F1 Strategy Group pushing through technical revolution for 2017, other changes planned as early as Belgian GP

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The FIA has issued a statement following the F1 Strategy Group meeting in Biggin Hill, England on Wednesday confirming its desire to push through changes for new technical regulations for the 2017 season.

After agreeing earlier this year that seismic changes were required to take the sport away from its current formula, the six-team body met with the FIA and Formula One Management to discuss further changes.

A ban on some driver aids including those used for race starts is planned as early as the Belgian Grand Prix in August, whilst tire selection and weekend format could be set to change for 2016.

Here is the statement in full from the FIA.

The Strategy Group met yesterday in Biggin Hill, as planned, to follow up on the package of measures proposed at the last meeting and assess new directions for the future of Formula 1. It was a very constructive meeting, which led to approval of important decisions and innovative evolutions.

Increased restrictions on driver aids and coaching received unanimous support and will be rapidly implemented, starting from this year’s Belgian Grand Prix – with a particular emphasis on race starts – and in 2016. These measures will bring back the driver in full control of the car, enhancing races’ excitement and unpredictability.

Following the Austrian GP, an overhaul of the power unit penalties has been unanimously agreed and will be submitted to the F1 Commission via an express fax vote for an adoption at the World Motorsport Council in Mexico City next week, together with changes to the exhaust system that will improve engine noise for 2016.

Furthermore, it was agreed to allow an extra power unit power driver in the first year to any new manufacturer entering the championship and, for the sake of fairness, the measure will apply retroactively to Honda for the 2015 season.

Mandate has been given to the FIA and FOM to propose a comprehensive set of measures for power unit development and cost of supply, including full review of the token system, increase in race fuel allowance, limits on the usage of engine dynamometers etc.

Increased freedom of choice for tire compounds has been confirmed and the modalities are being finalized with Pirelli for 2016.

A new set of regulations aimed at achieving faster and more aggressive looking cars for 2017, to include wider cars and wheels, new wings and floor shape and significantly increased aerodynamic downforce has been outlined and is currently being assessed by the teams.

Several exciting and innovative changes to the qualifying and race weekend formats have also been discussed and are being evaluated by FIA and FOM for a 2016 introduction.

Let’s go through that bit by bit.

The ban on some driver aids is something that has been coming for some time in F1. Last year, the sport tried to implement a blanket ban on information that can be given to drivers over their radios, but rolled it back to a partial ban.

One of the biggest desires for fans at the moment appears to be for a return to ‘back to basics’ racing, where drivers can truly display their skills and the best will rise to the top. This is all part of that push.

The change in how power unit penalties are applied was expected, particularly after McLaren racked up 50 places worth of grid drops in Austria. Although the extra power unit components will come in handy to Honda, the fact that it is already over its limit means it will matter little this season.

Changes to engine noise are, again, widely discussed. The sound of the V6 turbo engines clearly isn’t doing enough for the fans of the sport, and a louder F1 is one that would certainly improve the show.

Alterations to the way in which tires are selected and allocated have also been discussed in the past, even if Pirelli has expressed its uncertainty. It appears a compromise could be reached to please all parties, though.

The technical overhaul for 2017 is being pushed on with in a bid to make the cars look better and the racing more exciting. If it has the desired effect, then it would, of course, be beneficial. That said, the costs involved are likely to leave some of the smaller teams less impressed.

Finally, we have a change to the weekend format for 2016. This is perhaps the most exciting proposition, particularly if it is along the lines of NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton’s information.

Like it or not, the winds of change are blowing within Formula 1 at the moment.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III