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Analysis

What are F1 2023's technical rules and why do they keep changing?

Following Formula 1’s rules revolution of 2022, there will be yet more changes to the technical regulations next season as the FIA tries to keep the teams in line.

2023 Proposal rules front view

2023 Proposal rules front view

Giorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

The frequency of changes is always heightened around the introduction of a major regulation shift, such as the one we’ve just had for 2022, which often results in amendments throughout the course of the year and for the following season.

The main changes for 2023 have centered on the floor of the cars, owing to the divisive nature of the teams when it comes to some cars porpoising and bouncing. Many of them feel they’re being changed for the wrong reasons.

PLUS: The complexities contributing to F1’s current bouncing storm

There has been a back-and-forth dialogue between the governing body and the 10 F1 constructors to find some common ground ahead of the adjustments, leading to the FIA softening its approach when compared with its initial recommendations.

It originally insisted on the outer portion of the floor being raised by 25mm, and more stringent load tests being applied in order that the floor doesn’t overtly flex. This would reduce the teams' ability to run the edge of the floor closer to the track’s surface and inherit greater aerodynamic performance.

As a compromise, the regulations have been altered to reflect a 15mm height increase at the outer edge of the floor for 2023, with no more than 5mm vertical deflection when a 250N load is applied in a downwards direction and no more than 5mm vertically when a 250N load is applied upwards.

For 2022 this has been 8mm and 12mm respectively and therefore requires the teams to build-in more stiffness to pass the requisite tests.

Changes to the geometry of the floor’s edge have also ensued to tidy up any loose ends that the governing body feel slipped through the net during 2022.

In a related move, the FIA has also reduced the number of holes required to measure conformity from six to four, with the two in the central section of the plank considered redundant.

Ferrari F1-75  floor

Ferrari F1-75 floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

What are the F1 2023 front wing changes?

The FIA has both given and taken away in terms of the front wing too, as measures have been taken to further restrict the design of the flap and endplate juncture.

This all but rules out the complex design introduced by Mercedes at the Canadian Grand Prix (below), which is expected to offer more ‘outwash’ than was originally intended when the new regulations were framed.

The teams will be given a little more freedom in terms of adjustability though, as currently the flaps are only able to have 35mm of adjustability, with the FIA granting 40mm from 2023 onwards.

Furthermore, the fillet radius between the elements and the brackets that can be used has been increased from 2mm to 4mm, a change that is shared with the rear wing too.

There’s been a change to the height of the rear wing tethers too, as they’ll need to be mounted 60mm higher than in 2022, with the FIA clearly learning from incidents that have occurred during the season.

Two further changes concern the mounting studs between the power unit and chassis, and the power unit and transmission, which will require a tensile strength greater than 100kn from next season. 

Mercedes W13 endplate comparison

Mercedes W13 endplate comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

What are the F1 2023 roll hoop changes?

Given the scale of Zhou Guanyu’s accident at the British Grand Prix, the continued quest for safety sees further changes made to the roll hoop’s design and the loads it must sustain increased too.

These new regulations will likely require some of the teams to redesign the roll hoop structure, owing to increased demands in its geometry 935mm above the reference plane. Any parts constructed above this must be able to withstand a 15g impact with the ground and be made from an abrasion resistant material.

Additionally, the roll hoop must now be able to sustain forces applied to it in a forward direction as well as the rearward forces it already had to achieve.

Alfa Romeo C42 of Zhou Guanyu after his crash

Alfa Romeo C42 of Zhou Guanyu after his crash

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What else is new for the F1 2023 rules?

The footage captured from the ‘visor cam’ has been met with universal praise and is set to become a staple of the broadcast going forward. The FIA has upped the designated number of camera positions from six to seven, including one to be fitted facing forward within the driver’s helmet.

Car weights will be fractionally reduced, with the pre-2022 minimum starting target mass of 796kg set to be reinstated. However, the minimum weight of the power unit has also increased, as some of the associated pipework will now be included within its perimeter.

In order to prevent a situation arising similar to ones seen this season, whereby the fuel is considered too cool, the regulations have been altered to accommodate a lower temperature threshold. 

The rule now states: “The fuel in a car must not be colder than the lowest of: ten degrees centigrade below ambient temperature, or ten degrees centigrade (previously twenty), at any time when the car is running after leaving the Competitor's designated garage area”.

The fuel density check will also reduce the tolerance between the fuel being used and the figure taken during pre-approval analysis from 0.25% to 0.15%, limiting further any scope to gain performance between the two.

And all fuel tanks will be required to have a pressure relief valve fitted to prevent over-pressurisation, whilst the maximum internal pressure exerted on the fuel bladder must not exceed 1.0 barG.

Ferrari F1-75 exhaust and wastegate pipework

Ferrari F1-75 exhaust and wastegate pipework

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Changes have also been made to the regulations regarding the exhaust and wastegate pipework, with a new clause added for 2023 that stipulates: “Any wastegate tailpipe(s) through which all the wastegate exit fluids pass must have an internal cross section less than 1500mm2, and all external surfaces must have minimal aerodynamic effect on the external air stream”.

Changes have also been made to the regulations that will permit teams to add debris fences to the rear brake duct scoop, in an effort to reduce any failures that might otherwise have occurred.

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