Formula One drivers are set to escape a grid penalty for their first engine change of the season, autosport.com can reveal, after teams agreed to a minor tweak to the rules.
Since the introduction of longer life engines, a driver has been automatically handed a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change in during practice sessions, or has been moved to the back of the grid if he has needed a new power unit after the start of qualifying.
But following discussions in last week's team principals' meeting in Paris, it was agreed that the first engine change of the season should now no longer result in a punishment.
In a letter sent by FIA president Max Mosley to teams, he confirms in writing that the rule tweak was supported by team principals.
"It was agreed that each team could have one engine failure per car without penalty during the 2008 season," wrote Mosley. "This would be the first engine failure suffered by each car."
The rule proposal still needs approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, with a vote on the matter expected imminently.