Honda F1 website

MARCH 16, 2005

Re-interpreting the rules

The rules concerning two-race engines have been re-interpreted by the FIA. The original rule stated that "each driver may use no more than one engine for two consecutive events. Should it become necessary for a driver to use another engine he will drop ten places on the starting grid at that event and may not use another engine until the end of the next event. Any driver who failed to finish the race at the first of the two events may start the second with a different engine without incurring a penalty." In the course of the winter teams requested on several occasions clarification to make sure that they would be allowed to stop their cars if they were out of the points in order to get a new engine at the next race. They were told that this was acceptable.

Now the interpretation is different.

"As a result of what happened on the last lap of the race in Melbourne a distinction will now be made between failing to finish and choosing not to finish, the former is normally accidental or beyond the control of the driver while the latter is not. In order to ensure the purpose of the regulation is fully respected, and unless the reason is completely clear, in future we will require the team of any driver who fails to finish the first of two races to explain the circumstances surrounding the retirement to the Stewards of the meeting".

It is not clear why the decision has been made to change the rules but Toyota, in particular, has been making a lot of noise about what happened in Melbourne.