10 Formula 1 Rules You Didn't Know Drivers Have to Follow

10 Formula 1 Rules You Didn’t Know Drivers Have to Follow

Most of us enjoy racing, whether it’s on the track or on the road, but few of us know all the rules behind what makes racing so competitive. While Formula 1 seems like an easy sport to play because of the high-tech machines and experienced drivers, each driver actually has to follow strict rules during each race that even most spectators don’t know about! For example, do you know why you never see pit stops longer than 1 minute? Read on to learn 10 Formula 1 rules you didn’t know drivers had to follow!

1. All Drivers Must Be Licensed

All drivers must be licensed by the FIA for a set amount of time before being able to drive at speeds of over 80km/h. They must also have had a racing license for at least two years, and have been driving in races for at least three years. Along with having the correct licenses, drivers are not allowed to drink any alcohol 12 hours before competing and there is a zero-tolerance drug policy. Any driver caught breaking these rules will be fined or disqualified from racing. The FIA will revoke their race license if they do not pay their fines. 

There are a number of different types of penalties that can be handed out depending on what rule has been broken. If they get penalized they can either lose points or incur penalty points which then lead to penalties like fines, disqualification, and suspension. Points count towards the end-of-season standings while penalty points only last one year before expiring.

2. There Is A Minimum Weight Limit

In order to make sure that the car is as light as possible, there is a weight limit that drivers have to abide by. The maximum weight of the car cannot be more than 701kg (1,543lbs) and there are strict rules about the driver’s weight. It’s not just what they weigh when they get in their car – it also includes all of their protective gear and equipment. The Drivers Can Only Use One Pair Of Wet Weather Tyres During A Race: Teams only have one set of wet weather tires for every race day.

3. The car must be within certain dimensions

Formula One drivers are always pushing their limits. They’re constantly trying to go faster and faster, taking risks in an attempt to win the race. But there are certain rules they have to follow for them not to get disqualified from the game. For example, the car must be within certain dimensions such as height, width, and length. It must also weigh less than 700 kilograms when empty. The tires can only have a certain amount of wear on them, and all aspects of the car must be able to withstand high speeds and sudden changes in direction. There are so many other rules that drivers have to follow!

10 Formula 1 Rules You Didn't Know Drivers Have to Follow

4. Tires Must Be Approved

Formula 1 drivers must use a type of tire that has been approved by the FIA. This is done to keep the costs low for drivers and also have a level playing field. Approved tires are checked before each race, and if they’re found not to be up to standard then they can be replaced. The same goes for any changes made to the car itself:  If these types of changes are made, approval must be sought from the FIA for them to be used on the track. For example, some teams will cover their cars with stickers or paint to make it difficult for other teams to copy what they’ve done. For safety reasons, this isn’t allowed during a race so if it’s discovered during the inspection process.

5. Each Driver Is Only Allowed So Many Engines Per Season

Each driver is only allowed so many engines per season, with a limit of four per year. This means that drivers need to be careful about how they use their engines during the race. Drivers are also only allowed so many tires each year, with a limit of two sets for practice and qualifying. Each set has eight tires, making 12 tires in total for the whole year. They’re allowed one extra set for the race if they need it. Each team is limited to six power units in total (including both cars) throughout the season. If more than six, then a grid penalty will occur. If more than 10 engines are used throughout a season, then another grid penalty will happen. If more than 20 sets of tires have been used over the course of a year (practice sessions included), then another grid penalty will happen as well.

6. A Driver Must Start The Race In The Car In Which He/she Qualified

The most notable rule drivers have to follow is that they must start the race in the car in which they qualified. This rule has been enforced for quite some time and is a way of guaranteeing fair competition. If a driver qualifies in car A, he or she must start the race from that car. The only exception is if the driver’s starting position on the grid is so far back that driving Car A would not allow him or her to reach it before the green flag drops. There are three ways this can happen: 

The first is if the driver is at least four rows behind his/her qualifying position. 

10 Formula 1 Rules You Didn't Know Drivers Have to Follow

The second is if the difference between where he/she qualified and his/her assigned spot on the grid exceeds five positions. 

Finally, a driver will be allowed to change cars as long as he or she has completed all compulsory laps during qualifying (i.e., one timed lap).

7. A Driver May Not Drive In A Dangerous Or Reckless Manner

Formula 1 drivers are monitored by a team of stewards who enforce the rules. If a driver is judged to have driven in a dangerous or reckless manner, they may be penalized by being given a time penalty, drive-through penalty, five seconds added to their total race time, exclusion from the race results, or disqualification from the event. A Driver May Not Drive A Car That Is Unsafe: The car must not contain any part which is likely to cause injury if it were struck by another car. A Driver Must Drive At A Speed Such That He Is Always In Full Control Of His Car: Otherwise he may be penalized with a stop-and-go penalty.

8. A Driver May Not Obstruct Another Driver

One of the most important rules a driver must follow is not to obstruct another driver. This means that if one car is on the inside line going into a turn and another car is on the outside lane, then the outside lane driver has right of way. The inside lane driver cannot make any sudden moves or change lanes without signaling, otherwise, they risk being penalized. If there are two drivers in front of you at an intersection and you want to go straight through, do not try to cut them off; this is also considered an obstruction. If your team leader instructs you to come in for a pit stop while there are still cars on the track ahead of you, don’t just pass them; this could lead to disqualification from the race as well as penalties for your team leader.

9. A Driver Must Obey All Flags And Signals

F1 drivers are in the spotlight, so they must obey all flags and signals. If a driver fails to do so, he can be disqualified or incur a time penalty. For example, if a driver enters the pit lane when it is closed for safety reasons, his time will be penalized by 10 seconds for each lap he drives in the pit lane before rejoining the race track. 

There are also other rules that drivers must follow. If a driver receives more than three black flags during an event, he will receive a 5-second time penalty. A black flag indicates there’s an incident on the course, like if something happened to the car.  The FIA (International Automobile Federation) sets these regulations because they want everyone to have equal opportunities.

10. A Driver Must Attend All Briefings And Debriefings

A driver is obligated to attend all briefings and debriefings in order to ensure he has the latest updates on track conditions and any changes in FIA rules. If a driver doesn’t show up for a meeting, they will be penalized. It’s important that drivers make themselves available at all times during the race weekend so they are in the loop when it comes to safety concerns or rule changes. Failing to show up can result in a hefty fine as well as exclusion from the event if deemed necessary. 

There’s also no excuse for not knowing what you’re doing when it comes to communication equipment – which includes radio communications, and hand signals:  Without being able to communicate effectively with their team, drivers have an increased risk of injury or death.

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