Gearbox/Reliability Regulations


Champion Elect
Well, things have been a bit quiet on here lately so might as well use this as an excuse to make a thread out of a storm in a tea cup!

As we all know, yesterday Hamilton suffered a broken suspension and gearbox as a result of a tyre failure caused by metal debris on the track in the dying moments of P3 (see here: ). Having to replace the gearbox meant as per the rules he had to take a 5 place grid drop as a result of something that was no fault of the driver or the car. Mercedes and Hamilton have every right to feel pretty hard done by and today Ross Brawn is saying that maybe the rules should be looked at:

There has been some discussion about this elsewhere, for example Mephistopheles posted this yesterday:

Those are the rules and it is the same for everybody, would you be complaining if it were some other driver other than Lewis on the receiving end? Somehow I think not, actually I think you would be gleeful that Lewis had made up a place on the grid if it happened to a driver in front of him, it is best to apply logic to the whole grid rather than a single driver...

The fact is when a rule is written it has to be succinct you can't go around complicating it with yeah buts and no buts and if this and if that. if you did people would just take advantage, and in F1 this has been proven time and time again.

Just accept that it happened and get over it....

This is racing not a bloody crown court were you can argue if's when's why's and wherefores if we go down that route the start of the race would be delayed until god knows when and every out come of a race would be contested in Paris with the he blocked me and he ruined my race by running into me and my wheel wasn't fitted properly during the pit stop, defense bollocks....

I completely agree with him, with the rules as they are the only fair thing to do is to give the grid drop regardless of the reason for the gearbox change. What happens when a gearbox change is needed due to a collision between drivers in practice, for example? What if a car has a puncture and damages the gearbox but the driver has been all over the kerbs every lap?

I have the solution - just make the gearbox rules like the engine rules, i.e. give them a fixed number of gearboxes to use every year and penalise them if they use more than that. Gearboxes currently have to last 5 races and there are about 20 races per season so give them 4 gearboxes to use and be done with it. If they need to use a 5th gearbox give them a 5 place grid penalty and the same for the 6th, 7th etc. That way a driver in Hamilton's situation would just be able to opt to use a gearbox for 6 races instead of 5, and if it survives they wouldn't have to take a penalty as a result.

As an aside to all of this, next year we see the introduction of the V6 engines and everything else that goes with it. We can expect to see a lot more mechanical failures next year so I hope the FIA are going to seriously relax these reliability regulations for a couple of seasons.
I was thinking the exact same thing. I assume they already have the regs in place to say which parts of a cars drivetrain is classed as gearbox or not.
I thought if you had to change through damage sustained as a result of a collision in a race then you are allowed to change your gearbox penalty free? It seems daft that if Maldonado cuts you up and your gearbox gets damaged that you then take a further penalty.
"If a driver fails to finish a race due to reasons beyond his or his team's control, he may start the next meeting with a different gearbox without incurring a penalty."

So there are provisions, just not applicable if it's not sustained during the race. Which I'm afraid makes a mockery of the just suck it up approach some thinks should be taken as this can easily be extended to

If a driver fails to finish a p1, p2, p3, qualification or race...
The gearbox reliability regulation has already served its purpose. There are very few true gearbox failures these days. The regulation now does a better job a making a mockery of the grid (by shuffling Massa back to help Alonso) and to penalize drivers caught up in extremely rare, extremely unfortunate incidents completely beyond their control.
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