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FIA tweak 2018 engine penalty rules as limit of three remains

Written by  Dec 08, 2017

The FIA has announced a minor tweak to how the engine penalty system will work in 2018, as the President of the governing body, Jean Todt insisted nothing can be done about the tighter restrictions.

The whole debate about engines continues to rage with Red Bull boss Christian Horner particularly unhappy at the change from four complete power units in 2017, to just three internal combustion engines, turbochargers and MGU-H's next year with only two MGU-K's, energy stores and control electronics.

Though Horner made efforts to try and increase the total at least back to four, opposition by Ferrari meant the unanimous support needed was not possible and that's why Todt said they were powerless to stop the change.

"It is something that was decided," explained Todt. "Some people are still thinking, why don't we have one engine for the whole championship?

"It is not something that is new. It was decided years ago for 2018. We had some meetings with teams and the way the regulations are made and the governance are made, to decide now to go back to four engines, or let's go back, we need to be in 100% agreement and we don't get 100% agreement, so we are down to three engines."

There are fears the lower limits will mean even more grid penalties, with only a handful managing to complete this season without surpassing the restrictions. So bad was the situation that at some races, driver's didn't even know where they were starting with so much confusion over how it worked but an effort to simplify has been made.

At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Wednesday, it was agreed any driver who accumulates at least 15 grid positions will automatically drop to the back of the grid regardless of where they qualify. Should more than one driver fall foul of this rule then it would be determined by the order of which the penalty was handed out.

"I don't feel it is easy to find the right solution," Todt said of the current rules. "[But] if you don't do anything - it will be more expensive to buy the engines.

"For the FIA to decide that you don't have a limited amount of engines, it won't be a problem, but it would be a problem for the competitors."

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