FIA Explain New Parc Ferme Rules, Penalties

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has brought some more light into the engine rules for next season. While explaining the use of the 8 engine throughout a season and announcing the drop-off of the 3-consecutive-race rules, FIA's race director Charlie Whiting today revealed the penalties for drivers who will use a 9th engine (or even more) in 2009.

According to the FIA official, the driver using an extra engine will receive a 10-place grid penalty in only the first race of using the power plant. If one has to use an extra engine for two consecutive races, he will only be penalized for the first race. The rule applies in the case of a 10th or even 11th engine, depending on the driver's capability of conserving his 8 power plants throughout the season.

“A driver would only get a penalty at the event during which the ninth engine is used,” announced Whiting, as reported by

Also, should a team demonstrate that something is wrong with a car's engine between the qualifying session on Saturday and the race on Sunday, they will be exempted from the parc ferme rules and will be allowed to replace the power plant without facing penalties. Until now, such a request was not possible, unless under the “joker rule”.

The new rules apply not only to the engines but to other car parts also, on the same condition that the team can prove there's something wrong with it. Also, all replacements are to be made following prior written request to the FIA technical delegate.

“Neither an engine, nor any parts of an engine, are on the list of parts which may be worked on or changed in parc ferme. However, Article 34.1 does provide for additional work with the permission of the technical delegate. Permission is usually given if a team can satisfy us that there is something wrong with the part in question, if it is not completely evident anyway.”

“Therefore, if a team was able to prove there was a fault with an engine they would probably be allowed to change it without penalty. However, if they broke the seals on the original engine to remedy the fault the engine could not be used again.”

“Any work not listed above may only be undertaken with the approval of the FIA technical delegate following a written request from the team concerned," said the regulations. It must be clear that any replacement part a team wishes to fit is similar in mass, inertia and function to the original. Any parts removed will be retained by the FIA,” added Whiting.
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