Even tougher 2018 engine grid penalty rules confirmed

2018 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed even tougher engine grid penalty rules will come into force for the 2018 F1 season in the current version of next year’s regulations.

From next year the maximum number of engine components each driver may use without penalty will drop from four to just two for some parts of the power unit.

Drivers will be limited to two examples each of their MGU-Ks, energy stores and control electronics. The 2018 F1 calendar features 21 rounds which means some of these units will have to be used in as many as 11 events.

Of the remaining power unit elements – the internal combustion engines (ICE), turbochargers and MGU-Hs – drivers will be limited to three examples of each. These will therefore need to cover up to seven races each.

After the first 14 races of the current season one driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, has already used as many as ten examples of some power unit parts. Eight drivers – the entire Renault and Honda-powered contingent – have already exceeded this year’s upper limit of four examples of at least one of their power unit components.

The extent of grid penalties being issued to drivers for power unit component changes was criticised at Monza, where a total of 150 grid place penalties were handed down, most of which related to power unit changes. This was the second-highest quantity of penalties ever seen at a race weekend.

As well as increasing the possibility drivers might incur penalties, lowering the limits yet further will also reduce engine manufacturers’ opportunity to introduce upgrades once the season has begun.

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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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104 comments on “Even tougher 2018 engine grid penalty rules confirmed”

  1. Way too harsh.

    Yes we don’t want teams with the biggest budgets throwing money and engines at the cats every practice and qualifying session, but we still want to see how well these power units perform in terms of pace and not just reliability.

    How on earth is F1 going to tempt new engine makers or even independents like Ilmor or Cosworth back in if they know they have to be reliable off the bat with minimal on track testing ??

    Grids next year might as well be drawn out of a hat as this could make qualifying virtually redundant.

    1. *cars* even, I’m not advocating F1 teams throwing multi million dollar engine components at defenseless felines …

      1. Maybe that would solve some peoples sound-whoes, though

    2. Untill they are on the grid they can test what they want as much they want. I don’t think Honda did this which was costly.

  2. Does the FIA enjoy making F1 even more of a laughing stock & embarrassing whilst protecting and improving its new baby Formula E.

    1. They enjoy showing Liberty who’s boss

      1. Yes, and like most totalitarians, they are willing to defend their power to the death. Sadly, it will be F1 that dies and not Todt, et al.

    2. Awesome comment bezza695. Sad but, true. Seems everyone in the F1 world enjoys taking steps…..backwards.

  3. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    21st September 2017, 23:17

    Can’t the penalties be applied directly in the WCC, and the grid penalty be something simpler? Let’s say, changing a power unit means ten points less IN THE WCC, and a 3-grid penalty, for the people that say that the driver, as part of the team, also needs to be penalized in some way.

    1. @omarr-pepper the issue with points penalty’s is that it hurts some teams a lot more than others & that is why a lot of the mid-field teams always argue against it.

      taking this years championship for instance, red bull have no chance of cathing the teams ahead of them & are unlikely to be caught by teams behind so could easily afford to take a few points penalty’s. for the mid-field teams like williams & force india suffering any points penalty could be devastating to them as the points are much tighter together in the mid-field.

      the reason they went for grid penaltys to begin with & the reason the teams voted in favor of keeping them back in the fota days is because it was felt they are the fairest solution as there enough of a deterant that it stops big teams throwing in new components all the time but at the same time doesn’t hit the smaller teams financially which points penalty’s or fines would.

    2. McLaren with negative points.

  4. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    21st September 2017, 23:18

    Stupid. Thoroughly stupid. Grid penalties have wreaked a number of races already this year. Even the most reliable engines are at or over this 2-unit allotment (IIRC). I have a weird feeling this is FIA’s attempt at introducing some uncertainty into the grid in order to “Spice Up” the races.

    1. There was talk about changing the grid penalty system after Monza. This is as far as i can see not related to this article, so i’d say its early days for throwing the toys out of the pram

  5. Finally they listen to what fans want…oh, wait they’ve done the opposite again.

    Seriously though, F1 is a prototype sport and the punishments for car failures are getting far too strict.

    If I was in charge I would make all teams pay 20% of their budgets into a pot then divide that between all teams- that way the top teams can spend big but if they do they’ll be helping the smaller teams.

