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FIA seeks zero notice F1 factory inspections

The FIA has said it wants to move towards a zero notice policy for factory inspections to ensure that Formula 1 teams are complying with the rules.

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks with Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

As F1’s regulations have got ever more complicated, there are now a number of restrictions that teams face in terms of the way they can operate things at their own bases. 

There are limits on wind tunnel and CFD testing, how much information can be shared between collaborating squads, plus elements of the cost cap and the use of external staff that require compliance at all times. 

In a bid to ensure that teams are following the regulations, the FIA has long had the right to visit factories to check on things. 

Previously this has taken place with plenty of notice to the competitors, which of course is not ideal for the regulator in terms of catching anyone trying to get around the regulations. 

However, the FIA’s head of single seater matters Nikolas Tombazis has said that the governing body wants to get to a situation where it has access to a factory immediately. 

“We want to go to basically zero notice,” he explained.

Alpine factory

Photo by: Alpine

Alpine factory

“We don't think we should be just entering the door and going in, but we do think it would be right to have a process in place where we can just phone them, and somebody comes out and picks up these people and they can say: ‘I want to go and see the wind tunnel or whatever.’” 

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Tombazis reckoned that it should not be a case of the FIA being forced to wait too long outside a factory for any inspection.

“About 10/15 minutes, we want to get to the point where it's really quite immediate,” he said when asked about what would be ideal. “We don't have to wait at the gate for another hour or something like that.” 

The FIA has recently expanded the number of personnel it has available to help out with such factory work and reckons it is now in a place where these checks could take place every couple of weeks. 

“We were aiming to expand it [the team of factory inspectors] for quite a long time now, but we were a bit understaffed,” he said. 

“We recently went to the target number of this team, and now that enables us to visit teams approximately every two or three weeks.”

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