The parc ferme rules in F1 are an important part of the ritual of a race weekend.
From the moment qualifying starts on Saturday to the moment the cars go to the grid on Sunday, they are in parc ferme conditions, which means that no work or modifications can be done on the cars without FIA approval. It’s great for the mechanics, who get a guaranteed evening off, especially welcome at this time of the year. In Bahrain many teams did all-nighters on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
After qualifying the cars used to be handed over to the FIA and stored overnight in a garage to ensure that no-one tinkered with the cars. Now with an expanded grid of 24 cars, that solution isn’t so practical and so this season the FIA has introduced overhead spy cameras to watch over the cars in their own team garages overnight.
The cameras have two settings:
“In ‘normal’ mode, which is started at the beginning of qualifying, cameras are accessible by FIA Technical Delegate Jo Bauer; after qualifying the cameras switch to ‘night’ mode, and are configured to view the entire car and detect any movement in its immediate vicinity, ” according to the FIA. “Once qualifying is complete and the cars are returned to their pits, they are covered, sealed with a tamper-proof fastener and placed under camera surveillance. A security guard watches the camera feeds from all garages and alerts the technical team to any untoward activity.”
The camera’s output is recorded digitally.
There is also a security benefit for the teams. There hasn’t been a break in for quite a few years but in Montreal once Minardi had steering wheels and lap tops stolen and there has been the odd bit of sabotage in the dim and distant past..