FIA to stop F1 engine manufacturers abusing the system


TJ13 contributor Mattpt55 raised the issue of potential abuse by the F1 engine manufacturers in 2014. During last season, it appears not a race weekend passed without Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault making modifications to their engines on grounds that these improve safety, reliability or cost.

This year the teams have in effect three ‘free’ engine upgrade changes due to the last minute deal done by the FIA to allow ‘in season engine development.’

The expectations were that the requests the FIA received to alter engines for supposed safety, reliability and cost reduction would dwindle in 2015. This has not been the case.

The FIA have now issued a technical directive to check what some may see as abuse of this loophole by the F1 engine manufacturers.

“All requests for changes to the homologated power unit for the purpose of improving reliability should be made to the FIA in writing with copies to the FIA F1 Engine distribution group.

“All such requests, with supporting data where necessary, should be made eight days before the modified power unit is first used at an event and must include:

“Complete explanation of the failure (clear photographic evidence but also when and where the failure(s) occurred; part number references for old and new parts; exhaustive drawings of any new/modified components; test and investigation results supporting the request where applicable; any relevant supporting information from external suppliers.”

Ferrari, Honda, Renault and Mercedes have been turning around their engine modifications in a matter of days from request to implementation. The eight-day request time will clearly slow the number of changes, which can be made.


Further, the FIA have now ensured that all requests will be circulated amongst the other engine manufacturers in a peer group review. F1 engine manufacturers will now be more circumspect and restrict their more secret changes to the times when engine development tokens are being deployed.

8 responses to “FIA to stop F1 engine manufacturers abusing the system

    • Putting a spotlight on changes so that others may see what’s being done, that does inhibit those changes.

      • But hasnt this always been the rule, that the other MFRs also have to see and agree to the “relaibility” related changes?

        • Satish – Yes, I believe you are correct.

          In the current Sporting Regulations (Feb 26, 2015), Appendix 4 governs Power Units. This regulation (Appendix 4, 1c) states in its first paragraph:
          “A power unit… modified… and after full consultation with all other suppliers of power units… could… be allowed to compete.”

          The 2nd paragraph starts with:
          “Such changes will normally only be accepted if they are being proposed for reliability, safety or cost-saving reasons.”

          Then it explains how to submit the proposals:
          The manufacturer “must apply in writing to the FIA Technical Department and provide all necessary information including where appropriate, clear evidence of failures.” That is all that was needed.

          That vagary has been removed, is now changed by this directive to:
          1) clear photographic evidence
          2) when and where the failure(s) occurred
          3) part number references for old and new parts
          4) exhaustive drawings of any new/modified components
          5) test and investigation results supporting the request where applicable
          6) any relevant supporting information from external suppliers

          Besides the change in what information must be submitted, there is an interesting change to the approval process itself.

          Previously, the approval process was more serial, (per the same paragraph):
          1) The FIA will study the proposed changes
          2) If the FIA agrees the changes should be permitted
          3) then the FIA shall circulate the correspondence to all manufacturers for comment
          4) If the FIA receives no comments which cast doubt upon their approval
          5) Then the FIA shall confirm to the manufacturer the change is approved

          The new directive has changed that process in two key ways:
          1) Added a time frame: Submit at least 8 days prior to PU is first used at an event
          2) To whom the proposal is sent: Now send proposal to both the FIA and the other manufacturers. Previously sent only to FIA, who reviewed it, then forwarded it to the others.

          So difference is the process has gained some efficiency, specified the level of detail, and set a minimal time frame.

  1. It’s the way it should have been from the beginning. If something surprises me is it was other way. It shows, again, that FIA is pretty much useless as “governing body”.

  2. This is why the restriction on development is bad, we want to see improvements on the track asap.

  3. I cannot help feel that the main thing this rule will accomplish is scare away potential engine builders even further. All possible routes that an engine manufacturer can take to bring his engine closer to the front are one for one closed off. These rules are increasingly in favor of the existing manufacturers…

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