2008 Season Preview

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2008 Season Preview

Post by Ross on Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:39 am


There are several major changes to Formula One for this year, in both the rules and regulation side of the sport and the racing side. Possibly the most noticed of all being the ban on driver aids including engine braking and traction control. To highlight the main changes imposed for 2008, I collected information from FIA Formula 1 Rules and Regulations, and F1 Racing magazine.

Technological Regulation Changes:

Traction Control
Traction control is to be banned at any FIA Formula One event, including tests, Grand Prix weekends and publicity events, from 1st January 2008. The standard Electronic Control Unit (ECU) specified by the FIA pre-season, will control and enforce the ban of traction control as one of the forbidden driver aids. No teams may use a substitute to gain traction at the start of a race, etc.

Article 9.3; Traction control
No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive throttle demand by the driver. Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.

Engine Braking
Again, after a large FIA survey in 2006, it was decided that driver aids such as engine braking should be forbidden. This could either be a step backwards in technological advancements or a step forwards in finding the absolute finest driving talent in the world. To find out we'll have to wait until March 16th.

Article 11.1.3; Engine braking
Any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the brake system is forbidden.

Four Race Gearbox
From 2008 a driver is allowed to use only one gearbox for four consecutive races:

Article 28.6.1; Each driver may use no more than one gearbox for four consecutive Events in which his team competes. Should a driver use a replacement gearbox he will drop five places on the starting grid at that Event each time a further gearbox is used.

Should a driver not be able to race at a given Grand Prix weekend, the driver's replacement must use the same gearbox as the absent driver has and will use at the surrounding races.

Sporting Regulation Changes:

The layout for qualifying has been altered once again for 2008, eradicating the tedious and wasteful fuel-burn phase of Q3. Excluding the night race in Singapore and race events with a pre-agreed altered start time, qualifying will take place at the following times:

Article 33.1; The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.
From 14.00 to 14.20 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest six cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.Lap times achieved by the sixteen remaining cars will then be deleted.
From 14.27 to 14.42 (Q2) the sixteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest six cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted.
From 14.50 to 15.00 (Q3) the ten remaining cars will be permitted on the track.

This means that instead of 2007's 15:15:15 layout 2008 will have a 20:15:10 minute layout respectively. As in 2007, there will be a delay of seven minutes between Q1 and Q2, and a further eight minutes' delay between Q2 and Q3.
The shortened Q3 will likely mean that cars will not have to queue at the end of the pit lane from pressure to get as many laps as possible completed.

Furthermore, should a driver break down on track during qualifying, he will not be allowed to take further part in the qualifying session.

Article 33.2; Any driver whose car stops on the circuit during the qualifying session will not be permitted to take any
further part in the session. Any car which stops on the circuit during the qualifying session, and which is
returned to the pits before the end of the session, will be held in parc ferme until the end of the session.

Spare Cars
The time when Senna used to cheekily sneak off in the safety car to go and get in the spare car before the restart is no more.

Article 28.1; Each competitor may have no more than two cars available for use at any one time during an Event. Any partially assembled survival cell will be deemed to be a car in this context if it is fitted with an engine, any front suspension, bodywork, radiators, oil tanks or heat exchangers.

As of 2008 teams may only have two assembled cars at a Grand Prix weekend. They are allowed to bring any spare components but if they are to be used they will have to assemble them or fit them into the driver's original car.

Grid Line-up
The official driver entry list is as follows:

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
1 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN)
2 Felipe Massa (BRA)

BMW Sauber F1 Team
3 Nick Heidfeld (GER)
4 Robert Kubica (POL)

ING Renault F1 Team
5 Fernando Alonso (SPA)
6 Nelson Piquet Jr (BRA)

AT&T Williams Toyota F1
7 Nico Rosberg (GER)
8 Kazuki Nakajima (JAP)

Red Bull Racing
9 David Coulthard (GBR)
10 Mark Webber (AUS)

Panasonic Toyota Racing
11 Jarno Trulli (ITA)
12 Timo Glock (GER)

Scuderia Toro Rosso
14 Sebastian Vettel (GER)
15 Sebastien Bourdais (FRA)

Honda Racing F1
16 Jenson Button (GBR)
17 Rubens Barrichello (BRA)

Super Aguri Honda
18 Takuma Sato (JAP)*
19 Anthony Davidson (GBR)*

Force India F1
20 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA)
21 Adrian Sutil (GER)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
22 Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
23 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN)

*To be confirmed

Test Drivers
Every F1 team needs to test, be it on the circuit or in multi-million dollar wind tunnels. This is the provisional test driver entry list:

