F1 exploring further driver cooling systems.

Exploitation: New system has been Explored due to…

The FIA is looking into changing the sport’s technical regulations to incentivise teams to run a driver cooling system in extreme heat.

Yesterday, the World Motor Sport Council voted through changes that will allow teams to fit a scoop to the underside of the car’s survival cell.

“That will improve the cooling in the cockpit,” Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of single seater, told selected media including Speedcafe.

“That was a rejected idea from the teams previously, so that has now been approved.”

That has come in response to this year’s Qatar Grand Prix, which caught the sport by surprise with high temperatures and took a high toll on drivers.

The sport’s governing body consulted medical experts to understand “the correct parameters,” which relate to heat, humidity, and the combination of the two.

But there’s also some severity of tracks,” Tombazis added.

“Whether it’s a track with very heavy g-loading and so on like Qatar, or whether it’s a circuit with, generally speaking, slower corners like say Hungary where, even though sometimes it can be very hot, it’s never been as bad as we had in Qatar.

“So there’s some analysis there.”

More is to come, however, with the FIA intending to trigger an additional cooling package in certain conditions.

While commercial driver cooling products exist, and are heavily used in GT and saloon car racing, they are not employed in F1 as teams are unwilling to carry the additional weight given its impact on performance.

In response, the FIA is looking to introduce rules to incentivise them to do so.

“What we still haven’t put in as regulation but is a broad intention to have when the weather conditions exceed a certain level, to then get us, the FIA, to declare that the race is in those conditions and then to give an extra bit of weight for the cars – something like probably two kilos – which will be mandatory,” Tombazis revealed.

“And it’s mandatorily used for the purpose of cooling the driver.

“That will enable solutions such as cooling vests and these sorts of things to be fully investigated.

“We have wondered whether it would be best if we regulate what exactly would have to be fitted and we feel that if we start trying to standardise a system, the addendum and all of that would be quite a slow process.

“We feel if we give the teams, ‘you have two kilos, you must use it for this purpose’, it will be in their interest to do that because that will keep the drivers cool and focused and not lose any performance.”

Specifics are still being defined, but will likely see the mandatory weight be carried inside the cockpit to dissuade teams from attempting to use the system as ballast.

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