FIA close engine loop hole that may save Hamilton’s season

The FIA released the Formula 1 calendar for 2017 and also made some changes to the regulations concerning engine penalties.

You’ll recall that Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took several new component penalties at the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps and while he did receive a new supply of engines by exploiting the penalty loop hole, some were wondering how this can actually be the right regulation as it was missing the point of the punitive results of changing engine components.

IF taking new engines for every session over a weekend only results in one penalty and a start from the back of the grid for that race only, then all the teams would be bringing two or three new complete engines to a race weekend in order to build up their supply and that’s not the spirit of the regulation. Taking one penalty during the season to have eight engines instead of five is not really the intent. The FIA said:

“During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one of a power unit element that is subject to penalty, 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.”

That change will eliminate teams from adding two or three new engines to their pool for the season while only taking one penalty for the infraction.


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Peter Riva

So if I understand this, Hamilton got away with it but the rest of the field is locked out of the same advantage?
If he wins the year because of this, that’s bad for F1 – playing favorites is not good for the sport.


Alonso did a similar thing at Spa. Hamilton isn’t the only driver to have exploited the loophole.


The Autosport article says this change is for 2017, so for the rest of the season, things will stay as they are (loophole and all).


They should take 2 unit away from Hamilton in this case or make the change from the start of next season

Derek Andrews

Hamilton took 3 extra engines how can this be fair i am sure Merc would not give Williams 3 extra engines to stock pile in one weekend same as Ferrari i am sure they would not supply 3 extra engines to any of the teams they supply i am glad they have blocked this for future use


Come on guys!! Did you really read the whole text?? The loophole is going to be close starting next season, that’s why they announced it with the calendar for next year.

Negative Camber

Right, that’s why I said they released the calendar and made changes for 2017. I may not have been very clear on that though so thanks for pointing it out. It’s for next year, not with immediate effect.


It wasn’t you NC, you were clear. The original article was odd saying ‘Saving Hamilton’s Season’…didn’t make sense if its for 2017. The loophole was closed as some potential advantage, but speculation is now that the batch of new power units Merc introduced might have an issue, based on Malaysia results.


I’m not a fan of the power unit penalty system myself. But if you’re going to have it, this seems like a pretty reasonable approach to closing that loophole.

But let’s remember how we got here. The penalty system was put there in the first place to level out the field by keeping the better financed teams from rising to the top by throwing money at new engines every weekend.

Howz that workn for you?


It used to be that if you took 10 penalty places from an exceeded engine quota but qualified 16/22 the remaining 4 places would have to be taken as a penalty in the following race. They put in this rule last year to help Honda so that they wouldn’t have to suffer from engine penalities that would be stacked over multiple races. But Mclaren immediately took advantage stacking multiple new engines in BUT and ALO’s cars in one race giving the driver 30+ penalty places. The FIA knew immediately they made a mistake but it was too late. Give a… Read more »

Paul KieferJr



The entire sport is rooted in innovation, one of those innovations is finding ways to flex the rules. If the teams are smarter than the FIA then good on them.