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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 08:27 GMT
All change in F1 for 2006
By Mike Burnett

Michael Schumacher
Allowing tyres to be changed again and bringing in V8 engines are a big plusses in regard to safety
Michael Schumacher
It looks the same and sounds the same but the new Formula One season promises an interesting shake-up in the format.

The 2006 season sees not only new faces and a new team, Super Aguri, but also a revamp to the regulations.

This includes the introduction of knockout-style qualifying and the return of tyre changes during races.

Finally, the three-litre V10 engines have been replaced by 2.4-litre V8 units, although the Toro Rosso team have opted to use rev-restricted V10s.

BBC Sport provides a quick test drive through the changes.


Engines are unlikely to make most spectators froth with excitement, but they still represent the biggest change for the 2006 season.

Jenson Button
The torque isn't there to pull you out of a tricky situation
Jenson Button
The new V8 engines are expected to deliver around 20% less power than their V10 predecessors, with around 750bhp likely rather than the previous top output of 950bhp.

On paper, this means lower top speeds and reduced acceleration but pre-season testing showed the cars were not much slower than before, so spectators probably will not even notice the difference.

However, the change has provoked mixed feelings from drivers as they attempt to adapt their driving style to the subtler requirements of the V8s.

Honda's Jenson Button said: "The torque of a V8 is very, very different from a V10.

Champ Car
2.65-litre turbo V8 750bhp
Formula One
2.4-litre V8 750 bhp
F1 equivalency formula
3.0-litre V10 750bhp
Indy Racing
3.0-litre V8 670bhp
Grand Prix Masters
3.5-litre V8 650bhp
4.0-litre V8 580bhp
3.4-litre V8 520bhp

2005 Formula One
3.0-litre V10 950bhp
"You really notice it when you make a mistake. The torque isn't there to pull you out of a tricky situation."

But seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher believes the new engines will enable drivers to get more out of their cars.

"I think they are much more in harmony than the V10s," said the Ferrari driver. "The relationship between the power, the mechanical grip and the aero grip is much better.

"The point is the tyres are less stressed. This means you're able to drive more on the limit of the car, more to your own limit.

"Very often in the past we had to drive below the car's ability because the tyres were always stressed."


After a year of using only one tyre for qualifying and the race, drivers will again be allowed to make regular pit stops for fresh rubber.

Fernano Alonso
We have a super tyre now, it doesn't matter whether the temperatures are high or low
Fernando Alonso on Michelin
As new Ferrari driver Felipe Massa points out, this may boost the fortunes of his team and Bridgestone, who were eclipsed by Michelin last year but dominant in 2004 when races were sprints between tyre changes.

"Everyone knows we had a difficult year with tyres in 2005, but the rule change will help us," said the Ferrari driver.

But tests have suggested Michelin still have an advantage over Bridgestone, at least in the mid-20C temperatures found in Spain in February.

World champion Fernando Alonso agrees, expecting his Renault team's supplier Michelin to provide a last hurrah in its farewell season.

"Michelin has done a very good job developing the tyres for the new rules," said the Renault star.

"I think they were under pressure when the rules changed, because people thought that they were not so competitive in 2004.

"But we are there. We have a super tyre now, it doesn't matter whether the temperatures are high or low."

Toyota, Williams and Super Aguri join Ferrari and Midland as Bridgestone partners, while Renault, McLaren, Honda, BMW, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are with Michelin.


Gone are last year's single-lap heroics as qualifying becomes a three-part knockout affair.

Christijan Albers
I have looked at the qualifying schedule and still don't understand it
Christijan Albers
All cars start on the track together, with three separate sessions in a one-hour period.

The slowest six cars in the first 15-minute session drop out and take positions 17-22 on the starting grid. Six more are eliminated in the second session, taking places 11-16.

The remaining 10 drivers then fight for pole position and the remaining places on the grid in the final 20-minute session.

Cars which fail to reach the final session can be fully refuelled before the race starts whereas those in the top 10 can replace only what they used in the last part of qualifying.

Williams driver Nico Rosberg welcomes the new format, saying: "With the qualifying format no longer one lap, that makes it easier for me to post a quick time."

However, some drivers still appear to find the new system confusing.

Midland's Christijan Albers recently admitted: "I have looked at the qualifying schedule and still don't understand it."

How will F1 teams fare?
08 Mar 06 |  Formula One
How good is Jenson Button?
06 Mar 06 |  Formula One
F1 team-mates or rivals?
10 Mar 06 |  Formula One
Dennis confident over F1 future
09 Mar 06 |  Formula One


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