Formula One Technical Checks carried out by the FIA
1. Checks which are carried out prior to the start of the season:
A number of checks are carried out at Team's premises, or in approved testing centres, prior to the start of the season.
2. Checks which are carried out at every Event:
- Crash and structure testing:
Before use in an Event, all car types have to be subjected to three impact tests, one frontal, one side and one rear, as well as to a dynamic test on the collapsible steering column. Each car type also has to be subjected to a load test on the two roll structures and the side of the nose box.
Every chassis produced by each constructor also has to be subjected to five different static load tests.
All the above tests have to be carried out before the first Event, the first one normally taking place around the beginning of December.
- Software validation:
All computer systems on board the car, or which can be connected to the car, have to be validated before they can be used at an Event.
The software validation involves a complete check of all the source code of the computer programmes, including off-car units, to ensure that all aspects of the software comply with the Technical Regulations. The programmes are then copied and held by the FIA. Subsequently, when programmes are uploaded at race meetings they are compared with the reference copy to ensure no changes to the approved software have been made.
If a Team wishes to make changes to the software during the season a re-inspection has to take place prior to use.
When programmes are uploaded at a race meeting the copies are kept by the FIA indefinitely. The copies, which are kept, may be inspected in detail at anytime, including after the season has finished.
In addition to this all hardware has to be inspected and documented in order that all changes can be monitored during the season.
- Fuel approval:
In accordance with Article 19.7 of the Technical Regulations, all fuel used at an Event must have been approved by the FIA prior to use.
Each fuel supplier provides the FIA with a sample, or samples, which are then subjected to a complete analysis. The pre-event analysis comprises of a check on all physical properties (e.g. RON, MON, distillation, density, RVP etc.), analysis by gas chromatography (which provides a fingerprint) and analysis by mass spectrometry (which provides precise compositional data).
Once the fuel has been approved, a fingerprint of the fuel is then taken using the same machine that is taken to each race. In this way a precise match is possible when a fuel sample is taken at an Event.
- Initial scrutineering:
This consists of 56 safety checks and is carried out on every car, including T cars, between 10.00 and 16.00 on the day prior to first practice.
- Fuel analysis:
The FIA transport a mobile fuel testing laboratory to every Event in order that the conformity of any fuel sample taken could be established in less than three hours after the end of the race. All the fuel samples taken during the season were checked for density and analysed by gas chromatography. The specification of all fuels submitted for analysis and granted approval prior to the Event in question (see 1.3 above) are entered into a computer database which is capable of identifying whether a fuel analysed on site matches one which had been given prior approval.
- Checks carried out on electronic systems:
At every Event continual checks are made on the hardware installed on the cars. Such checks would typically include those on wiring looms, sensors, actuators, position and number of all electronic devices and spare connections on wiring looms. All the above must comply with the car layout diagram which was supplied to the FIA and verified prior to the start of the season (see 1.2 above).
Furthermore, if Teams who are using computer systems, which have been verified, have carried out any changes between Events, the FIA have to be notified of the precise detail of any such changes. Inspection at source code level must then be carried out, sometimes at the Event; all new reference copies made are again retained by the FIA in order that correct comparisons can be made with the updated version.
At every event the FIA Software Inspectors seal all electronic units and these seals are randomly checked during the entire event.
- Tyre checks:
Before the start of the Event all tyres for use during the Event have been allocated to the drivers and stored in a bar-code system to make sure that the total number of tyres per car is not exceeded.
All tyres are checked with a bar-code reader every time a car leaves the pits.
- Driver checks:
The minimum weight limit of 600kg includes the weight of the driver therefore his weight is only relevant when it is added to the weight of the car at the end of the race when the driver may have left Parc Fermé to go to the podium for example.
At all Events all drivers are weighed after the race.
At the start of the season all drivers, and any new driver during the season, are checked to ensure they are able to satisfy the requirements of Articles 13.1; 13.3 and 15.2.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. This involves being able to remove the steering wheel and get out of the car within 5 seconds and then replace the steering wheel in a total of 10 seconds, being able to raise his knees past the plane of the steering wheel and being able to sit normally in the car with his head more than seven centimetres below a line between the two roll structures.
- Weighing procedure:
In accordance with Article 82 of the Sporting Regulations, weight checks are carried out on 25% of cars, which enter the pit lane during the qualifying practice session.
- Other checks during qualifying:
After the cars have been weighed they are always subjected to a number of additional checks which are carried out using a flat surface onto which the cars are pushed. This surface has weighing scales built in and is used to routinely check all the bodywork dimensions listed below at the same time as the weighing procedure. The whole process, including weighing is normally carried out in around two minutes.
- Overall car width (Art.3.3)
- Width ahead of the rear wheel centre line (Art.3.4)
- Width behind the rear wheel centre line (Art.3.5)
- Overall height (Art.3.6)
- Front bodywork height (Art.3.7)
- Height in front of the rear wheels (Art.3.8)
- Height between the rear wheels (Art.3.9)
- Height behind the rear wheel centre line (Art.3.10)
- Rear wing blockage (Art.3.10)
- Bodywork around the front wheels (Art.3.11)
- Conformity of the 'flat bottom' (Art.3.12)
- Thickness of the skid block (Art.3.13)
- Skid block fasteners (Art.3.13)
- Front bodywork overhang (Art.3.14)
- Rear bodywork overhang (Art.3.14)
- Flexibility of bodywork (Art.3.15)
- Upper bodywork dimensions (Art.3.16)
A number of other checks are carried out at the same time as the weighing procedure and bodywork dimension check, amongst which are:
- Driver's knee movement (Art.13.3)
- Height of driver's head (Art 15.2.2)
- Pedal positions (Art.15.4.2/3)
- Pre race checks
The thickness of the brake discs is checked on all cars prior the race. It is also checked that all
cars have fitted their tyres when the five minutes signal is given.
- Post race checks:
After the race all classified cars are weighed and a number of checks, chosen from the above
lists, are carried out on the first six cars finished the race. Additionally, after the race a number
of random checks are also carried out.