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NEW RULES TO SHAKE UP F1; The lowdown on all the latest race regulations.

Byline: by IAN PARKES Sports Reporter

IN an effort to spice up Formula One, to increase the possibility of overtaking and to significantly cut costs, a raft of new rules have been introduced.

They have afforded the 'backroom staff ' at the various teams the chance to put their skills to the test, with the fruits of their labours to come to the fore in Melbourne on March 29.

Here are the key changes to the regulations.

AERODYNAMICS IN early 2007 the FIA set up the OWG (Overtaking Working Group) to think up ways of making F1 more attractive, or to bemore precise, to identify areas where change was needed to make overtaking easier.

The principle problem lay in the massive amounts of downforce cars lost once the distance to the car in front dropped below around two seconds.

This 'dirty air' whipped up by the preceding car significantly diminished the effect of the front wing in particular, causing pronounced understeer.

As a result, changes in position were more frequently the result of strategies in the pit lane than overtaking manoeuvres out on the track.

The front wing has grown in width from 1,400mmto 1,800mm, making it as broad as the car as a whole,while it is also fixed lower down than before.

Via the aid of a button, the flaps on the front wing can also be adjusted twice per lap - once to raise or lower, and secondly to return it to its original position - to make it easier to get up close behind the car in front.

Added to which, there is a significantly narrower, higher-mounted rear wing. It now measures only 750mm in width and 900mm in height compared to 1,000mm wide and 800mm high in previous years, meaning cars behind will be subjected to less turbulence.

The regulations have also limited the use of air deflectors and cooling apertures to a minimum, with sidepods now higher at the front.

TYRES A MOVE that has delighted all the drivers is the return to slicks away from the grooves of recent years.

These will deliver increased front-end grip, which encourages moving moreweight to the nose of the car.

KERS OR to give it its full name, Kinetic Energy Recovery System, and one that has caused considerable consternation amongst the teams, primarily due to the cost of implementation.

The electrical device stores energy under braking, and then via the touch of another button at the driver's disposal on his steering wheel, he can provide his car with a 82bhp boost for 6.6 seconds.

It is an ingenious system, but all the teams have had their share of problems in recent months, and only a handful will be using it in Melbourne.

The key difficulty for the teams has been in finding a way of packaging the KERS elements as they add weight to a car, hinder aerodynamics and increase the need for cooling.

ENGINE IT was only nine years ago that teams used one engine in practice on a Friday, one for qualifying on the Saturday, and another for the race itself on a Sunday, sending costs soaring.

But to significantly reduce budgets, the life of an engine for this season will double, with each car and driver combination allowed eight for the year.

TESTING AGAIN to slash costs, both the teams and the FIA agreed to a ban on extensive in-season testing from this year. However, teams have the opportunity to conduct eight one-day aerodynamic tests on a FIA approved straight-line or constant radius site between now and the final race.

POINTS SYSTEM FROM this year, the driver with the most race wins will be crowned champion. If two or more finish the season with the same number of wins, the title will go to the driver with the most points.

The remainder of the standings, from second to last place, will be decided by points.

The constructors' championship is unaffected.

CAPTION(S):

CHAMPION: Lewis Hamilton will face a new points system
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2009
Words:668
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