    1. @glynh The way people spend 20% of their budget and then divides it amongst all. Yeh that works splendid and everyone loves it.

      1. Haha. Thanks @rethla I’m sure there’s no sarcasm there.

  6. I don’t really get the urge to drop the number of engine components so abruptly from one year to another, just like that. It’s clear that 4 components per season is already quite tight, even for the Mercedes teams, why go even further?

    I think it’s even more costly to try to develop the engines to last for so long than to keep it this way… I might be wrong, but it seems like pushing the boundaries way too much!

    1. Pretty much with you there @fer-no65. Since it currently already looks like only MErcedes will be able to stay within the limits, stalling at the current amount of units would already mean work to catch up for everyone else. Going even more strict will only help keep the top engine in the top (because having less components makes it really hard to introduce updates too).

      And I am pretty sure you are right about the cost, because of the risk teams will do a great deal of rig /dyno testing and simulation to make sure that every part they put in is made to last.

    2. Todt wants to make F1 slower than FE so that PC racing will triumph. Exhaust microphones are an important step. Once the synthetic sound is perfected, it can simply be replicated by DSP in FE cars. This is much the same as lip-syncing in other entertainment areas. One of the technical challenges facing F1-NG (FE) will be concealing sufficiently large speakers and audio amps. Maybe we’ll see sponsorship by high end audio manufacturers. We must also become accustomed to expressing motor power in watts. :(

  7. Yet another reason to self-sanction. The FIA needs F1 more than F1 needs the FIA.

  8. Love how they used the McHonda cover for this articles cover photo.

    What the fans wanted was drivers driving their machines to the drivers physical limits, not saving fuel and PUs. I can understand when it comes to tyres, and that’s because they can now change them (unlike in 2005). If they could refuel, that would reduce car weight and speed up lap times.

    Hope they get the allocation of engines back up to 6 or 7 for 2018.

    1. Popped in to comments JUST to say this about the Honda cover. Haha!

    2. Oh, its not just a Honda cover, its a “you’re screwed, Honda” :-)

    3. FiiiF, so, given your complaint about fuel saving, you must have hated what F1 was like from 1950 through to 1994 given that refuelling was banned throughout most of that period, meaning that fuel saving was quite frequent (especially in the 1980’s).

    4. @FiiiF Refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking.

  9. Perfect example of how sad and deaf the FIA has become, really pathetic and sad, it’s like if the FIA is finding ways of giving penalties just for self satisfaction, masochism at its best.

  10. This is the token system all over again – a rule designed for a different reality to the one we’ve ended up with.

    Wonder how long it’ll take them to pull their heads out of their backsides and change this one…

  11. Jean Todt should go.
    Too many bad decisions and lack of leadership at the same time (miracle).

  12. “Monza, where a total of 150 grid place penalties were handed down”

    It’s not enough, d’you hear? Not enough, I say! The FIA demands 300-, nay, 500-place penalties! Let the vile offenders start from their factories, three days after everyone else! Without wheels! Bwahahahaha!

    (They really do have an extraordinary talent for doing exactly the opposite of what everyone wants, don’t they?)

    1. As long as they make more money than last year, they will continue to trot out BS. When the money stops be prepared for a rethink on the madness. Most dinosaur companies work that way. It’s a way to get a golden parachute when you finally are removed from your job.

  13. I am amazed that with Ross Brawn’s input abeit not directly to the FIA that this has gone through. Liberty are concerned about putting on a show, imagine the last race of the season if the guy in 2nd needing to win is placed at the back, leaving the championship leader an easy romp home, crazy. Ive been watching F1 since 1986 and cant recall a time when the rules ruined the races as much as they do now.

  14. Time to start a petition to the FIA? I’ll sign it!

    1. Vote with your wallet if you want to see a change.

  15. The problem is for all the complaints about the grid penalties, which I agree are valid, no one has yet proposed a better alternative. Financial or points penalties have obvious drawbacks which would be worse than the current arrangement.

    For me what’s striking is that two out of the four engine manufacturers have had all the power unit grid penalties so far this year. Since the current engine rules came in it’s been clear only two manufacturers have really got on top of them. I wonder if the solution here lies not in changing the grid penalties but in making the power units simpler, something which is likely going to happen in 2021.

