The plan to reduce the weight of the 2023 F1 car has fallen despite opposition from the team
A plan to reduce the minimum weight of Formula 1 cars by 2kg in 2023 has been dropped, although some teams are fighting to keep the lower limit.
The 2023 F1 technical regulations were released some time ago, highlighting the reduction from 798kg to 796kg as part of a general push to finally have lighter cars.
In the meantime, however, vehicle weight for 2022 has been increased from 795kg to 798kg early last year, largely in response to the porpoises observed during testing, essentially to accommodate elements such as floor stiffening and struts.
A meeting of the FIA’s Technical Advisory Committee subsequently agreed to stick to the 2022 figure of 798kg for this season, rather than dropping to 796kg as originally intended.
This change should have been an easy process, but due to an administrative oversight it was dropped from an update to the technical regulations officially approved by the F1 Commission, which would have set it in stone.
The FIA’s next step was to use the governance process, which requires eight teams to agree to a change to stay at 798kg, rather than dropping to 796kg as originally published.
It is understood that while the move was initially well supported, some teams later changed their minds and refused to authorize a move back to the higher figure.
This was probably because they believed that their 2023 cars could get closer to the originally planned lower limit than their competitors, potentially giving them a competitive advantage.
However, the FIA had another card to play, as the regulations allow the minimum weight limit to be changed if a set of tires is heavier than in the previous season due to a changed construction.
Article 4.3 states that the minimum weight shall be adjusted up or down “according to the difference (rounded to the nearest 1 kg)” for any difference between the weight of “dry weather tires used in the championship held in the calendar year referred to by last year’s title and championship.”
Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522, Alex Albon, Williams FW44 chase the pack at the start
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
Such a change will not be voted on by teams and the FIA was able to use this article to ensure that the weight limit for 2023 has indeed remained at 798kg.
However, it will be more difficult for teams to get close to this limit than last year as, in addition to the tire weight increase, each car will have to carry new FIA-mandated electronic boxes, which are expected to weigh an additional 0.4kg compared to 2022.
The latter number, while meaningful to teams, was not large enough to cause another automatic increase in total weight.
In other words, any team that was at 798kg last year now has to compensate for the heavier tires and electronics to stay there.
“It’s exactly the same weight but physically the parts are getting heavier,” a technical director told Motorsport.com. “Tires are getting heavier, there are some new boxes.
“So it’s the same weight as last year, but in reality it’s an increase in weight that we can’t control. So teams would have to muster about one and a half kilos to stay within the weight limit if they were at it.”