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Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
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Analysis

The tactical penalty problem F1 should consider

Grid penalties for changing Formula 1 engines and power unit elements has become part of a team's strategic toolbox, which the rules never intended. PAT SYMONDS considers whether F1 should be looking at an alternative

The subject of grid penalties for the use of more engine components than the regulations allow is a vexed one. Until this past season it had become more of an accepted annoyance than a topic of debate.

At Monza last year the subject was very firmly on the lips of fans and teams alike as an unprecedented 13 cars accumulated between them penalties of 125 grid positions. The magnitude of the problem was compounded by the provisional starting grid not being published until several hours after the qualifying session finished as the FIA debated how, and in what order, so many conflicting penalties should be applied. With three cars nominally penalised by starting at the back of the grid, one could sympathise with the impossibility of applying the letter of the law.

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