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FIA to close engine loophole 16 Mar 2005

Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR Honda 007.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 5 March 2005

As of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the Formula One teams will have to justify the reasons for a car’s retirement if they wish to use a fresh engine for the following race.

The clarification of the ‘one engine-two weekend’ rule has been made by the FIA after BAR retired both cars on the final lap in Melbourne to take advantage of a regulation loophole allowing any driver not finishing a race to use a new V10 at the next event, even if their previous engine was still race worthy.

“A distinction will now be made between failing to finish and choosing not to finish, the former is normally accidental or beyond the control of the driver while the latter is not,” said the FIA in a statement.

“In order to ensure the purpose of the regulation is fully respected, and unless the reason is completely clear, in future we will require the team of any driver who fails to finish the first of two races to explain the circumstances surrounding the retirement to the Stewards of the meeting.”

Should the stewards decide a retirement was unwarranted, the driver may have to start the following event with the same engine, or accept the normal ten-spot grid penalty if a new one is fitted.