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2007 Changes...


By Renault F1
December 6 2006

More than any other season in recent memory, 2007 marks a changing of the guard in Formula 1. Here’s a guide to what’s going to be changing for next year...

New faces, new colours, new rules…

 

 

 

New faces

 

In Formula 1 terms, 2007 will be Year 1 AS (After Schumacher). The seven-time champion’s retirement leaves the sport entering a new era after a decade in which the German has been competing at the very highest level.

 

Coupled with his departure are fresh faces at the top teams, as Renault, Ferrari and McLaren both change at least one driver for 2007. Renault will field Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen, and you can read their thoughts on maintaining championship success elsewhere in this press pack. Fisichella will seek to capitalise on his experience with the team in his third season as a Renault driver, while Kovalainen has completed nearly 50,000km of testing in preparation for his Grand Prix debut – and will be raring to go in March.

 

Fernando Alonso will be the sport’s sole world champion (and a double champion at that) as he finds his feet at McLaren, while Kimi Raikkonen will attempt to fill the void left by Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. What’s more, both Ferrari and McLaren are in the process of renewing their technical structure for 2007, following major departures and reorganisations.

 

Continuity is the name of the game at Honda, BMW and Toyota – which could each prove to be outsider bets. Only in January will we begin to see which drivers have a potential race-winning package in their hands…

 

Behind the scenes, Renault F1 Team will rely on a team of test drivers, with Brazilians Ricardo Zonta and Nelson Piquet Jr. bringing a blend of technical experience and youthful promise to the double world champions.

 

 

New colours

 

The end of 2006 marked the end of an era for the Renault F1 Team in terms of sponsorship too. After thirteen seasons as title sponsor first of Benetton and then the Renault F1Team, Mild Seven departed the sport on a high: as world champions, taking their sixth and seventh crowns in thirteen years.

 

Their departure means that the distinctive light blue of Mild Seven will leave the sport with them… to be replaced by ING Group.

 

Beginning in the 2007 season, the ING Renault F1 Team will present a new face to Formula 1, an impact that will be boosted by title sponsorship of the opening race of the season in Melbourne, Australia.

 

ING Group is a respected global financial institution, whose activities include banking, insurance and asset management in over 50 markets. Their arrival in Formula 1 will be accompanied by

an active exploitation programme, which will aim to build brand awareness on a global level. The Renault F1 Team is proud to welcome this prestigious new company to the sport.

 

Renault’s F1 presence will also be reinforced through an engine supply agreement with Red Bull Racing. Four Renault-powered cars will be on the grid in 2007, powered by the homologated version of the RS26 V8 engine. This continues a long tradition of equitable customer engine supply by Renault dating back to 1983.

 

 

New rules

 

As is customary, the Technical and Sporting Regulations have been amended for the new season. Here’s a summary of what’s been changed from 2006 to 2007:

 

Single tyre supplier

Bridgestone will be the sole tyre supplier in Formula 1 from 2007 to 2010. For the 2007 season, they will supply each team with identical specifications and quantities during the season. At a Grand Prix weekend, this translates to a ‘hard’ and a ‘soft’ compound. Tyres will be supplied in accordance with the revised Sporting Regulations, which provide for a total of 14 sets of dry weather tyres per driver over the race weekend: four sets for Friday only, and 10 for the rest of the weekend.

 

Voluntary Testing Agreement

The Formula 1 teams have unanimously agreed to the voluntary early introduction of the testing agreement scheduled for 2008. This limits each team to an annual limit of 30,000 km (against Renault F1 Team’s current annual total of around 50,000 km).

 

Homologated Engines

From 2007, Formula 1 will enter an era of minimal engine development activity. The engines used will be limited to a maximum of 19,000 rpm, and will have as their basis the V8 units that had completed the two-race cycle of China/Japan or Japan/Brazil according to engine usage cycles. These engines can be re-tuned to a limit of 19,000 rpm according to a list of modifications that must be submitted to, and approved by the FIA, by mid-December. All competitors will use V8 engines in 2007.

 

Engine Usage

The two weekends per engine formula will continue to pertain in 2007, but its application will be different. The ‘race weekend’ in terms of engine use will now only begin on Saturday, not Friday, thus excluding the newly-extended Friday free practice sessions.

 

Grand Prix Friday Format

The format for the Friday of Grand Prix weekends has been altered in a bid to encourage increased on-track action during this part of the race weekend. The two free practice sessions will now last for 90 minutes each rather than one hour, with race weekend timings still to be confirmed. Each team is allowed to run a maximum of two cars during these sessions, but these cars can be driven by either the race drivers or the nominated third driver.

 

Sporting Regulations

Other detail changes have been made to the Sporting Regulations concerning Safety Car protocol and the imposition of penalties by the Stewards of the Meeting (they can now impose grid position penalties in addition to time penalties).

 

Technical Regulations

As is customary, the safety regulations have been further refined for 2007. These include an improved frontal crash test, the introduction of a cockpit GPS marshalling system which will alert drivers to on-track dangers and a new ‘accident severity indicator’ to indicate the severity of an accident to medical rescue crews.

 

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