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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 11:51 GMT
Guide to F1's changes
Formula One is facing a series of major rule changes for the 2003 season - but their exact make-up keeps changing.

First a series of changes to the format of a race weekend were introduced late last year - and now there have been more radical modifications to the technical rules.

This is a guide to what has been done so far, as well as what may still change in the future.

1. Banned immediately
2. Banned from British GP
3. Banned from next year
4. Differences from first draft of changes
5. Still under discussion
6. Race weekends


Banned immediately

Pit-to-car telemetry
Systems that allow teams to make changes to their cars' settings while they are out on the track have been outlawed after being legalised only in May 2001.

This will make it harder for teams to prevent cars breaking down if they develop problems in their engines, gearboxes or systems during a race.

Qualifying cars
A rule has been introduced to prevent teams building special cars at enormous cost for the new one-lap qualifying runs.

Cars will now be impounded by race officials immediately after qualifying and teams will not be allowed to work on them until just before the race.

This prevents the design of cars with special features that would not last a race distance but would be much quicker in qualifying.


Banned from British GP 2003

Electronic "driver aids"
Systems that take away control of the car from the driver will be outlawed in another volte face from May 2001.

This includes: traction control, which prevents wheelspin under acceleration; launch control, which guarantees a perfect start every time; and fully automatic gearboxes.

Semi-automatic gearboxes will still be allowed.

These systems were legalised in May 2001 after complaints that teams were getting away with cheating because F1's governing body, the FIA, could not police them.

Now the FIA is developing software that it believes will be able to detect these systems if they are being used.


Banned from 2004

Car-to-pit telemetry
Systems that transfer data from the car back to the pits, enabling engineers to tell what is going on inside its systems, are banned from next season.

This is a progression of the ban on pit-to-car telemetry, but is more controversial as it is simpler technology and has been in use for much longer.

It will further reduce the ability of teams to step in to prevent problems becoming terminal.


Differences from first draft of changes

Spare cars had been banned altogether - but these will now be allowed if a driver damages his race car beyond repair during practice or qualifying.

Radio links between the pits and the drivers will now be allowed, having initially been banned.


Still under discussion

Engine restrictions are the most controversial of all the changes because many of the car manufacturers in F1 do not want there to be any.

As of today, the only rule on this is a restriction of one engine per race weekend from the start of the 2004 season.

Beyond that, there has been no agreement, although the FIA has suggested limiting teams to six engines for a season.

There is also a drive to force manufacturers to supply engines to a second team.

This is likely to be introduced after Mercedes, previously the most vociferous opponent, said it would be happy to agree.

To ease teams' financial problems, this may be extended to allow smaller teams to buy other parts - like chassis and gearboxes - off bigger ones.


Race weekends

The changes to the format of race weekends announced in October 2002 stay in place.

That means the following:




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