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Luca Badoer
Marc Genι

BMW Sauber F1 Team
Christian Klien
Marko Asmer

ING Renault F1 Team
Lucas di Grassi
Romain Grosjean
Sakon Yamamoto

AT&T Williams Toyota F1
Nico Hulkenberg

Red Bull Racing
Sebastien Buemi

Panasonic Toyota Racing
Kamui Kobayashi

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Honda Racing F1 Team
Alex Wurz

Super Aguri Honda

Force India F1
Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Pedro de la Rosa
Gary Paffett

In Depth
Key team changes

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Car F2008
Engine 056
Ins 'n Outs
Michael Schumacher – Consultant.
OUT Jean Todt (to CEO at Ferrari), Nigel Stepney.
Team Principal Stefano Domenicalli, Luca di Montezemolo.
Technical Director Aldo Costa
Race Engineers Chris Dyer (RAI), Rob Smedley (MAS).

BMW Sauber F1 Team

Engine BMW V8 P86/8
Ins 'n Outs
Marko Asmer – Test driver, Christian Klien – Test driver, Christoph Zimmermann – Chief designer, Antonio Cuquerella – race engineer, Ossi Oikarinen - chief test engineer, T-Systems – Sponsor, Cadence – Sponsor, Sika – supplier, OZ – supplier.
OUT Timo Glock – test driver, Jorg Zander – chief designer, Dirk de Beer – chief aerodynamicist.
Team Principal Mario Theissen
Technical Director Willy Rampf
Race Engineers Giampaolo Dall'Ara (HEI), Antonio Cuquerella (KUB).

ING Renault F1 Team

Engine RS27
Ins 'n Outs
Fernando Alonso – Driver, Nelson Piquet Jr – Driver (from test driver), Romain Grosjean – test driver, Lucas di Grassi – test driver, Sakon Yamamoto – test driver, Dirk de Beer – head or aero, Avus – supplier (wheels), Gauteng – sponsor.
OUT Giancarlo Fisichella – driver, Heikki Kovalainen – driver, Hanjin, sponsor.
Team Principal Flavio Briatore
Technical Director Bob Bell
Race Engineers David Greenwood, Simon Rennie, Rιmi Taffin (ALO), Phil Charles, Ayao Komatsu, Ricardo Penteado (PQJ)

AT&T Williams Toyota F1

Engine Toyota RVX-08
Ins 'n Outs
Kazuki Nakajima – Driver, Nico Hulkenberg – test driver, McGregor – supplier (clothing).
OUT Alex Wurz – driver, Narain Karthikeyan – test driver, Loic Bigois – chief aero, Puma – supplier (clothes), Qinetiq – sponsor.
Team Principal Frank Williams
Technical Director Sam Michael
Race Engineers Tony Ross (ROS), Xevi Pujolar (NAK).

Red Bull Racing

Engine Renault RS27
Ins 'n Outs
Sebastien Buemi – test driver, Terry Brice – manager of tech, Geoff Willis – technical director, Wings For Life – corporate partner [charity].
OUT Robert Doornbos – test driver, Keith Saunt – chief operations mng, Mark Smith – technical director, Claudio Balestri – race engineer, Metro – sponsor.
Team Principal Christian Horner
Technical Director Geoff Willis
Race Engineers Guillaume Rocquelin (COU), Ciaron Pilbeam (WEB).

Panasonic Toyota Racing

Engine RVX-08
Ins 'n Outs
Timo Glock – driver, Kamui Kobayashi – test driver, Wurth – sponsor.
OUT Ralf Schumacher – driver, Franck Montagny – test driver, Ian Hall – designer, BMC – sponsor, Fly Kingfisher [Airlines] – sponsor.
Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina
Technical Director Dieter Gass
Race Engineers Gianluca Pisanello (TRU), Francesco Nenci (GLO).

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Engine Ferrari 056
Ins 'n Outs
Sebastien Bourdais – Driver, Claudio Balestri – race engineer, OZ – supplier [wheels].
OUT Vitantonio Liuzzi – driver, John McGill – race engineer, Avus – supplier [wheels]
Team Principal Franz Tost
Technical Director Giorgio Ascanelli
Race Engineers Riccardo Adami (VET), Claudio Balestri (BOU).