    1. The solution is to let teams use more. The technology clearly isn’t there yet, so why do this?

      1. The technology won’t be there until the teams are pushed to do it. 50% thermal efficiency from a petrol engine was unachievable 3 years ago… Mercedes just cracked that mark. Without strict rules enforcing fuel efficiency they wouldn’t have bothered. Like Keith, I don’t like the penalties, but I can’t see another way of encouraging the teams to refine the technology needed to create longer lasting engines. Tech that will eventually find its way down into the companies respective commercial platform. It’s not perfect (less so for customer teams), but it gets the job done.

    2. Maybe it’s just me being nostalgic, but a proper F1-engine should fall apart after 305 kilometers. So my solution would be to get rid of the limitation altogether, make races independent from one another again. The cost-reduction hasn’t worked anyway, if there’s less on manufacturing theses engines it has all gone into development.

      1. They’ve just released F5000 in Australia, V8 open wheelers that look like death traps, all the nostalgia you could ask for. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport/automotive technology, and should come with all the trimmings. It will be interesting to see how the FIA deals with the ever increasing trend in the automotive industry towards electric motive power…

      2. @crammond, I wouldn’t say so much nostalgic so much as being biased by the era you began watching F1 in, as it was only in the 1980’s that people began treating engines as a disposable component – even then, that was only in qualifying and not in the races themselves, where it was common for the same engine to run multiple races. It was only in the 1990’s that the idea of an engine doing just one race came about as part of the explosion in costs that occurred in that era.

        Just as an example from the past, from 1983 to 1987 inclusive, the McLaren-TAG team used a total of 28 engines across both cars – so each engine would have had to have done the equivalent of at least 2.5 races, plus all of the practise and qualifying sessions.

        Go further back in time, and the idea of an engine – which was often one of the most expensive components – being treated as a disposable item was unheard of. In 1965, for example, Jim Clark completed the entire season (10 races) using just a single engine (the Mark 6 engine that Clark had that season was a one off special made by Coventry Climax). A bit later in time, Cosworth DFV’s were usually expected to go at least 600 miles before a rebuild, though examples pushing closer to 1000 miles were quite common in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

        Even in the modern era, the idea of a “disposable” engine is not really correct, because in reality a lot of the components were reused for multiple races. Cosworth reckoned that they’d recycle a minimum of 90% of the components in their engines between races (usually closer to 95%), and most other engine manufacturers would recycle a similar proportion of their parts – so it wasn’t so much that the engines actually failed at that distance as being more a case of the engine effectively being serviced and rebuilt.

        1. Great comment, anon, wholeheartedly agree with this.

          One thing I will point out though – really these restrictions haven’t ultimately achieved anything. The teams with the most cash are still free to spend the money with abandon, and use it to buy themselves a performance advantage. It hasn’t levelled the playing field, nor has it made F1 any cheaper for those at the back of the grid.

          Personally I’d rather see each team have to pay a nominal fee each year for a supply of power units, and it’s then up to the supplier to control the costs either by making the units cheaper and disposable, or by making them reliable. You can still have mandates on the number of hardware revisions to prevent them building special ‘qualifying’ engines, or essentially say at the least that a PU must be used for the duration of a race weekend, and any changes during that weekend mean starting from the back of the grid.

          1. I like the fixed price idea; but it would inevitably lead to under the table arrangements as with any price cap across the teams.

            In theory though, I like the concept.

    3. @keithcollantine if we wanna see more running on Friday sessions then the penalty system should be scrapped until a better solution is found. This is F1 after all, supposedly a bunch of smart folks work there and run the show, solving tough problems is part of their job.

    4. Restricting the replacement of what I call “peripherals” (MGU’s, Batteries etc.) to me seem to be over the top. They seem to be the parts that are the most fragile.

      Let’s keep it as ICE replacement and gearbox only for grid penalties.

      However thats not goingbto happen, so here’s my alternative Keith.

      If they want to keep these ridiculous penalties, then they should apply them relative to the team’s constructors table posiltion.

      That way teams running a PU that is deficient (say Mclaren this year) could elect to make changes without penalty (or at worst maybe 3 spots) where a team at the top gets a 20 place penalty.

      Applying penalties in that way would enable the lowest teams to try the latest develoments ( which ultimately helps the top teams at the end of a cycle) without having to always start at the back.

