The Grand Prix Commission has announced a slew of new rules for MotoGP, supposedly aimed at cutting costs in MotoGP, and thus allowing the manufacturers and teams to compete despite the world’s economic situation.
The new measures include the following:
- Race weekends will be rescheduled with Friday’s practice dropped completely, and Saturday’s sessions shortend.
- From the Czech GP onward, a maximum of 5 engines can be used in 8 races. No changing of parts will be permitted except daily maintenance.
- Only 2 post race tests will be allowed at the Catalunya and Czech GP’s for development purposes, and only using test riders will be permitted.
- Ceramic composite materials are not permitted for brake discs or pads.
- Electronic controlled suspension is not permitted.
- Launch control systems are not permitted.
Carmelo Ezpeleta and Vito Ippolito announced the new rules be saying:
“We have taken important decisions today in order to reduce the cost of Grand Prix competition and we all agree to make these changes. Our organizer, Dorna, our manufacturers and our teams have participated in the decision…The significant reduction in the number of test sessions and reduced the duration of the testing sessions will lower costs significantly, as the ban on the power-assisted starting and reducing the number of engines usable in the second half of the year. These are the first steps made by thinking about the future and we will meet again in the coming weeks to discuss measures for 2010.”, said Vito.
“Today we gathered at the Grand Prix Commission to take important measures to ensure the future of the Moto GP. Through the decisions taken in 2009, participate in the World Championship will be more affordable and we want to continue on this path for 2010. This is an important day for the MotoGP World Championship which will be cheaper and more spectacular.”, concluded Carmelo.
The revised weekend schedule will see the Friday morning practice dropped all together, and the other practice sessions severely shortened. Fans actually attending races may be losing out on track time, but there are rumors that the Friday morning will be turned into some kind of open paddock, allowing fans a better opportunity to get close to the riders, the bikes, and see the teams at work up close. TV audiences will suffer however. The shortened sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoons mean half an hour less MotoGP action on TV, which won’t affect us too much in the US, but in countries like Spain and Italy both days of practice are televised, and as such a reduction in airtime might spell fewer sponsorship dollars.
The intention of the minimum engine life rule is to get the factories to de-tune their engines and build them for longevity. There is a lot of concern in the teams about how this rule will be enforced, because depending on the severity of the penalty, it might even be worth it to teams to disregard the rule entirely. Starting from the middle or back of the grid with a significantly faster bike, might pay-off when compared to running a bike within the rules that is significantly less competitive.
Cutting the number of post-race tests from the 5 currently scheduled down to just 2 will surely save on maintenance. The rule also specifies that only test riders may be used in the testing sessions. This in conjunction with the already in-place single tire rule, however makes testing for race setups even harder for teams and makes the test rounds a bit abstract in their application to race day.
The ban on ceramic disc brakes are aimed firmly at 2010, when the Grand Prix Commission is likely to ban carbon brakes. Without a ready alternative, the hope is that the teams will turn to steel discs, so that a one-bike-per-rider rule can be imposed, and the teams can also save the quarter of a million euros they drop on brake parts. Whether they do, or whether they spend more money looking at alternatives which aren’t ceramic composites, remains to be seen.
Like ceramic brakes, electronically controlled suspension is not used currently in MotoGP. But once again, the single tire rule makes this a more attractive proposition. Some teams have experimented with it, but it is far from commonplace yet and it would appear this rule is designed to prevent that from occuring.
Lastly, launch control will be banned in order make the race more about the rider than the bike. Without a spec ECU, policing launch control is going to be impossible, and even with a spec ECU we have seen in Formula1 how difficult policing this technology can be. There is no clear indication on how the people charged with enforcing the rules will be able to distinguish between a “safety” engine map, or “rain setting” engine map will be handled in lieu of launch control.
Both Carmelo Ezpeleta and Vito Ippolito have spoken out against the increasing use of electronic controls, as have any number of riders.
Source: MotoGP Matters