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.