      Imagine how much better the competition could get if (for example) FI could use a “next gen” merc PU for 5 races before the main team could get their hands on it without penalty. And imagine how much faster/better the PU technology would develop. (provided of course the lesser teams werent made to pay for each development PU).

    5. I am pretty sure that it is only really Mercedes that managed it, looks like Ferrari will still be in for a couple of penalties during the rest of the season @keithcollantine.

      To me it would make sense to halt at the current level to allow especially Honda and Renault to catch up – having less units to introduce without penalties means they will have a far harder job of developing the engines – unless we can just expect STR to start at the back for most of the races, like McLaren has been doing a lot recently.

    6. Possibly allowing more on track development time based on grid penalties?

    7. Simply deduct points from a team’s constructor tally and leave the driver side alone completely.

    8. I’d like to float an idea. Allow under-performing teams some concessions, such as a free engine change or maximum grid drop 10 places. The concessions could apply until the team gains a certain number of podium places. I can see the purists grumbling that under performing teams should get better or get out, but that is very unhelpful. If the desire is to create an exciting and close racing formula then you do not penalise half the grid for not being competitive – the points system deals with that.
      The concept outlined was used in motogp from 2010, since when the number of works teams has doubled, the racing has become much closer and the series is in very good health after looking a basket case 7 years ago.
      If Honda hadn’t been so restricted in its first couple of years and has been encouraged to stay, their present trials may have been largely avoided.

    9. I’m pretty sure that if, say, a suspension component fails between the start of Q1 and the start of the race, the teams are allowed to go to Whiting, show him the failed part, and replace it with an identical part.

      Why treat power unit components any differently? If a turbo, or ICE, or a battery, fail, and can be proven to be failed, the teams should be allowed to replace the part with an identical part.

      Penalties should be for voluntarily swapping out not-quite-failed parts. Still encourages the teams to use a limited number of components, without requiring the McLaren/Honda to start 3 postal codes to the left.

  16. It seems that every time Liberty and Ross Brawn say something sensible and rational about F1’s future, the FIA makes it their mission keeping the irrationality going with knee jerk ruling.

  17. As crazy as these new allocation rules are, they don’t necessarily mean an increase in the number of grid spot penalties. I am still hoping that the FIA come to their senses (what are the odds?) and figure out a different method for penalizing extra parts usage.

  18. Here’s the thing, we have these unloved engines and these unloved penalties because Formula One wishes to entice new manufacturers to support the formula. This hasn’t worked. Sure Honda has joined but they are under performing to such a spectacular degree that without work from FOM and FIA they probably wouldn’t have been on the grid in 2018 and no other manufacturer has even attempted to join. In fact manufacturers including Porsche and BMW have said they will not join with these current regulations, and only Porsche seems interested in how the 2021 regulations will be and whether they will join then. This isn’t some sort of financial issue either, how many manufacturers have joined Formula E? These regulations don’t work, the engines are unloved by fans and manufactures alike (excluding Mercedes), people aren’t watching F1 anymore and any opportunity to entice them is ruined because the penalties for component changes are destroying the races. Yet stubbornly, those in charge persist with them. Formula One is no longer the pinnacle of auto racing, it is now an expensive R&D program for some manufacturers wishing to explore fuel efficient technologies at the financial expense of the sponsors and fans of Formula One.

  19. Completely the wrong direction, they’ve already proven 4 isn’t enough, they should relax it not toughen it

  20. It’s a shame the F1 site doesn’t have a fan forum as it’d be inundated with comments like above. As Keith noted, no one has come up with a better proposition to the current grid demotions. But, also as noted, 2 of the 4 engine manufacturers aren’t able to cope with the current requirements, so it’s simply stupid to make the rules stricter.

    Give them 6 or 8 per year and maybe Renault and Honda (stop laughing!!!) can catch up?

  21. way to double-down on stupid FIA

  22. Dumb FIA is dumb. I’m sure Ross Brawn will have a few things to say about this.

  23. I think that the FIA should look at at the data of current teams’ engine reliability and adjust the next year’s components. This will tighten the rules around PU components that have been mastered by all teams and the PU manufacturers.

    But my gut feeling is that it’s an attempt to nullify Mercedes Qualy mode. They can use it with limitation over the life of the ICE. With this now, they probably wouldn’t be able to use it in this form but will likely find other ways to have a minimal boost, just so reliability is maintained.

