Traction control to remain for 2004

A meeting between the sport's governing body, the FIA and F1 team principals/technical directors earlier this week has produced unanimous agreement on the future direction of the F1 rules. Traction control will stay but automatic gearboxes and launch control have been banned as of 2004

Traction control to remain for 2004

Although the FIA was firmly behind the banning of traction control, the teams have managed to persuade Max Mosley that attempts to duplicate its effect via other means would mean significant cost. The FIA has thus allowed it to remain on the condition that engine manufacturers agree to supply independent teams "at a fully affordable cost having regard to the current business climate."

As far as engine usage goes, each driver will have one engine for the entire race weekend as of next year with the fitting of a further engine resulting in the loss of 10 places on the grid. The governing body further agreed that if fully affordable engines were indeed available to all teams from 2004, the proposals for multi-race engines in 2005 and 2006 would be withdrawn.

The current system whereby drivers qualify with race fuel loads is to remain, as will the parc ferme regulations, unless teams can come up with a better solution to ensuring that cars start the race in the specification they qualify.

The FIA has also agreed to rethink its planned ban on car-to-pit telemetry although pit-to-car will remain banned. Teams will also be allowed to use stand-alone radio systems so long as they cannot transmit data and the FIA has free access to any voice transmissions.

There will be modifications to engine covers and rear wings for 2004 and 2005, with only two upper rear wing elements permitted. Track tests will be carried out with a standard wing before any decision is made for 2006, with a view to a package that produces Monza levels of downforce with Interlagos levels of drag. The Technical Working Group will also look into the elimination of side pod winglets.

After the wet tyre problems at Interlagos, Bridgestone and Michelin will be invited to make extreme-weather tyres available once again, with a tread depth and land/sea ratio specified by the FIA and available for use only when authorised by the race director. The governing body will also ensure that a wet capable of being used on a very wet track is clearly defined within the 2004 regulations.

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