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More on new engine rules and young drivers

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More on new engine rules and young drivers
Jan 15, 2009, 7:00 PM

A brief note to add to the comments Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali made about the new rules for penalties handed out for changing an eng...

A brief note to add to the comments Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali made about the new rules for penalties handed out for changing an engine during a Grand Prix weekend.

The rule now is that each driver has eight engines he can use during a season, but it's up to him when he uses them. This means, certainly until the closing stages of the season, that if a driver sees a potential problem after qualifying and needs to change engine, he will be able to do so in parc ferme without taking a ten place penalty.

The ten place drop will come if and when he needs to use a ninth engine in the season.

The FIA issued a clarification of this on January 12th, if you care to look at their website (www.fia.com) you can see it for yourself on page 14 of the F1 sporting regulations. Take a look; there's some interesting stuff there. If you are short of time, it says the following:

Each driver may use no more than eight engines during a Championship season. Should a driver use more than eight engines he will drop ten places on the starting grid at any Event during which an additional engine is used.

An engine will be deemed to have been used once the car’s timing transponder has shown that it has left the pit lane.

b) If a driver is replaced at any time during the Championship season his replacement will be deemed to be the original driver for the purposes of assessing engine usage.

c) After consultation with the relevant engine supplier the FIA will attach seals to each engine in order to ensure that no significant moving parts can be rebuilt or replaced.

Within two hours of the end of the post race parc fermé, and if the Competitor intends to use the engine at the next Event, exhaust blanking plates (with one 10mm diameter inspection hole per cylinder) and further seals will be applied in order to ensure that the engine cannot be run until the

next Event. These seals will be removed at the start of initial scrutineering at the next Event.

d) If any of the FIA seals are damaged or removed from an engine after it has been used for the first time that engine may not be used again unless they were removed under FIA supervision.

Scanning quickly through the new sporting regs I noticed an interesting nugget in the section on track testing. It is banned during the season, but excluded from the ban is the following:

"Young driver training, any such driver having not competed in an F1 World Championship Event in the preceding 24 months nor tested a Formula One car on more than four days in the same 24 month period."

I'll look into this tomorrow at the McLaren launch. It's a nice loophole, which gives the young drivers, like Paul di Resta or Brendan Hartley a chance to be evaluated and as there is some benefit to the teams to get the odd track outing during the season, it could feature this year.
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