauber.[130] The FIA officially accepted the team to the 2010 grid under the name BMW Sauber on 3 December, using Ferrari engines.[131][132]
  • Following the withdrawal of BMW Sauber, the FIA announced their vacant grid position would be filled by Lotus Racing, run by Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne, with backing from the Malaysian government.[96]
  • Toyota announced their withdrawal from Formula One on 4 November 2009, due to economic hardship. After announcing they would not sell the team on,[133] their grid slot went to the Sauber team.
  • Scuderia Toro Rosso will become an independent constructor for 2010, instead of having their chassis supplied by Red Bull Technologies. This allowed the team to purchase customer chassis, despite the concept being banned, due to the chassis being supplied by a design studio. This rule is being amended in time for 2010, meaning that the season will be the first in which Toro Rosso run their own car, having spent most of 2009 expanding their base of operations in Faenza, Italy to accommodate production facilities.[134]
  • On 16 November, it was announced that Brawn GP would be renamed Mercedes Grand Prix for the 2010 season onwards, ending speculation[135] that Mercedes' fifteen-year relationship with McLaren was about to come to an end, with the German manufacturer buying a 75.1% controlling stake in the team.[136] McLaren will purchase Mercedes' 40% stake in the McLaren Group before the 2011 season, but Mercedes will continue to supply McLaren engines and sponsorship until 2015. On 21 December, it was further announced that the Mercedes team had signed a sponsorship deal with Petronas, and would be renamed Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team.[137]
  • Responding to speculation that they would join BMW and Toyota in withdrawing, Renault initially denied that they would take the opportunity and instead assess their position, with a full announcement expected before the end of 2009.[138] However, on 4 December it was confirmed that Renault had several offers for the team, and on 16 December the sale was confirmed.[139] The team was purchased by Luxembourg-based investment banker Gerard Lopez and his Genii Capital investment company. Under the terms of the deal, Renault will retain a 25% minority holding, while the team will continue to race under the Renault name. The deal leaves open the possibility for Renault to regain complete ownership of the team and continue to run it once the global economic situation has stabilised.
  • Following weeks of speculation over their future,[140] Campos Meta underwent a re-structuring in mid-February that saw former Red Bull and Honda technical director Geoff Willis join the team, while majority owner José Ramón Carabante took control of the team from owner and namesake Adrián Campos. Campos was replaced as team principal by former Jordan, Midland, Spyker and Force India operations chief Colin Kolles.[82] Kolles described the team as being in a state of "chaos", but asserted their objective of appearing in Bahrain, albeit under a different name. While the team will still be based in Spain, its early campaign will be run out of Dallara's Italian facility where the cars are being constructed.[82]
  • US F1 has widely been reported as being in trouble, with talk suggesting principal investor Chad Hurley could pull his funding and instead support Campos Meta[141] and the team requesting permission to miss the first four races of the season.[45] On February 23, Swiss investment group Locstein A.G. declared their withdrawal of support from the team citing the fact that the team would be unable to participte in the entire 2010 season.[142] This was followed by reports that the FIA had sent their senior technical delegate, Charlie Whiting, to conduct a thorough assessment of the team,[87] a move that could decide the team's future in the sport. Parallel to this, sources reported that the FIA's lawyers have been reviewing the situation should legal action arise in the event that the FIA excludes USF1 from the 2010 entry list.[143]
  • Aspiring Serbian team Stefan Grand Prix had originally been campaigning to join the grid as one of the three original new teams, but were rejected. They continued development of their car, purchased from the remains of Toyota after the Japanese manufacturer withdrew and originally intended to run in 2010 as an unofficial testing team. However, following the problems that crippled US F1 early in the year, the team had become increasingly vocal about joining the grid as a racing team in their own right. On February 26, it was reported that team owner Zoran Stefanovic had entered into negotiations with US F1 backer and founder of YouTube Chad Hurley to merge the two teams together,[144] though US F1 founders Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson are said to be opposed to the move. After being forced to cancel a planned launch at test after they were unable to get tyres from Bridgestone, Stefan announced plans to launch the car in the first week of March.[145]

