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More on new engine rules and young drivers
More on new engine rules and young drivers
Posted By:   |  15 Jan 2009   |  7:00 pm GMT  |  15 comments

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:

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Hey all.. first comment here..

this new engine rule seems like a really great challenge for both the teams and drivers.. would be interesting as to how they use the engines, i.e 4 engines for quali and 4 for the races?? can they do that?


Sorry James, I would use my surname to avoid confusion, but I’m often overly-security conscious when online!

A forum would be a fantastic idea. As long as its well moderated so that the less informed and derogatory views can be weeded, it’ll be fantastic!

Back to topic, are there any other young names you can tip us on to look out for in the future? After watching motorsport UK last year, I’d say that Josh Hill, Deano Zamperilli and the Christodoulou cousins are ones to be keeping tabs on for possible roles in F1 in the future.


JA writes: Just so we are clear, the James who answered questions in this strand is not me, James Allen, but another. However he is correct in what he says and I’m grateful to him for his comments, as I am to all of you. Keep it going, it’s a great dialogue we are creating here!

I’m thinking of starting a well managed forum on this site (ironic, I know, given the amount of stick I took from people on forums in recent years!) But I think we have some really bright and well informed people coming to this site and many of the comments are thought-provoking. The sport can learn from them, especially at a time like this when there is a lot of effort going into understanding what fans want from F1. I have been passing them on to contacts inside teams and elsewhere where I feel they make a really pertinent point.


I don’t believe it’s possible for drivers to swap numbers midseason. The number they’re entered and registered with sticks with them until re-entry the following year.

And I believe it means 8 engines per driver.


Do the new rules prevent a swap between teammates? Can Mclaren put Lewis on car number 2 and Heikki on car number 1 to avoid the penalties on their championship challenging driver?


Nice to see Brendan Hartley getting a mention James. Having followed him in F3, and had the pleasure of talking to him last year in Bucharest, I have high hopes for this young guy, and wish him good fortune.

Another name to look for in the future hopefully will be Oli Oakes, racing with the Eurotek team in F3 last year and signed for Carlin this coming season.


i too had a look at the sporting regulations to try to decipher exactly what the situation was. it appeared from this, that 8 engines were the maximum allowed during the season, and no mention was made of engines for friday practise, which would mean that teams would probably use 5 engines for the race event (just over 3 events per engine, as was originally suggested for the year) and 3 for fridays.

however, looking at formula1.com, i notice an additional sentence that i can’t find in the regulations: Drivers will be limited to eight engines per season, with each team allowed an additional four engines for testing.

however, this makes no reference to whether the testing is pre-season or friday practises.

the young driver programme will definitely be utilised by teams, it looks like each new driver will get 4 unlimited days of testing (over a 24-month period), with no restriction on the number of young drivers that can be used – i can see a lot of GP2 guys getting tests!

however, i’d prefer to see an increase in friday testing – make it like an unlimited test day. firstly, for the true fans that take days off and come to the race track early to watch the cars. plus, unlike previous in-season testing, it will require no more personel or travel / logistics expenses – it’s almost a free test (apart from engines, ‘boxes etc). also, how will a car that’s off the pace at the start of the season be able to catch up with such limited development opportunity? is an uncompetitive team really destined to fail for the rest of the year, with zero track testing and limited aero testing (wind tunnel restrictions etc). can a KERS system that isn’t ready for the start of the season really be confined to dyno testing only before it makes a race appearance in a car down the line!? with such sweeping rule changes, i think the FIA have made a huge mistake here.


If I count correctly,then the engines still have to last 2 races,right?One of them even has to last 3 races.And there would be no spare engines.


Thanks to James and Brendan .. did sound a bit woolly to me.

What constitutes a new engine? Can a team strip and rebuild an engine if need be to extend the life of (or breathe life back into) an old engine?


Finn, a driver gets a penalty for each additional engine. So if a driver managed to use one additional engine for all the remaining races, he’d only drop ten places once.

Could a team’s drivers replace each other (swap car numbers) mid-season? If so, a team could give their first driver fifteen engines and their second driver just one. Hello drivers’ championship.


Finn, I would imagine there would just be a penalty for each engine change after the 8th. If a driver gets into that situation, it would be very interesting to see how long an engine could last!

I am starting to like these rule changes now, they seem to the interesting endurance element more than ever before.


I am curious about the change at parc ferme, you mention, James. Is the engine in the list of parts that can be changed? Because if it is not, than the penalty is starting from the pit lane…


“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.”

So if a driver has 8 blow ups in the first 4 races, he would have a 10 place penalty for EVERY other race in the season?


It’s interesting to see after looking at the pictures from both the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Panasonic Toyata Racing launches that the ‘hub cap’ wheel covers appear to be still in use. I was of the impression that these were to be done away with?


Do the rules define what a “young” driver is?

Otherwise might we be seeing a few retired F1 drivers doing 4 days testing?

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