Honda Racing F1 Team

Engine RA808E
Ins 'n Outs
Ross Brawn – team principle, Alex Wurz – test driver, Jorg Zander – dpt technical director, Steve Clark – head of race and test engineering, Loic Bigois – head of aero, John Owen - senior aero, Francois Martinet – senior aero, Peter Coysh - senior aero, David Butler – marketing manager, Jamie Shaw – environmental engineer, Mark Ellis – chief test engineer.
OUT Christian Klien – test driver, Mariano Alperin-Bruvera – chief aero, Alastair Gibson – chief mechanic.
Team Principal Ross Brawn
Technical Director Shuhei Nakamoto
Race Engineers Andrew Shovlin (BUT), Jock Clear (BAR).

Super Aguri Honda

Engine RA807E
Ins 'n Outs
OUT Mark Ellis – race engineer, Antonio Cuquerella – race engineer, SS United – sponsor.
Team Principal Aguri Suzuki
Technical Director Mark Preston
Race Engineers Richard Connell (car 18), TBA (car 19).

Force India F1

Engine Ferrari 056
Ins 'n Outs
Giancarlo Fisichella – driver, Tonio Liuzzi – test driver, Vijay Mallya – owner, Mark Smith – design director, Ian Hall – project manager, Kingfisher Airlines – sponsor.
OUT Sakon Yamamoto – driver, Markus Winklehock – test driver, Spyker – owner, Rhino's – sponsor.
Team Principal Colin Kolles
Technical Director Mike Gascoyne
Race Engineers Bradley Joyce – (FIS), Jody Eggindton (SUT).

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Engine Mercedes FO108V
Ins 'n Outs
Heikki Kovalainen – driver, Martin Budkowski – senior aero.
OUT Fernando Alonso – driver, Mike Coughlan – chief designer, Steve Clark – chief test engineer, BAE Systems – tech partner, Lisa Dennis – ex-wife. (Sorry)
Team Principal Ron Dennis
Technical Director Martin Whitmarsh
Race Engineers Phil Prew (HAM), Mark Slade (KOV).

In case you haven't already figured out the changes from last year here is a brief summary.

- Spyker have become Force India after having been bought out for the third time in two years. Vijay Mallya, the new owner, wants to publicise the sport in India.
- Renault hope all new driver line-up of two time World Champion Fernando Alonso and rookie Nelson Piquet Jr will bring title glory back to the Enstone-based squad.
- The team released Finnish Heikki Kovalainen and veteran Giancarlo Fisichella, both of whom found a race drive elsewhere, the latter joining the new Force India team.
- Kovy went to McLaren to join Lewis Hamilton in a 2008 McLaren title bid.
- Adrian Sutil, in his second Grand Prix season, has stayed with Vijay Mallya's team, formerly Spyker.
- Ralf Schumacher quit Toyota, effectively resigning into retirement, with no 2008 drive.
- Toyota replaced the six-time race winner with GP2 champion Timo Glock, who will be racing against Jarno Trulli. It is a blend of fresh talent and 11 years of experience.
- Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi were relatively unimpressive in their two years with Toro Rosso, the former being fired in mid 2007. This opened a door for Sebastian Vettel who immediately impressed, securing himself a permanent drive alongside french rookie Sebastien Bourdais for this year. Liuzzi has been signed as a tester for Force India.
- Williams' Alexander Wurz announced his retirement effective immediately after last year's Chinese Grand Prix. Satoru Nakajima's son Kazuki filled his place for the final race in Brazil and then signed a deal to race for the Grove team in 2008. He will race alongside Nico Rosberg, his highly rated team mate.
- Over the winter, Wurz signed a test and reserve driver role for Honda, who are looking for a comeback after a dismal 2007.
- Super Aguri have yet to even confirm their entry to the 2008 season due to an ongoing ownership dilemma. Should they enter, their aspirations are not looking good. The chances are they will be stuck with Honda's slug of a car from 2007, and over the winter they have had to let go multiple staff from their already understaffed factory in Leafield.

This is the published Formula One official race calendar. It is an historic one too - featuring the first ever F1 night race and the first time two races are to be held in Spain.

Mar 16 - Melbourne, Australia
Mar 23 - Sepang, Malaysia
Apr 6 - Sakhir, Bahrain
Apr 27 - Barcelona, Spain
May 11 - Istanbul Park, Turkey
May 25 - Monte Carlo, Monaco
June 8 - Montreal, Canada
June 22 - Magny-Cours, France
July 6 - Silverstone, Great Britain
July 20 - Hockenheim, Germany
Aug 3 - Hungaroring, Hungary
Aug 24 - Valencia, Europe
Sep 7 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Sep 14 - Monza, Italy
Sep 28 - Singapore*
Oct 12 - Fuji, Japan
Oct 19 - Shanghai, China
Nov 2 - Interlagos, Brazil
* Night race[/size]

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Registration date : 2008-02-23

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