    The obvious downside to tightening the rules is that we will see less running during practice sessions by all teams, and race strategies based on saving the engine which means simply, no real racing. So then the fans and the show loses out. Thanks FIA!!!

    1. Mercedes will still be able to use the boost; they’ll just be more strategic about it, knowing that they’ll lose fewer positions to grid penalties than other teams anyway because they’ve got much more reliability in hand, and strategic use will accentuate the increased advantage even further…

    2. Exactly @alianora-la-canta, this is rather going to benefit Mercedes, since they are already the most powerfull and the most reliable. This will both hurt those with worse reliability harder, but also mean there is less scope for when to introduce developments and track test them.

      If your engine is already not quite as reliable, you will now have to play even more safe.

  24. Fans: These grid penalties are ridiculous.
    Teams: These grid penalties are ridiculous.
    Liberty: These grid penalties are ridiculous.
    FIA: Hold my beer.

    1. Or complain to the teams/manufacturers that they should design and build power trains that don’t keep braking down too quickly.

      It’s a compromise they choose to make. To go for extra power over reliability. Although in some cases they simply didn’t get either done properly.

      The problem is that the teams also don’t want to go back to the days when engines made up 80% of a team’s budget. Back then they would go through several of them every race weekend.

  25. Two engine manufacturers have already shown they cannot handle F1’s current power restrictions. This feels like a cheap (literally and metaphorically) method of making it three.

    At this rate of knots, by the time the 2021 regulations come round, everyone except Ferrari and their B-team-to-be Sauber will be on Mercedes engines, because that will be the only way to get a championship position reflective of one’s efforts. Maybe the idea was to try to equalise things, but it will (among other things) hand the power in the next set of negotiations from the FIA’s and customer teams’ hands to Mercedes’.

    Grid penalties do not work and make it difficult for many would-have-been fans to take F1 seriously. In-race penalties (either staggered start or aren’t exactly popular due to difficulty in connecting driver actions to mechanical failures (especially contrived restrictions like the 2017 regs are considered to be). Points and financial penalties are very unequal in their impact, hitting midfield teams more than (sometimes) small and (especially) big ones.

    None of them reduces any team’s inclination to change engine, since teams have avoided unnecessary engine changes (except to make use of rule loopholes) since the one-engine-per-race rule came into effect in 2003. All of them magnify the ridicule factor when the restriction level is inherently ridiculous (as it is now).

    The FIA needed to increase the number of engines allowed per year, if it wished to maintain control over the future of its series. That would have not only avoided the handover of engine negotiation power to Mercedes, but also made the grid penalty system a bit less daft.

    Then, perhaps a bonus for teams that successfully got to the FIA’s desired standards – something like IMSA’s Green Challenge trophy, and points for any team improving on their previous year’s component use – would work better than insisting on penalties for failure.

  26. Among other things, I think there needs to be more leniency on components damaged following a crash. A driver could conceivably go through two, four, six, or more components through no fault of the team or manufacturer.

    I also think the FIA or an F1 Power Unit Commission should look to other series to see how they handle component usage. IndyCar, for example, has extensive regulations regarding engine use. As a two-manufacturer series, you couldn’t take the rules verbatim, but perhaps there is room for adaptation.

    But more generally, the FIA needs to really think about what they’re doing here. They can say all they like that it’s for cost control. But cars need these parts. So regardless of how many they’ve used, they’re going to keep using them. There is no cost control in the slightest – the money gets spent with penalties and without.

    1. You articulated my thoughts and concerns well @WeatherManNX01, the need to use a new engine after a crash (potentially not the team or drivers’ fault) incurring penalties means that two weekends are affected. And the same goes for an unreliable engine: you suffer in one race, the next you get penalties because you need new components (note how the, in itself also sometimes troublesome ‘5 races with a gearbox’ rule actually avoids that – maybe use an amalgam of both component rules with the best of both?).

      The FIA does indeed really need to look at what they want to achieve, and then find a way (of trying) to get there.

  27. Didn’t Ross Brawn say the FIA needs to get rid of grid penalties? All the fans and viewers don’t want to see it. RIP Torro Rosso. This is F1. I want to see drivers fight it out, not engineers see who can produce more reliable parts that the drivers have to nurse every race and not push to the limit.

