Last week the new technical directive was issued to confirm the new restrictions that will come into force starting from the Italian Grand Prix and in which the FIA made reference to Appendix 4 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations in which the homologation period of the power unit will go on until 2025.
In fact the rules state that any manufacturer can request approval from the FIA regarding “reliability, safety, cost saving, car installation and supply issues.”
As for the reliability requests, the FIA states in the technical directive that these requests could refer to the fact that all manufacturers are pushing performance to the limit instead of devoting themselves to more substantial problems.
“We believe that in many cases reliability issues are inevitable consequences of running the PU outside of its reliable operational limits in some moments of an event, and such reliability requests are in fact an indirect means of allowing more of the higher performance modes to be used during the life of a PU.
“In many cases it is hence virtually impossible for the FIA to satisfy itself that all change requests are solely for the purposes permitted by the regulations and have no effect on performance.” this is what the TD states.
In addition, the FIA, to justify these new restrictions, mentions two other rules, namely Article 2.7 of the technical regulation, which concerns the duty of teams to show respect for the regulations, and Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, which specifies that the driver has to drive the car alone and without any help.
Taking up the second article, the FIA notes that “the use of PU modes (and especially ICE modes) has become an essential part of the management of the reliability vs performance of the PU over its racing life, and that it has a direct primary effect on the performance of the PU over a session, an event and over the life of the PU.”
“Moreover, we observe that, in that process, the driver is mainly executing instructions issued by the team, with no or little direct control or knowledge of the complex levers being actioned.”
The FIA also states that the restrictions have been implemented regarding the ICE mode, which is defined as “a set of control parameters which determine the output power of the ICE and the way it operates, not linked to changes of climatic conditions or to power unit protections that may be exceptionally triggered.”
Therefore, the ICE mode must be used, starting from the Italian Grand Prix, during qualifying and the race, but only when the driver is in perfect capacity.
As for the entry and exit laps in qualifying or laps that are 20% slower than the pole position time, it is possible to use different modes.
In addition, the laps on the grid, the possible laps performed in the presence of the safety car or virtual safety car and the lap after the checkered flag were removed in the race.
For a specific race weekend, the same mode must be used in qualifying as in the race, but the mode may change according to the event.
In addition to this, all engines that own the same supplier must be used in the same mode on that specific race weekend.
In addition, a tolerance will be granted with regard to PU already in use and which may have different mileage levels that the team must take into account when using.
Speaking of the Belgian Grand Prix, any new engines that will be introduced this race week will have to use the same modalities as the other engines from the same supplier once they move to Monza.
Furthermore, if the teams have any problem with the PU using the established mode, they can inform the FIA and explain the problem encountered.
Above all, teams will not be allowed to attempt to extend the life of the engine, after the mode change there must be a drop in performance and it will not be allowed to return to the original mode during the race.
The restrictions do not end because the FIA has also announced that the overtaking button cannot be used in qualifying, but can only be used, during the race, in relation to a change of MGU-K on the straight and for the activation of the wastegate mode.
Obviously the TD clarifies the possible precautions to be taken if any restrictions are not respected: “In situations where a change of ICE mode is deemed to have taken place outside the provisions of this technical directive, the car in question will be reported to the stewards, as will any attempt to deliberately hide or manipulate data, sensor or actuator signals relevant for our analysis.”