Power unit ‘stockpiling’ among 2017 rules changes

2017 F1 season

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Drivers will be unable to repeat Lewis Hamilton’s tactic of ‘stockpiling’ power unit parts, as he did at Spa this year, from next season.

The FIA has confirmed new rules to put a stop to the practice, which will come into force next year.

“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,” the World Motor Sport Council announced in a statement. “This is to prevent the stockpiling of spare power unit elements.”

The restrictions on driver helmet liveries will be retained, albeit with some exceptions.

“Drivers must continue to present their helmets in substantially the same livery at every event of the FIA Formula One World Championship for easy recognition of the driver in the car,” the WMSC announced.

“However a driver will now be allowed one event (such as a home race) for a special livery (at the driver’s choice). Drivers will also be allowed to change their helmet liveries if changing teams during the season.”

Due to the changes to tyre construction being introduced next year, teams will temporarily lose the power to select their own tyre compounds for the opening five rounds.

“For the first five events of the 2017 championship season only, the normal team selection procedure for tyres will not be used as the deadline occurs before pre-season testing,” stated the WMSC.

“For these events the supplier will allocate two sets of the hardest compound specification, four sets of the medium compound specification and seven sets of the softest compound specification to each driver.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Power unit ‘stockpiling’ among 2017 rules changes”

  1. All of these are fairly sensible. I was half expecting there to be some ludicrous new rule introduced which nobody will like as well.

    1. +1, exactly the same thoughts. Although it feels like With the rule on power units, they deliberately worded it confusingly. Would it not be easier to just say one new power unit per weekend, unless that also fails?

    2. This is a brilliant rule. I did try an imagine what how they might manage it after Spa. It couldn’t go on like that, but it also couldn’t go back to the 2015 rules. Well done FIA for a well thought out rule!
      Now apply that kind of thinking to your other rules. Your next major feat will be to appoint a fixed driver stewards team to asses penalties at each race. It will solve the haphazard way in which you apply penalties now. This one is much easier to do than the engine penalty one which you excelled at. “Just do it”
      Then onto fixing the wake generated by F1 cars so that the car behind can follow closely without killing their tyres. This one is much harder to solve, but if you apply yourselves and the multi million dollar budget that you have. You can do it!

      1. I agree with you, Mick, and to let cars follow more closley so as to be able to pass at the end of the straight they need less aerodynamic downforce from the wings and upper body and more from ground effects so as to minimise the wake effect. I think they’ve totally stuffed up by changing to bigger tyres and bigger wings for 17!

  2. Honestly, I’m surprised we didn’t hear more from rival teams complaining that Mercedes did that. I’m also surprised no one else followed suit and stockpiled components.

    But it’s good that they closed that loophole.

    1. Maybe the teams learned/were told to keep complaints like those behind closed doors? For the sake of F1’s image, y’know?

    2. WeatherManNX01, well, most other teams have already done that – Ferrari and McLaren both did it in late 2015, as did Red Bull, and Ferrari themselves had already stated earlier this season that, since both of their drivers were short of components due to early season failures, they were planning on stockpiling up engine components later this year (which they now have done).

      In reality, most of teams knew that complaining about Mercedes would lead to them shooting themselves in the foot – so the most likely reason why they didn’t complain was because they saw nothing wrong with a strategy that they themselves were going to use for exactly the same reason.

    3. “Honestly, I’m surprised we didn’t hear more from rival teams complaining that Mercedes did that”

      It would be a bit hypocritical of them given that Mercedes didn’t want that rule in the first place and were overruled by the other teams.

      “Toto Wolff has admitted the method of ‘stockpiling’ engines on any one race weekend is ‘ridiculous’ but says Mercedes chose to take advantage of the regulation after its own earlier suggestion to close the loophole was rejected by rivals. “

  3. The restrictions on driver helmet liveries will be retained, albeit with some exceptions.

    Thank God they’re not altering the essence of F1. /Sarcasm

    1. I wish the FIA would allow team cars to be liveried differently; that would really help identify them. Larger numbers wouldn’t hurt either.

    2. @xtwl, yes, thank goodness they aren’t micro-managing things;

      However, now that drivers have individual numbers you would think a designated area on the top and l/r sides for the number to be displayed in the same colour scheme all year would suffice, leaving the rest of the helmet for artistic/philosophical displays.

    3. A person needs to be brain damaged if a driver wearing a different helmet design confuses them. How do they cope in everyday life when somebody wears a different suit? Panic ensues when someone wears brown shoes instead of black, etc. I Hate the FIA and their stupid rules. They should sack every last one of them. That would please the fans. I loved Seb’s designer helmets but enjoying F1 is not allowed.

      1. Maybe because most people that they meet everyday weren’t wearing helmets??

      2. Not all of us look to helmet designs to distinguish the drivers. I always look to the car numbers. Those will never change and it makes sense to promote those on the cars over the helmets. It was the whole reason the driver choices were brought in to begin with.

  4. This ‘loophole’ has kept this season alive.

    1. Yeah the bad news with this is that a flurry of failed at the beginning of the year will now almost double the pain because you can’t recover in one race.

      Where you would have lost less than a fifth of the season chances of winning with three early failures, you would now lose almost a third of it effectively killing all hope… I can see why, but I feel it could really kill some years (like this one)

      It’s not good to have championships decided off track by obscure rules like this in my opinion. Punish the manufacturer, dock them points but the drivers championship should be decided on track for the good of the sport

    2. Good point

    3. by giving a championship chances a boost to number 44.

  5. Christopher Aoun
    29th September 2016, 2:56

    What?!?! Sensible rules?

    This is not the F1 I have grown to love in recent times! I watch F1 as the crazy pathetic rule changes are entertaining and provide drama.

    Now that there’s some common sense, I have no place as an F1 fan. Sorry.

    1. I agree. I was expecting rules like drivers are only allowed 1 pair of shoes during the season or they will get grid penalites, and during a pitstop they have to get out and stand on their head for 20 seconds… where did all this logic suddenly come from?

  6. ex_f1f_contributor
    29th September 2016, 7:34

    “For the first five events of the 2017 championship season only, the normal team selection procedure for tyres will not be used as the deadline occurs before pre-season testing,”

    That doesn’t make sense:
    – The fifth race (Spain) is >8 weeks after tyre testing as required; no problem
    – The seventh race (Canada*) is <14 weeks after tyre testing and will cause a problem instead.
    – even the eighth race (Baku, Pirelli does not consider this a European race!) will be just within the 14 weeks required.

  7. Trust the FIA to have only looked at this from on angle.
    Some drivers could be punished twice for what isnt their fault.
    If a driver, through no fault of his, gets crashed into and has his engines damaged, two or 3 races in a row, not only does he suffer points wise, he still gets punished by having to take a penalty for an engine replacement.
    This loophole doesn’t hurt anyone, so I don’t see the point in blocking it.
    They can also extend the grid to support 80 cars so drivers can serve those grid penalties.

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