No real alternative to “confusing” engine rules


While the engine penalty rules leave some fans confused, team leaders believe the current systems are the best at the moment.

Some GP weekends we publish a starting grid guide due to the many penalties imposed, especially in the later stages of the season.

The point is, penalties aren’t straightforward with some being confused as to why one driver loses 5 places, another 10 and a third is demoted to the back of the grid.

Of course, while the size of the drop in the network depends on the amount of new components supported, it is complicated by the fact that in terms of ICE, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K, the first additional component represents a 10-place drop while other components only warrant a 5-place penalty.

Although it is much better than the old system which allowed drivers to lose 30 or 40 places on the grid, many believe it is unnecessarily complicated and uneven.

However, the team leaders think this is the best of a bad bunch.

To further add to the confusion, as has been the case in a few recent races, teams have opted for new components, and the resulting penalty, for strategic reasons.

“The power unit penalty system is quite robust,” explains Toto Wolff. “What we have to avoid is that we build power units in such a way that they run at peak performance for just a few races.”

Since the rules were introduced, some have argued that the penalties, all of which are reliability related, should be incurred by the teams rather than the driver.

“If you change the rules and say ‘okay there is no grid penalty for the driver, only constructor points’, that will still mean that the teams, if you are fighting for a championship of drivers, will only run engines to this car, argues Wolff.

“If we find good solutions, it is certainly worth considering,” he adds. “It’s confusing for new fans why, out of the rider’s responsibility, an engine penalty puts him at the back of the grid, or ten or five places, and it’s clearly not great, but I didn’t the solutions. “

The boss of Mercedes is also not in favor of a fixed penalty regardless of the number of elements used.

“When you’re in a situation where things go terribly wrong and you have to change engine parts or complete powertrains, you shouldn’t be penalized every race for going to the back of the grid or losing 10 spots,” he said. he declared. “It’s almost anti-embarrassment regulation and I think it’s fine, but obviously we have to look at that, how we’ll do it in the future.”

“I obviously understand that it’s not ideal to have all these penalties,” said Andreas Seidl of McLaren. “But to be honest, I don’t really see a simple solution to this because, for example, if you decide let’s go to four engines instead of three. We will all end up with five engines, because we would just start the engines. .

“At the end of the day, it just shows that all the manufacturing teams are pushing each other so hard that we all push the technology we use to the absolute limit or beyond and that’s what then ends in problems or problems. problems. So we just have to accept that for now, and go on with that. “

“I’ve never been a fan of two or three engines,” admits Christian Horner, as Red Bull prepares to enter the sport as a manufacturer.

“For me you end up using about four of them in a season anyway, so that’s something we have to look at going forward.”

From next year until the introduction of the new engine formula in 2025/2026, powertrain development is frozen, which is another reason why manufacturers and teams risk penalties in the end of the current season.

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