F1’s power unit penalty system will be revised for next season in a bid to clear up confusion over how the starting grid is formed. Under the system in place in 2017, drivers changing multiple power unit components could rack up multiple grid drops, often in excess of the number of cars at the event.
From now on, any driver who earns a grid penalty of 15 places or more will have to start from the back of the grid. If more than one driver receives such a penalty they will be arranged at the back of the grid in the order in which they changed components.
The rule change, which was confirmed by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in a meeting in Paris on Wednesday, is particularly relevant in light of the number of power units available to each driver over the course of the season dropping from four to three for 2018 – a move some fear will lead to an increase in grid penalties because of the increased longevity each unit will have to shoulder.
As well as tweaking the grid penalty system, the WMSC also approved a number of amendments to the F1 Sporting and Technical Regulations for 2018, including:
- 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
The WMSC also formally ratified a 21-round World Championship calendar for 2018, which you can see in full by clicking here.