The World Motor Sport Council has formally approved a cooling scoop to be fitted to F1 cars in cases of extreme heat as experienced across the Qatar Grand Prix weekend in October.
Several drivers were badly affected by the conditions at the Losail International Circuit which involved temperatures in the mid-30s Celsius, combined with high humidity.
Post-race there was an immediate investigation, and whilst next year's race will run several weeks later than this season's early October event when temperatures will be slightly cooler, the FIA felt it incumbent on them to address the issue.
The result is a scoop, likely to be fitted to the underside of the car, that will direct cool air into the cockpit.
The initiative was approved at a meeting of the F1 Commission over the final race weekend in Abu Dhabi and has now been rubberstamped by the WMSC.
In its final address of the year, a statement read: “It was noted that the FIA continues to explore technological innovations that will further improve regulatory practices in the coming years.
“Work remains ongoing to introduce measures to combat the extreme heat that drivers experienced in Qatar this year, with the first steps having already been taken following the update to the technical regulations to permit a cooling ‘scoop' to be fitted to the cars.”
The WMSC also discussed the 2024 calendar “with the health and welfare of all travelling personnel a key consideration for the future”.
Criticism was raised over the final weeks of the past season as a triple-header incorporating the United States (Austin), Mexico City and São Paulo, was followed just over a week later by the Las Vegas-Abu Dhabi double-header.
The inaugural Las Vegas race proved gruelling for many given the timezone shift coupled with working into the early hours of the morning due to the schedule.
Next year, Las Vegas kickstarts a season-ending triple-header, with Qatar and Abu Dhabi to follow. It was recently suggested that F1 address the calendar for 2025 to ease the burden on all those travelling.
In addition to the ‘scoop', the WMSC additionally approved the following changes to the sporting and technical regulations.
- The limitation of the number and mass of certain metallic components in the floor that have been identified as a safety risk should they become dislodged from a car.
- The reduction of the time spent on the grid before a grand prix from 50 to 40 minutes, as it had been before the trial of pre-race driver presentation elements.
- The requirement to stop working on cars starting from pit lane – the FIA has noted that there currently are no regulations in place to describe the procedure surrounding personnel and equipment related to cars starting from pit lane. For safety reasons, it will now be mandatory to remove all personnel and equipment from the fast lane 90 seconds after the start of the formation lap.