P1Mag has learned that FIA president Jean Todt is pushing ahead with a secret plan to introduce two-seater chassis into the Formula 1 World Championship from 2013 on. And after drivers complained of the confusing amount of adjustments they are now forced to do while driving – even a strike ahead of the Australian Grand Prix had been discussed – because of new technologies like KERS and DRS alongside the usual engine and diff adjustments, Todt is now pressing ahead with his plan ahead of schedule in 2012.
The idea behind Todt’s unusual plan is to have more new technologies applied, including a power boost system for to be introduced turbo engines from 2013 on, increasing the turbo pressure by 0.2 bar and allowing for an extra 80 HP engine output to allow more overtaking. But to avoid work overload for the drivers, these duties will be in the hands of a co-driver.
The concept opens up completely new avenues as the seat behind the driver can be vacated on Friday practices for VIPs visiting the event. Ever thought of the spectacle having a pop star like Lady Gaga on the hot seat? Or Brad Pitt stepping out of the cockpit of such a “biposto”, saying „wow, this was unbelievable.“ The PR return would be massive and way beyond the usual F1 interested public.
On Saturday, of course, the allocated co-driver would take up his duties in the cockpit to prepare the work in conjunction with the driver for the race. Ideally this would be a slender, fit, athletic person with engineering skills. Or perhaps a routineer like a former F1 driver. It would be a bit like the two men sharing the cockpit of a rally car in WRC, with the co-drivers being included in the Formula One World Championship rankings.
Another advantage of this new concept is that the hie weight of the car will automatically reduce cornering speeds, always a critical issue in Formula One, and further increase tire wear, adding to even more excitement in terms of varying strategies.
Part of the plan is to lift testing sanctions. Teams would have a source to generate revenues as teams would have the option to rent out the seat behind their star drivers for company incentives or allowing the CEO of a sponsoring corporation having an up-close on the work of the drivers they are sponsoring.
On top of this a study is being conducted to investigate the technical necessities to allow for a driver change during the race. It’s unclear so far, whether the co-driver would remain seated during a drivers swap, or whether the idea behind this would to embark to full scale drivers in each cockpit and having the two of them changing seats during one of the pit stops.
To have this revolutionary concept approved already for 2012, Todt will need the approval from all teams participating in the Formula One world Championship to introduce the new regulations already for the next meeting of the FIA World Council in early summer. Therefore a secret meeting had been held on Thursday evening in Melbourne prior to the Grand Prix with FIA’s technical adviser Peter Wright introducing the plan in detail to the team principals. A further meeting of all team principals took place yesterday at Heathrow airport with Jean Todt being present in person to voice his ambitions and to have the teams agreeing on an introduction already in 2012.
As you would expect, there was no statement at the end of the meeting as different had been voiced by one or the other team principal. Some seem happy with the rather revolutionary concept, others are strictly against changing the traditional format Formula One has been run for more than sixty years. However, the FIA president is determined to push his plan through. If he doesn’t get an approval from the teams this year to introduce the two-seaters next year, it will be a fact in 2013 together with the introduction of turbo engines.