  28. The FIA is some how isolated from the sport. They are in a quarantined room, making all these decisions, without any feedback of the costs and other consequences of these stupid decisions.
    This rules do not make the engines any cheaper. They don’t make it more affordable for the smaller teams. They have no business changing the rules when the engines will soon be obsolete.
    Now more money will be spend redesigning parts that are already working to get more reliability, and testing those parts for much longer, wasting money, energy and time.

  29. This is epic news for Honda. They’ll start with the penalties in the 2nd race of the season itself…

    1. If Honda (and RBR) wants to stand a chance of making their engine work for 2019 we can expect STR to start at the back and do a testing weekend even more than McLaren has been doing in the last couple of years!

  30. If they insist on penalties to save money, surely harsher, but less frequent penalties would be the way to go. This method will result in more frequent, annoying penalties, because the penalty is too soft, or in the case of Mclaren, practically non existent.

  31. Didn’t we all just agree engine penalties are broken and need rule changing?

    Not exactly the change we had in mind?

    Great then. Can anyone see anyone getting away without penalties… with 3 engines per year and 2 of MGU-K? Engine makers already established, that will not bring the cost per year down.

    I guess limits are great, but penalties need to be changed, so they do not effect the driver in question. Maybe reduce points they can get from a race, but only apply the penalty at the end of the race.

  32. I pretty much agree with what has been stated in the comments above. If anything the number of allocated PU elements per season should be increased rather than reduced even further. Something like 8 or 9 like it was most recently in 2013 with the engine allocation.

  33. Ok. Why do they do this? Is this more fun? Is this really the way to go? Maybe Honda should just go and build a ‘one race’ engine and take the griddrops, every race.

  34. Any of the manufacturers can build engines and components that can go the distance but it will cost performance. The challenge is finding the balance and that’s what F1 is about. Love it.

  35. Should be a good season for Torro Rosso Honda; I fully expect them to finish third-place in the constructor’s championship.

  36. This Honda picture under the main title :D

  37. There is an old saying: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! The current penalty system wasn’t broken, so it didn’t need fixing.
    On the other hand, the FIA have said all the teams MUST have Halo next year, but right now it isn’t even ready. Teams are designing their cutting edge cars around a mandatory element that is still in the prototype stage. Halo’s should already be being manufactured.
    I would much rather the FIA binned their new penalties for 2018 and got on with the job they decided to take on: producing Halo.
    A driver’s life isn’t in jeopardy if a MGU-H gets a bit worn out and needs to be replaced to maintain its power output. On the other hand, a poorly designed Halo with inadequate fastening does have the potential to jeopardise a driver’s life.

  38. WARNING – less popular view.
    This is not as bad as it seems and it might actually REDUCE the grid penalties!

    1) (robustness) PU manufacturers weigh performance against reliability. They can ‘easily’ design/adjust the PU to last the whole season, and we fans would not even notice the slight reduction in performance. More robust PU’s per definition fail less (think or your own car engine).
    And as it is the same for all, there will be no shift in relative performance, and less in race PU failures

    2) (statistics) If you design a PU to last the whole season then the chance of it failing once or even twice is less than when you design a PU to last only 5 races. Consequently there will be less penalties.
    (test for yourself: get one bucket with 20 white balls and 1 red ball, and a second bucket with 4 sets of ‘5 white balls and 1 red ball’. Now pull a ball from each bucket and you will see that the second bucket – current system – is more likely to give you a red ball = failure)

    1. @Why Me? Interesting points you have there I have to admit.

    2. As a lot of the comments allude to, the trouble with that view @Why Me, @jerejj, which basically echoes the reason these penalties are there, is that so far only Mercedes really seems to be able to do that, while keeping up performance – even Ferrari is close to suffering penalties for some components, with Vettel already having used all MGU-K (if I’m not mistaken).

      Renault and Honda are behind on power, which is why they took risks that meant less reliability this season, which is only getting harder with these new rules. They have a choice of not progressing, or of taking penalties, while their Mercedes and to some extent Ferrari using competitors can tune the engine a bit and increase their lead over them.

    3. Do we want less engine failures? I certainly miss the suspense that came from “will the car make it to the finish?”-question, especially when someone was without near competition in later parts of races. And honestly, I even miss the smoke clouds of engines going bust. Reliable cars produce predictable races.