Driver changes

Fernando Alonso will drive for Ferrari in 2010 after leaving Renault in 2009.
Changed teams
Entered Formula One
Bruno Senna will make his debut with the new Campos Meta team.
Michael Schumacher will return to the sport with Mercedes GP after a 3-year hiatus.
Exited Formula One
Returned to Formula One
  • Pedro de la Rosa will return to Formula One driving for the Sauber team,[80] having previously served as test driver for McLaren. His return will end a three-year absence from racing, his last Grand Prix start being a half-season campaign in 2006 following Juan Pablo Montoya's departure from McLaren after the United States Grand Prix.
  • After several weeks of speculation, seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher officially joined Mercedes GP on 23 December 2009, ending a three-year hiatus from the sport.[1] Schumacher had originally intended to make a comeback with Ferrari in 2009 to stand in for the injured Felipe Massa, but a lasting injury from a motorcycle accident earlier in the year prevented him from doing so. According to Autosport,[1] the contract was not signed until he was given a clean bill of health. Schumacher had previously raced for Mercedes in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship.

Calendar changes

  • The Bahrain Grand Prix will be run on a new layout. The drivers will leave the old circuit shortly after turn four and follow a loop of nearly 900 metres in length, before re-joining the circuit before the old turn five. This will increase the overall lap distance from 5.412 km (3.363 mi) to 6.299 km (3.914 mi).[153] The additional loop was used in 2006, but only for the running of the Bahrain 24 Hours.
  • The British Grand Prix was due to move from Silverstone Circuit to Donington Park in 2010,[154] but on 23 October 2009, the owners of Donington Park admitted that plans to raise £135 million through a bond had failed.[155] After extended negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone, the organisers of the Silverstone circuit came to an agreement that will see the British Grand Prix hosted by the circuit for the next seventeen years, despite Ecclestone's earlier assertions that Silverstone would not be hosting the race again.[156] In February 2010, it was announced that the Grand Prix would be held on the circuit's new "Arena" configuration,[157] increasing the lap distance by 760 metres.[158] The "Arena" configuration has been introduced for the 2010 British motorcycle Grand Prix, which will be held in advance of the Formula One race, on 20 June.
  • The Canadian Grand Prix will return in 2010 after its one-year absence.[159]
  • The Japanese Grand Prix was due to return to Fuji Speedway for 2010, as part of a year-on-year rotation with Suzuka Circuit. However, Fuji's owners Toyota announced that they had abandoned plans for Fuji to hold the race, citing the global recession as the main reason for this.[160] Suzuka will continue to hold the event in 2010 and in 2011.[161]
  • South Korea is to make its first appearance on the F1 calendar under the name Korean Grand Prix with a race being held at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam on 17 October (subject to the circuit's completion in time).

