The biggest change to the schedule of proceedings for the 2016 F1 season is the addition of a new race in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The race will pick up the mantle of the European Grand Prix. (Though not a member of the European Union, the former Soviet republic is part of the broader Council of Europe, and straddles the divide between Europe and Asia.) The German Grand Prix will also return to the calendar for next year, though it has yet to be announced whether it will be held at Hockenheim or the Nürburgring (or somewhere else for that matter).
Though the championship will still kick off in Australia, it has been pushed back from March until early April to make for the latest start to the season in decades. A number of the races have also been paired up, with Australia running back-to-back (one weekend after the next) with Shanghai, Bahrain with Russia, Britain (shifted to avoid conflict with Wimbledon) with Austria, Germany with Hungary, Belgium with Italy, Singapore with Malaysia, and the US with Mexico. The remaining races on the expanded 21-race calendar (including Spain, Monaco, Canada, Azerbaijan, Japan, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi) are preceded and followed by at least one week's buffer. The calendar is, however, listed as "provisional," and could be subject to change.
At the same meeting, the WMSC also granted new F1 engine suppliers (like Honda) an extra power unit allotment for each driver, and amended the rules required for obtaining the Super License necessary to race in F1. Though the Formula E championship still does not count as a qualifying series, its champion will be automatically granted a Super License, while every driver in the electric racing series will be required to obtain a new e-License. The council also approved next season's Formula E calendar, including a new race in Paris (instead of Monaco) and the return of races in China, Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, Long Beach, Berlin, Moscow, and a double-header once again in London. (The slot previously held by Miami is listed as TBD.)
Among the various other changes the council approved is a shift in regulations for the World Rally Championship. Starting in 2017, competitors will see their maximum output increased to 380 horsepower thanks to revised turbo restrictions. The bodywork regulations are also being tweaked to include a bigger rear wing, more freedom to design the front bumper, a wider track, lower weight, and a new electronic differential. New regulations were also approved for the LMP2 class at Le Mans, in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and in the United SportsCar Championship, with more powerful 600hp engines to be supplied by one manufacturer and chassis by one of four suppliers.
Friday, 10 July 2015, Mexico City
The FIA concluded its World Motor Sport Council meeting today in Mexico City.
The meeting was held as part of the FIA Sport Conference 2015, which also included the FIA American Congress, and was organised by the Mexican ASN, the Organizaciόn Mexicana del Deporte Automovilístico Internacional (OMDAI).
During the Council meeting, the following decisions were taken:
FIA Formula One World Championship
The WMSC has approved the rule adjustments proposed by the F1 Strategy Group and approved by the F1 Commission. These are:
- The simplification of the power unit penalties, ensuring that the most a driver can be penalised is to be demoted to the rear of the grid – this will eliminate penalties during the race for these infractions.
- New power unit manufacturers to F1 will receive an extra power unit for each driver to use throughout Grands Prix for the season, bringing the total to five – one more than the existing power unit suppliers. This will be applied retrospectively to Honda.
These changes to the sporting regulations will come into force with immediate effect.
The provisional calendar for the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship was approved:
April 3 Australia
April 10 China
April 24 Bahrain
May 1 Sochi
May 15 Spain
May 29 Monaco
June 12 Canada
June 26 UK
July 3 Austria
July 17 Baku
July 31 Germany
August 7 Hungary
August 28 Belgium
September 4 Italy
September 18 Singapore
September 25 Malaysia
October 9 Japan
October 23 USA (Austin)
October 30 Mexico
November 13 Brazil
November 27 Abu Dhabi
The WMSC approved the update of the Super Licence regulations with a view to:
- Increasing flexibility for drivers having qualified for a Super Licence, but do not have the opportunity to race in Formula One. These drivers will now keep this possibility for three years (eg. typical F1 test driver situation)
- Enlarging the list of Series included in the Super Licence point system following numerous requests from series for inclusion
- Adjusting of points given to some series already included to better reflect the strength of series.
- Granting the champion of the FIA Formula E Championship with a Super Licence, although the Championship is not part of the points system.
FIA Formula E Championship
The WMSC approved the establishing of an FIA e-Licence, which will be mandatory for any Driver wanting to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship.
In order to qualify for the e-Licence, the following is required:
- A specific FIA training session on the most important points of electrical safety, technical and sporting aspects of the competition
- To have accumulated in the previous three years at least 20 points of the FIA points system used to qualify for the F1 Super Licence, or to have previously held an F1 Super Licence, or to have participated in at least three races of the previous FIA Formula E Championship.