      Now there are several problems with having to use an engine for multiple weekends (and the grid-penalties):
      – Race weekends are affected by the former weekend, making races less exciting even before they start
      – If an engine expires, it often does so outside the race itself. Besides this taking away unpredictability for the race, the grid-penalty also removes a competitor from close competition.
      – The feel of “this is technology developed to the very edge of performance vs. reliability” just vanishes when reliability-events are so incredibly scarce.

      Though I do wonder, is there a point where deliberately taking penalties and using a more powerful engine with less mileage would be a competitive choice? That might be fun.

    4. Counterpoint: Designing an Engine to last a whole season with good performance will cost MEGA $$$ use unobtanium alloys and still be subject to damage during the course of a race weekend.

      If we use Top Fuel dragsters as a model- the engines are rebuilt after every run. Yes there is cost, but the cost of development is small as the target is less onerous. Basically it is a “cheap to design” and “inexpensive” to rebuild model- then we would have everyone on the grid with fresh rebuilds to last the weekend. For a set of bearings, rings and maybe a valve or two a competitor has a fresh powerplant for much less than the cost of the whole crate.

      What is the actual cost comparison of a teardown and rebuild vs the “seal it and chuck it in the dumpster” rule…

    5. @Why Me? The argument falls over at that word “design/adjust”. The engines have already been designed once, and the costs to teams were designed to take into account spreading the costs over 7 years. Redesigning one year after a (semi-planned) redesign is an unbudgeted cost of many millions of pounds, meaning that suppliers spending less on the project (notably Renault) are less likely to be able to make a complete transition to the new regulations. More robust engines only fail less if they are actually more robust. Making a rule to make them fail less is not sufficient in itself.

      Two engine suppliers already can’t design/adjust to the currently-expected standards. Those who already meet (Ferrari) or exceed (Mercedes) the current standard have a much lesser challenge than the ones (Renault/Honda) who don’t. As such, relative performance would be expected to shift – and gaps increase. There may be fewer PU failures, but that is unlikely.

      The experiment proposed presumes the teams have full control over the number of balls in the pot. A more accurate version needs to control for upgrades having a risk of failure, of the need to simultaneously improve non-reliability aspects of engine performance and that there are more races in 2018 than 2017.

  39. haha this is stupid

    you regularly get front running cars getting put the back by belgium/monza and the FIA

    decide to make it worse


    1. Maybe that’s the idea…

  40. The most absurd thing about these rules for making components last longer is that they they were brought in to reduce costs. Yeah another great success story.

    1. @rdotquestionmark And they have reduced cost’s. Imagine how much more teams would be spending if they were putting a new engine in after every session, every day or even every weekend as they were before the long life engines were introduced.

      In 2002 Williams ran something like 40-50 engines per-car (Including spare) over the 17 race weekends & that doesn’t include what they ran in the at the time unrestricted testing.

      The restrictions have reduced cost’s, Especially for the mid-field teams who don’t have to buy anywhere near the number of engines or gearboxes that they once did.

      1. @gt-racer, I do think you are right a restriction is needed to prevent unlimited new engines for those that can pay it, but, the current path would likely make it harder for Honda and Renault to get near the top on power and reliability, while Mercedes who are already there, can continue as they are, and Ferrari might need to be a bit more careful, cementing then just behind that Mercedes PU – ie. stagnation, rather than equalisation as we all would like.

      2. All benefit to having fewer engines is outweighed by the costs of development, especially unscheduled enforced development like what just happened here (two engines per season wasn’t scheduled to happen until the 2020s until now). This is why no cost reductions are being passed onto customers – because there aren’t any. There was a price cut last year, but that was FIA-enforced to prevent more teams going bust.

  41. I understand the desire to reduce costs and improve component longevity but the power units are clearly too fragile to cope with the current regulations, let alone a stricter version.

    This will result in many many races next season where the grid is artificially* mixed up following qualifying, and will result in scenarios where a driver might lose a whole power unit after being involved in a not-at-fault crash during one race weekend, and then gets penalized further at the next race by taking a 9000 place grid penalty or whatever it adds up to now.

    There must be a better way of managing this?

    * Has Bernie taken on a role at the FIA?

    1. To add to this; writing off entire weekends in order to take strategic power unit penalties is only going to get worse. Monza has already become a half event over the last few years because of this strategy, so are we going to see teams extend this to other tracks where they don’t expect their cars to perform well?

