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FIA Moves to Close Engine Rules Loophole

Formula One's ruling body will not allow teams to retire their cars during a race to benefit from a loophole in the regulations, the FIA said today.

Formula One's ruling body will not allow teams to retire their cars during a race to benefit from a loophole in the regulations, the FIA said today.

As predicted by Autosport-Atlas, the governing body has moved after the BAR-Honda team decided to retire both their cars on the final lap of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix despite not suffering any mechanical problems.

Both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were running out of the points and, in a controversial decision, BAR decided to retire both cars in order to be able to use a fresh engine at next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Under current rules an engine must last for two Grand Prix weekends and a voluntary change would mean a penalty of 10-grid positions in the next event. The penalty is avoided if the driver retires from the race.

The FIA, however, said moves as BAR's will not be allowed in the future.

"As a result of what happened on the last lap of the race in Melbourne a distinction will now be made between failing to finish and choosing not to finish, the former is normally accidental or beyond the control of the driver while the latter is not," the FIA said today in a statement.

"In order to ensure the purpose of the regulation is fully respected, and unless the reason is completely clear, in future we will require the team of any driver who fails to finish the first of two races to explain the circumstances surrounding the retirement to the Stewards of the meeting."

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