The 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship calendar was approved as follows:
Round Date Country ePrix
1 17 October 2015 China Beijing
2 7 November 2015 Malaysia Putrajaya
3 19 December 2015 Uruguay** Punta del Este**
4 6 February 2016 Argentina** Buenos Aires**
5 19 March 2016 TBD TBD
6 2 April 2016 USA Long Beach
7 23 April 2016 France Paris
8 21 May 2016 Germany Berlin
9 4 June 2016 Russia Moscow
10 & 11 TBD United Kingdom London
* All events remain subject to FIA track homologation
FIA World Rally Championship
The principles of the technical and homologation regulations for the 2017-2019 WRC car were approved by the World Motor Sport Council. The intention behind the new regulations is to produce a car with a far more dynamic and distinct appearance that exhibits character and diversity. The highlights are:
- Powered increased to 380hp
- 36mm maximum diameter for the turbo restrictor
- Maximum 2.5b absolute turbo pressure
- Free zone defined around the body shell of the production car to create a maximum WRC car width of 1875mm and greater overhang front and rear
- Greater freedom on the lateral parts of the front bumper, with potential for additional aero devices ahead of the front wheels. Openings may also be cut-out on the fender surface
- Bigger and more visible fixed rear wing
The overall weight of the car will be reduced by 25kg, there will be a return to an electronically-controlled centre differential and the overall homologated length of the car must be greater than or equal to 3.9 metres.
FIA World Endurance Championship
The WMSC approved the 2017 Draft Technical Regulations for the LM P2 Prototype class, as drafted in conjunction with IMSA and ACO. The Technical Regulations include:
- Four selected suppliers of the coupe chassis for LM P2 regulations
- A single engine supply, currently at tender
- A more powerful engine, up to 600hp from 2017
The dates for the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held on 18 to 19 June 2016.
FIA World Touring Car Championship
The final round of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship in Qatar will now be held on 26-27 November at Losail.
The event has been moved due to a conflicting local event. The Friday date was requested as it is part of Qatar's weekend, and to avoid conflict with the final round of the F1 World Championship.
Formula 2 Championship
The WMSC acknowledged an update in the call for expression of interest related to the creation of the new F2 Championship; the intended final step in the FIA single-seater ladder to Formula One.
The FIA has received an offer from GP2 Series Limited to be appointed as the promoter of the championship, and discussions are ongoing with the aim being to secure the best possible FIA F2 Championship.
FIA Formula 3 European Championship
The WMSC approved the principles of the renewal of the promoter agreement with ITR; the agreement will be submitted to the FIA Senate for confirmation.
The continuation of the contract with the current promoter will ensure consolidation of an already strong championship, and will result in gaining the championship greater visibility through improved media and distribution channels.
The FIA looks forward to continuing its work with ITR as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship continues its already strong growth.
With the format for the FIA GT World Cup already approved, the WMSC announced the opening of registrations for teams and manufacturers for the race in Macau on 20-22 November.
The manufacturers' pre-entry registration will open on 26 June, 2015 and close on 20 July, 2015, and each manufacturer may enter a maximum of three cars.
The official entry list of selected manufacturers and the amount of cars per manufacturer selected will be confirmed by the FIA, upon proposal of the GT World Cup Committee, by 20 August, 2015 at the latest.
Each selected manufacturer will be invited to register the team(s) selected (one team may have from 1 to 3 cars) and the driver per car at the latest on 15 September 2015.
The WMSC approved the regulation of the worldwide existing Cadet karting class, which already has high participation at a national level, but without a set of united CIK-FIA regulations.
The WMSC has approved the launch of new generation non-gearbox kart engines within the Senior and Junior categories with the aim of extending the use of these engines. For more information on the engines, see: http://www.cikfia.com/newsroom/view/article/a-new-era-is-emerging-for-direct-drive-karting.html.
Truck Racing Commission
The WMSC approved the principles of the appointment of a Promoter for the FIA European Truck Racing Championship.
The selected Promoter is European Truck Racing Association (ETRA) – the consent is subject to the confirmation of the FIA Senate.
ETRA is a company established in collaboration between the current ETRC Event Organisers, and currently driven by the representatives of the Nurburgring event (ADAC).
The 2016 ETRC championship calendar will feature a minimum of seven events in Europe, and is subject to Commission and WMSC approval.
The next World Motor Sport Council meeting is scheduled for 30 September, 2015, at the FIA in Paris.