F1’s governing body the FIA, have modified the regulations to prevent teams and drivers from stockpiling power units from next season.
Currently this year teams were able to use more of their allocated power unit components, without incurring additional penalties. This came to a head at the Belgian grand prix of Spa when championship contender Lewis Hamilton racked up a 55 grid place penalty. 50 of those grid penalties came from power unit component changes, and 5 places for a ‘spare’ gearbox change.
Fernando Alonso also exposed the loophole in the regulations at the same grand prix, as his McLaren was stuck with a 60 place grid penalty. Lewis and Fernando took their places at the back of the grid, happy in the fact that all of those penalties were only applied to that one race.
When this situation occurred in the first two seasons of the new engine formula, time penalties could be applied to the relevant car. In 2014, the grid penalties could also be carried over to the following race.
So for 2017, the FIA will apply some common sense and close the loophole that will prevent teams from taking ‘free’ units without penalty. FIA statement read:
“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. This is to prevent the stockpiling of spare power unit elements.”
Does this completely close the loop though? Can’t be simple as this is formula one.