FIA closes Formula 1 engine penalty loophole

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has approved a measure to prevent Formula 1 teams stockpiling spare power unit elements from 2017

FIA closes Formula 1 engine penalty loophole

This season, the rules governing penalties for introducing extra power unit components were modified so drivers suffered no extra disadvantage beyond being put to the back for grid penalties of a size that exceeded the number of positions a driver could drop.

When this happened in 2015, an additional time penalty was served in the race, whereas in '14 the rest of the grid penalty could be carried over to a second grand prix.

But amid criticism of strategic moves such as Mercedes introducing a raft of new components for Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix - exploiting a loophole that the team had proposed should be closed - the rule is being modified for 2017.

"During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one of a power unit element that is subject to penalty, only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty," said an FIA statement issued in the wake of Wednesday's WMSC meeting in Paris.

"This is to prevent the stockpiling of spare power unit elements."

This means that grid penalties are effectively no longer restricted to one event, acting as a disincentive to teams to introduce further components to add to the pool for the rest of the year once an initial change has been necessary.

An F1 power unit is divided into six elements - the V6 engine, the MGU-K, the MGU-H, the energy store, the turbo and the control electronics.

Each driver is allowed to use four complete power units during the season, but extras can be introduced at the expense of grid penalty.

For the first individual component of each new power unit, a 10-place penalty is given, with five-place penalties for each subsequent component introduced within that extra power unit.

These penalties are cumulative, meaning Hamilton, for example, built up a grid drop of 50 places (on top of a five-place penalty for a gearbox change) for stockpiling extra power unit components for use through the rest of the season.

WET RACE STARTS, HELMETS AND 2017 TYRES ALSO ADDRESSED

The FIA also firmed up several other rule tweaks mooted in recent months.

Following criticism of the use of the safety car at the start of wet races, it has confirmed that a normal standing start will take place from the grid once conditions allow the safety car to come in.

It has also acted over concerns about tyre selection for the early rounds of the new rules era in 2017 and decreed that "normal team selection procedure for tyres will not be used as the deadline occurs before pre-season testing".

Instead Pirelli "will allocate two sets of the hardest compound specification, four sets of the medium compound specification and seven sets of the softest compound specification to each driver".

Drivers will now be permitted one "special livery" on their helmets per season for an occasion "such as a home race" and can change helmet colour scheme if they switch teams mid-season.

shares
comments
FIA reveals 21-race 2017 Formula 1 calendar

Previous article

FIA reveals 21-race 2017 Formula 1 calendar

Next article

Fernando Alonso gets Honda F1 update and Malaysian GP grid penalty

Fernando Alonso gets Honda F1 update and Malaysian GP grid penalty
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021