FIA simplifies Formula 1 engine penalty system for 2018

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The FIA has confirmed plans to simplify the way Formula 1 engine penalties are applied for the 2018 season following concerns about their complexity.

The limit of four usages of each component throughout the F1 season has led to a number of grid penalties being racked up by drivers in recent years, particularly towards the end of the season.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was hit with penalties for all four of his grand prix starts towards the end of 2017, while numerous drivers received grid drops they could not serve in full, leading to confusion over how the field would start at times.

In a bid to make things more straightforward, the FIA confirmed following the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on Wednesday that from 2018, drivers amassing more than 15 places worth of engine penalties will immediately be sent to the back of the grid.

“A change to the power unit penalty system was also approved, whereby if a driver incurs a penalty exceeding 15 grid places he will be required to start the race from the back of the starting grid,” the WMSC statement reads.

“If more than one driver receives such a penalty they will be arranged at the back of the grid in the order in which the offenses were committed.”

The WMSC also confirmed a number of other tweaks to F1’s sporting and technical regulations for the 2018 season:

  • Regulations relating to procedures for starting or resuming a race behind the safety car
  • Changing the event timetable to increase flexibility
  • Ensuring that testing of previous cars may only take place on tracks currently holding an FIA Grade 1 or 1T licence
  • Provision for demonstration events in previous cars which does not constitute testing. No such demonstrations may exceed 50km in length and only tires manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used
  • Changes to ensure that oil cannot be used as fuel
  • Introduction of a detailed specification for oil
  • A minimum weight and volume for energy storage (batteries)
  • Changes to position of cameras and wing mirrors to accommodate the Halo