The teams will therefore be enforced to use the same engine for both P3, qualifying session and Sunday race. The modification is to be implemented as a result of several F1 teams requesting the international body to clarify the situation.
Under its present form, the engine rules do not state whether the teams are or aren't allowed to work on their engines after the practice sessions. Therefore, the rule could have led to most teams swapping engines in the time interval between the end of P3 and the start of the qualifying session. In that situation, we would've had what some might call “race engines” and “practice engines”, in an effort to preserve the life of an engine for qualifying and races throughout the season.
In late January, FIA race director Charlie Whiting made some further comments related to the new engine rules, revealing that changes on the power plants are allowed – without attracting a penalty afterwards – should the team making it is able to demonstrate “there is something wrong with the part in question.”
“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,” said Whiting.
“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,” added the FIA representative.