The latest version of 2009 Formula 1 regulations included some changes that were not exactly advertised in advance. I was not alone not sure about what the eight engine per season rule exactly means. The other innovation were the safety car rules. Timmie pointed out yesterday the interview with FIA race director Charlie Whiting that also clarifies some of the new things in the 2009 F1 regulations:
Eight engines per season rule
“It’s eight engines for the whole year. A driver will only incur a penalty if he uses a ninth engine. So the teams can use the engines as they like. There’s no three consecutive race rule because there doesn’t seem to be a need for it any longer. The engines will not have to do three complete events now.
In the past, as you know, the two-race engine was used only on Saturdays and Sundays. Now, for 17 races, the eight engines will have to do the three days of each Grand Prix. What the teams will do is to have a Friday engine that’ll probably do the first four races or something of that nature. They’ll then take the engine out and use another one for Saturday and Sunday. All we’ve got to do, – it’ll be extra work – is to make sure that these engines remain sealed and are untouched.”
Fine, now we know, that teams can play with the engines around and do not have to use the same at any number of consecutive races. We also know that unlike in 2008 the engines used on Fridays also count. What I still do not understand is how will the penalties work. If a driver has to use 9th engine in for example 15th race, will he be penalized in that one race only or also in each consecutive race ?
“The rule introduced in 2007 was a bad one, and we’ve gone back to the 2006 regulations. The only difference is we intend to implement a minimum time back to the pits. When we deploy the safety car, the message will go to all the cars, which will then have a “safety car” mode on their ECUs. As soon as that message gets to the car, it’ll know where it is on the circuit, and it’ll calculate a minimum time for the driver to get back to the pits. The driver will have to respect this and the information will be displayed on his dashboard.
If you remember, the reason we closed the pit entry was to remove the incentive for the driver to come back to his pit quickly. That’s gone now, as you won’t be able to reach the pits any quicker than your dashboard display allows you to.”
Well, the previous rule was not perfect to say it mildly. It affected results of several races, for example Singapore … But I am not sure how FIA expects this new complicated rule to work … Can’t someone come up with something a bit less complicated ?
The complete text of technical briefing with Charlie Whiting is available on FIA website (click here).