Rule changes

  • A budget cap of £40m ($63.7m, €45.4m) was originally proposed for 2010, with teams choosing to take up the budget cap being allowed greater technical freedom, together with unlimited testing. Teams choosing not to take up the budget cap would have been able to spend freely, but with technical and testing constraints.[162] However, the budget cap idea was dropped following a political crisis in the middle of the 2009 season, when the issue had been debated.
  • Refuelling during the race is to be abolished for the first time since 1993.[163] Despite the resolution over the budget cap and the decision for 2010 to fall back to the 2009 rules, FOTA have expressed interest in a refuelling ban as it represents a way to cut costs.[164]
  • Formula One Management will offer financial support to all new teams from next season, in the form of $10m (£6.25m, €6.8m) along with the free transportation of two chassis and 10,000 kg (22,049 lbs) of freight to each race.[165]
  • FOTA has agreed to scrap KERS for 2010 due to poor uptake and pressure from FIA to cut costs, although KERS is not banned in the regulations.[166]
  • The minimum car weight will be increased from 605 kg to 620 kg (1,334 lbs to 1,367 lbs) to stop taller and heavier drivers being at a disadvantage if KERS is added to their car, which will still be allowed in 2010, despite FOTA's agreement not to use the system.[167]
The front tyres have changed from 270mm to 245mm. (Left) 2009 British Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton, (Right) Jerez Testing 2010 Michael Schumacher.
  • The maximum number of cars allowed to take part in a race shall be increased from 24 to 26 cars.[162]
  • The qualifying system will change to accommodate the extra cars: 8 cars will drop out of the first qualifying session, 8 from the second and as in 2009, 10 cars will shoot-out for pole in the third session. The third session will now be run in low-fuel configuration due to the refuelling ban.[168]
  • The top ten drivers to qualify for the race must start the race on the same set of tyres that quaified with.[169] In the event that a tyre is damaged in qualifying, the FIA technical delegate will assess the extent of the damage and may allow the car to switch tyres to a set he deems to be safe.[170]
  • Wheel covers which have been used by the teams since 2006 are also set to be banned for 2010.
  • The front tyres will be narrowed from 270mm to 245mm to improve the balance of grip between the front and rear.
  • During negotiations of a new Concorde Agreement at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, several details[171] emerged of cost-cutting proposals by the teams including:
  • A limit on the number of aerodynamic upgrades permitted over the course of a season.
  • A continuation of the ban on in-season testing introduced for 2009.
  • Restrictions on the number of team personnel who can attend a Grand Prix weekend.
  • Complete closures of team factories over the mid-season summer break.
  • Teams must homologate certain parts of the car,[171] including the driver's survival cell, roll structures, all impact structures and the front and rear wheels,[170] which will mean they cannot be changed over the course of the season without written approval from the FIA on the grounds of safety.
  • A new points system has been ratified for 2010, in response to the increased grid. Since 2003, points had been awarded to the top eight finishers: ten points for first, eight for second, six for third and all the way down to one for eighth place. The 2010 system will see 25 points for first, 18 for second, with third receiving 15, 12 for fourth and then ten, eight, six, four, two, and one for tenth place.[169]
The 2010 cars are 20-22cm longer than the 2009 versions because of the larger fuel tank.[172]
  • The stewarding system will be overhauled for 2010. Rather than having a rotating line-up of stewards, they will now be drawn from a smaller, fixed pool of permanent stewards that will include former drivers.[173] This is an attempt to make the stewarding process more transparent, following recent controversies involving the stewards. Previously, stewards were only able to issue twenty-five second penalties for infractions that occurred too late in the race for drivers to receive a normal penalty, but for 2010 they will have the power to hand out twenty-second penalties to drivers who would have received a drive-through penalty and thirty-second penalties to those who would have received a stop-go penalty.[170]
  • 2009 saw the teams banned from conducting any testing once the season had commenced. This will be amended for 2010, with stand-in drivers being permitted to complete one day of testing (provided they have not participated in an F1 race in the last two calendar years) at a circuit that is not on the calendar.[174] This was introduced in response to a situation arising whereby rookie drivers such as Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean were unable to physically drive a Formula One car ahead of Friday practice on their debut.
  • Drivers will now have just eleven sets of tyres over the course of a weekend, down from fourteen in 2009.[169] Three of these sets must be returned over the course of a weekend.
  • Provisions within the Concorde Agreement mean that teams will now be able to miss as many as three races before being ejected from the championship, though the FIA has made it clear that they will not be able to miss races without incurring some kind of penalty.[175]

Sponsorship changes

  • ING originally decided to end its involvement with Formula One at the end of the 2009 season, which included title sponsorship of Renault along with the Australian, Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix. The company cited the global economic crisis as the reason for its decision not to renew its involvement.[126] However, the company decided to terminate the sponsorship with Renault early after Renault was found guilty of having fixed the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
  • Watch brand TW Steel has been confirmed as the first new sponsor of the Renault F1 Team, as the "Official Timing Partner", in a three-year deal running until 2012.
  • RBS will also not renew its sponsorship of Williams beyond the end of 2010. RBS will also cancel its trackside sponsorship as of the start of 2010.[176]
  • YouTube founder Chad Hurley has joined US F1 Team as the team's primary investor.[177]
  • Virgin Group have bought a 20% stake of Manor Grand Prix and plan to rename the team.[178] This was confirmed in the entry list released on November 30, with the team being renamed Virgin Racing.
  • At the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, Banco Santander announced a five-year deal with Ferrari to become the team's "main" sponsor starting in 2010;[179] McLaren later announced that their partnership with Banco Santander had been extended.[180]
  • Malaysian oil company Petronas will end its long-running association with BMW Sauber as of 2010, and instead move to Mercedes GP as title sponsor. The team will be known as Mercedes GP Petronas.[51]

Safety Car

Mercedes-Benz has announced that this year's safety car will be its new SLS AMG. The SLS AMG will be the fastest Formula One safety car in history.[181]


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