The FIA has confirmed for 2017 F1 drivers and teams will no longer be able to stockpile power unit elements without incurring additional penalties, after Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes exposed a loophole in the current regulations.
At the Belgian Grand Prix Hamilton racked up a 55-place grid penalty, 50 for use of additional power units and five for a gearbox change, but only started on the back row of the grid as all penalties were applied to one round.
When this occurred in the opening two seasons of the hybrid power unit era time penalties could also be applied, while in 2014 a grid penalty could be carried over to a second race.
As a result, from next season the loophole will be closed with penalties being held over for consequential races when the stockpiled engine elements are used by drivers.
“During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one of a power unit element that is subject to penalty,” the statement from the FIA read. “Only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty. This is to prevent the stockpiling of spare power unit elements.”
In effect, grid penalties will be applied over more than one event in order to disincentive teams from stockpiling elements for future use of the season.
READ: 2017 F1 calendar confirmed by FIA
The current technical regulations in F1 split the power units into six elements (V6 combustion engine, MGU-K, MGU-H, battery, turbo and controlled electronics. In 2017 each driver will be able to use four full power units of each element before incurring penalties.
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