Circuit and budget cap changes among Formula 1 Commission meeting outcomes

Jamie Woodhouse
Zhou Guanyu passes Saudi Arabian GP track emblem. Jeddah March 2022.

Zhou Guanyu's Alfa Romeo passes Jeddah track emblem during Saudi Arabian Grand Prix practice. Jeddah March 2022.

Several key alterations have been agreed in the latest Formula 1 Commission meeting, including a budget cap raise and alterations to the Jeddah track.

Formula 1 is now gearing up for the official pre-season test in Bahrain, held from February 23-25, where the teams will gather crucial data on their new challengers ahead of the F1 2023 season-opener at the same venue on the following weekend.

Before the teams got stuck into testing business though, the FIA held its first Formula 1 Commission meeting of 2023 on February 21, overseen by F1 president Stefano Domenicali and newly-appointed FIA Single-Seater Director Nikolas Tombazis, who is now the day-to-day contact for teams after FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem took a step back.

The meeting has led to a raft of important changes in the series, so let’s take a look through the new rulings and features which have come into effect.

Sporting, Technical and Financial Regulation changes

Formula 1’s budget cap dropped to a limit of $135 million for 2023, but the ruling is that should the calendar go above 21 rounds, then an additional amount per race weekend is permitted for the teams.

Since 23 rounds are scheduled for F1 2023, this brings that allowance into effect, and it has been agreed that the amount per round will rise from $1.2m to $1.8m, since 2023’s new additions, those being Las Vegas and Qatar, represent additional flyaway races in a section of the calendar which is characterised by such events, carrying higher costs.

In addition, shortened races will now follow the FIA’s category system for points allocation, even if they do not end with the race having been suspended following an update to the wording of the rule.

This subject proved particularly confusing at the 2022 Japanese GP where Max Verstappen was crowned World Champion after being awarded full points for his victory, despite only 28 laps having been completed.

In addition, a winter shutdown period has been agreed upon for teams and power unit manufacturers, while wording has been clarified to make it easier for the FIA to access team factories to judge compliance with the Financial, Technical and Sporting Regulations.

Circuit changes

Following safety complaints from some drivers regarding visibility, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, home of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, will undergo “significant changes” to address this issue upon corner entry “wherever possible”.

The Baku and Miami tracks will be fully resurfaced, a new pit building and paddock infrastructure will be built at the Lusail International Circuit, host of the Qatar Grand Prix, and the pit-stop positions at Zandvoort will shift 1.5 meters further apart.

DRS detection and activation points in Bahrain, Jeddah, Melbourne, Baku and Miami will be altered, while it has been confirmed that a fourth DRS zone will be added at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix.

Parc Fermé changes for sprint events

With six sprint events scheduled for F1 2023, the FIA will look to reduce its workload by allowing more freedom on the components which can be changed on cars under Parc Fermé conditions, this relating to “components that are prone to getting damaged”.

This is effective as of when the car enters qualifying, which comes forward to the Friday of a sprint weekend, through to when the car starts the race.

A new wet-weather tyre

Formula 1 ultimately wants to move away from tyre blankets completely come 2024, and an important step towards that is confirmation that Pirelli has introduced a full wet compound which will not require tyre blankets, and promises much better performance than the previous compound.

Wet-weather running has become something of a chore in Formula 1 in recent years, with drivers complaining in particular about the lack of performance offered by the 2022 Pirelli full wet.

This new construction will be available as of the Emilia Romagna GP, Round 6 of the 2023 season.

In addition, the FIA has confirmed the support of the teams for the ‘wet weather package project’. The FIA says a technical directive is being prepared on this, and that such activities will fall outside of aero testing and budget cap restrictions, with track testing set for the second or third quarter of 2023. recommends

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Team radio

The FIA has also confirmed the relaxing of regulating team radio communication to and from drivers throughout a race weekend.

All of the above changes will now go to the World Motor Sport Council for approval.