Skip to main content

Rules of the road: F1 changes explained

March 19, 2012 -- Updated 0939 GMT (1739 HKT)
The 2012 Formula One season sees the introduction of a four-hour limit for races, following last year's rain-delayed marathon in Canada. Charlie Whiting, the FIA's race director, explained the decision, telling the sport's official website: "Should four hours elapse during a future race, drivers will receive a signal telling them they have one more lap before the checkered flag." The 2012 Formula One season sees the introduction of a four-hour limit for races, following last year's rain-delayed marathon in Canada. Charlie Whiting, the FIA's race director, explained the decision, telling the sport's official website: "Should four hours elapse during a future race, drivers will receive a signal telling them they have one more lap before the checkered flag."
HIDE CAPTION
To the four
An exhausted option
Nose job?
Crash tests
Going off track
A lot of hot air?
Safety first
Tire-some
On the defensive
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 2012 Formula One season begins this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix
  • The sport's governing body have come up with new rules and amended existing ones
  • Many of the cars for the new campaign feature a dramatic stepped-nose design
  • Grands prix in 2012 will have a maximum time limit of four hours

(CNN) -- For even the sport's most ardent fans, Formula One can be confusing -- it is governed by a set of ever-evolving rules dominated by talk of technical specifications.

So if you are a sports enthusiast who is considering checking out the race action when the 2012 season begins in Australia on Sunday, it is more than likely you will have a few questions.

Posers such as, "How long can a race go on for?" Or, "Why do they use so many tires?" Or maybe even, "Why does the front of the car look so weird?"

Can anyone catch Red Bull Racing?

Some of the changes are more technical, the main one involving exhaust diffusion -- a big bone of contention in the past two seasons.

In the gallery above, CNN has attempted to explain and simplify the host of rule changes which have been brought in ahead of the new campaign so you can fully appreciate all of the elite motorsport's thrills and spills.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN ARABIC BY SUHEIL HOWAYEK: (FILES) Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna adjusts his rear view mirror in the pits 01 May 1994 before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna died after crashing in the seventh lap. Some 45 drivers, including Senna and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, have been killed during Formula One races whose tracks are dubbed by some as the 'circuits of death.' AFP PHOTO/JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU (Photo credit should read JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
ADVERTISEMENT