Power unit penalties set to mix up grids in 2014

The latest 2014 FIA Sporting Regulations outline just how complicated the grid penalty procedure will be once drivers start facing reliability issues.

Previously it was pretty straightforward as drivers were allowed eight engines per season before use of a ninth led to a penalty. Under the new rules they are allowed not five engines, but five sets of six key elements. These can be used in any combination, but once a sixth example of any of those components is used, the penalties start to kick in.

Intriguingly grid penalties can also be carried over to the next event – for example if a driver who qualified 20th gets a five place penalty and only goes back two places he will have to serve the remaining three at the next race. However, this only carries over once.

The rules state: “For the purposes of this Article 28.4 the power unit will be deemed to comprise six separate elements, the engine (ICE), the motor generator unit – kinetic (MGU – K), the motor generator unit – heat (MGU – H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE). Each driver will therefore be permitted to use five of each of the above six components during a Championship season and any combination of them may be fitted to a car at any one time.

“Should a driver use more than five of any one of the elements a grid place penalty will be imposed upon him at the first Event during which each additional element is used.”

The penalties are outlined as follows:

Replacement of a complete power unit: The driver concerned must start the race
from the pit lane

The first time a 6th of any of the elements is used: Ten grid place penalty

The first time a 6th of any of the remaining elements is used: Five grid place penalty

The first time a 7th of any of the elements is used: Ten grid place penalty

The first time a 7th of any of the remaining elements is used, and so on: Five grid place penalty

The rules add: “A power unit or any of the six components will be deemed to have been used once the car’s timing transponder has shown that it has left the pit lane.

“If a grid place penalty is imposed, and the driver’s grid position is such that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied at the driver’s next Event. However, no such remaining penalties will be carried forward for more than one Event.”

The stewards also have the power to impose grid penalties for an unsafe release, either for that event for an offence in practice, or for the next if it happens in a race. This will put a premium on teams ensuring that they send cars out with their wheels securely tightened…

8 Comments

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

8 responses to “Power unit penalties set to mix up grids in 2014

  1. Mick

    So if a fire led to the total destruction of a car is that a potential 6 penalties if by some fluke no previous parts were usable? Or can you take unlimited new parts while taking the 10 place drop?

    • Glen

      In answer to the first part:
      “Replacement of a complete power unit: The driver concerned must start the race from the pit lane”.

      If more than one “element” above the limit of five is replaced at the same time? Uh, I don’t know. Presumably they then accumulate, though it isn’t clear one way or the other from what’s published here. What I’d like to know is how much servicing/refurbishment is allowed. I’m really worried about the limit of only five of each “element” for the entire season.

      The remainder of a penalty rolling over to the next race is something I’ve been wanting for a while.

  2. Are the FIA people feeling OK?

    Reminds me of Jaroslav Hasek’s “Good Soldier Sveijk” and one general who so stupid that everyone knew he’d be promoted to the head of the ministry.

  3. Mav

    I kind of like that they’ve closed one loophole by carrying over penalties to a subsequent race – but they can still get around that by changing the entire unit and starting from the pit lane, correct?

  4. Alex

    I’m confused.
    The first time a 6th of any of the elements is used: Ten grid place penalty

    The first time a 6th of any of the remaining elements is used: Five grid place penalty.

    Can anyone explain in basic english, if I understand it correctly. If you use one of the elements for the 6th time – you get 10 places penalty. if you use any other element for the 6th time – you get 5 places penalty? Right?
    So if you use your 6th ICE , you get 10 place penalty, but afterwards if you use other elements for the 6th time, say ES or TC, you get 5 place penalty? Or am I missing something here?

  5. An old Cynic

    I favour the “Throw the dice for grid position method”. The first driver to get a double six automatically gets pole. Sadly this may be too difficult for the public to understand so we will have to go with the FIA’s new system.

  6. Stone the Crows

    This could only have been devised by a committee. What a labyrinth of combinations.

  7. Brace

    After reading this mind twister of words, I’m left feeling that his could have been said in so many simpler and easier to understand ways.

    As Stone the Crows said, committee.
    “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

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