Engine penalty system tweaked for 2018

Date published: December 7 2017

A change to the much-maligned engine penalty system has been made ahead of the 2018 season in an attempt to make it easier for fans to understand grid positions for races.

The likes of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were racking up monster 35-place grid penalties in 2017 after changing a variety of engine components. Mixed in with other penalties to other drivers, it would become a confusing task trying to work out the grid once qualifying was complete.

In a bid to counter that, as soon as a driver reaches 15 places in grid penalties, they will automatically go to the back of the grid. If another driver clocks up 15 places at the same weekend, they will ‘will be arranged at the back of the grid in the order in which the offences were committed’.

Drivers only three Internal Combustion Engines, MGU-Hs and Turbochargers, plus two Energy Stores, MGU-Ks and Control Electronics at their disposal next season before penalties come into effect for taking on new components.

The change was announced in conjunction with other minor adjustments to the regulations for 2018, such as:

– Regulations relating to procedures for starting or resuming a race behind the Safety Car
– Changing the event timetable to increase flexibility
– Ensuring that testing of previous cars may only take place on tracks currently holding an FIA Grade 1 or 1T licence
– Provision for demonstration events in previous cars which does not constitute testing. No such demonstrations may exceed 50km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used
– Changes to ensure that oil cannot be used as fuel
– Introduction of a detailed specification for oil
– A minimum weight and volume for energy storage (batteries)
– Changes to position of cameras and wing mirrors to accommodate the Halo