  42. I don’t know how this would help the engine power to converge as the FIA wants to because only 2 engine Manufacturers got it right this year so far (I highly doubt if Ferrari can actually finish the season with no grid penalties). By doing so, Renault (let alone Honda) won’t be able to catch up as the engine upgrades will be limited.

    Making the power units components last longer will only increase the costs exponentially as the R&D required to do so will involve not only the engine Manufacturers but also their suppliers (Fuel,Lubricants,Turbo,electronics…) and it will be also limited by the tight timeline.

    I don’t know how John Todt is still promoting this non sense cost cutting campaign where his agenda is doing the exact opposite. What amazes me the most is that he still talks about cost and wears at the same time a 300,000£ watch !

  43. On the grid penalty’s, That is something the FIA & F1 overall wants to change…. However it’s also something that nobody has yet come up a workable, fair alternative to. There has been discussion about it for a few years & the reason they went with & stuck with grid penalty’s was because it was the only thing they could all agree was fairer than any of the alternatives.

    Some form of constructor point’s penalty would have a disproportionate affect on some teams, Especially in the mid-field where the points standings tend to be closer. A team like Force India, Williams or Sauber losing a handful of points could drop them a few spots which hits them when the prize money is handed out post season.

    Likewise a financial penalty would also be a bigger burden for the mid-field teams.

    Another argument coming from the teams is that customer teams are buying there engines & gearboxes & that its not fair to penalize the teams for the failure of a component that there buying from somebody else as thats just as outside of there control as it is the drivers.

    At the same time the argument to remove or increase the limits of things available also hits the small teams more than the bigger one’s who may not be able to afford to buy more engines & gearboxes just as some of them couldn’t before the restrictions were introduced.

  44. Ditch the overly complex engine rules, go with a more powerful version of what IndyCar uses, freeze engine development until the summer break, and get on with the show.

  45. One idea I have for how teams can change power unit components without needing grid penalties is maybe making it so that when a team has to use an additional component, they should have a fine that is based on their championship position. So the team in 1st in the WCC has to pay a much higher amount than a team in 5th for example. However, this is just an idea, and has some downsides, such as if a midfield team does overachieve, it will cost them quite a bit. Conversely, however, they will be receiving more money at the end of the year anyway, and they must be punished in some manner for exceeding the number of each component. It would have to be done in such a manner that the top teams that take up the top few grid positions cannot take advantage of it, like maybe it becomes 30% more expensive for each additional unit.

  46. I don’t get this. Clearly F1 is all talk and no logical action. Again. At what point did they figure: “right, we have this engine thing down. We can be a bit stricter on the penalty thing to reduce cost even more.”

    You have one manufactor that us still in develop phase, or so it feels. One who is legging and needs more time to catch up, while two others are in evolving the current engine. This is only helping the Ferrari and mercedes.

  47. Why not just have alternating reverse grids for the midfield and backmarkers?

  48. Keith, how about an update on the usage situation between Merc and Ferarri? Not just units used, but (if known) how much usage on each?

  49. Michael Brown (@)
    22nd September 2017, 14:58

    Can we have a harsher penalty for overtaking while leaving the track? 5 seconds is a minor inconvenience.

  50. Even more “road relevance”… Ridiculous.

  51. Trampy whale-tail cockpits and guaranteed PU penalties, the FIA know what they’re doing and there’s no way this will all end in tears.

    All’s right with the world.

  52. Does anyone know why F1 has to “listen” to the FIA? Could Liberty ever just drop them?

    Every. single. decision the FIA makes is against what the paying fans want. Utter crap.

    crap motors, a beyond stupid halo and not even more penalties! awesome.

  53. Great news for Honda.

  54. Will likely result in teams foregoing practice or running to the end of a race if you are well outside the points.
    The other game that will get played is stacking all your grid penalties in a single event to gain an advantage in another. Monza will be a Super-Fest of grid penalties next year.
    What is all the teams got together and they all took a full suite of penalties at the same race.?? That would be fun to see.

  55. I notice that the FIA didn’t announce this before the Honda Torro Rosso deal was announced, I wonder if it would have gone through if they knew this. I think it will be guaranteed that everyone suffers grid penalties next year, what a stupid idea.

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