Exclusive: FIA's Radical Plans Revealed

The return of tyre changes, knock-out qualifying, a restricted number of personnel used in pitstops and a ban on spare and third cars are key components of rule proposals put forward by the FIA for introduction next year, Autosport-Atlas can reveal

Exclusive: FIA's Radical Plans Revealed

In an email sent to the teams on Saturday detailing the agenda for a forthcoming meeting of the Formula One Commission, motor racing's governing body has suggested a radical revamp of the Grand Prix weekend in a bid to increase excitement.

The email, seen by Autosport-Atlas, outlines the changes that the FIA would like made to F1's sporting regulations. A vote on these changes will be made at the commission meeting in London on October 24th.

The details include:

• A revised weekend schedule - with Friday practice taking place from 10am to 11am and 1pm to 2pm. Saturday practice will be from 10am to 11am with qualifying running from 1pm to 2pm.

• A knock-out qualifying format which is broken up into three segments. The slowest five cars will be knocked out in the first 15 minute session, with the next slowest five knocked out in the next 15 minutes. A final 20-minute 10-car shoot-out for the top 10 grid positions will then take place - with cars running race levels of fuel. Those already knocked out can refuel prior to the race.

• Tyre changes in races will once again be allowed.

• A ban on spare cars and the third cars operated by the bottom six teams on Fridays.

• A limit of 14 people to work on a car during a pit-stop, with only one team member allowed to work on each wheel when changing tyres.

• A ban on tyre heaters

• The pre-race build up to be revised, with the pit-lane opening 45 minutes before the race starts for just five minutes. The drivers' parade will then take place once the cars are on the grid.

Although some of the changes are known to have wide support in the pit-lane, especially the knock-out qualifying format and the return of tyre changes, as was reported by Autosport-Atlas yesterday, other factors may face stiff opposition.

Those teams that had the chance to run third cars on Fridays next season because they failed to finish in the top four of the constructors' Championship are unlikely to support their ban, even though the FIA claims in the email that it does not make sense to allow third cars if spare cars are banned.

"Prohibiting the use of a third car is essential if spare cars are themselves to be prohibited," said a note in the document.

Justifying the ban on third cars, the document said: "Arguably, the purpose of allowing all but the top four teams to run a third car on Fridays has been defeated as most teams in this position are or were using the extra car to gain a competitive advantage

Regarding spare cars, the document said: "As spare cars are so rarely used now, and with races never being stopped under the new race suspension regulation, it would seem the right time to ban the presence of spare cars at a race."

The FIA has declined to elaborate on the specifics of what has been suggested, but a spokesman did confirm that the items were up for discussion at the F1 Commission meeting.

"We can confirm that the latest in a series of qualifying formats will be discussed," he said.

When asked for a response to critical comments about the suggestions by Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, who claimed they were 'a crock of shit', the FIA spokesman was more forthcoming.

"It was perhaps inevitable that Mr Stoddart's self-imposed silence would run-out before his departure at the end of the season," he said. "F1's loss can only be described as the Australian V8 Championship's gain."

Stoddart's Oz Jet company is now a sponsor in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship.

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