Should free engine and gearbox changes be allowed for damage caused by other drivers?


Staff Member
Let's assume that due to Grosjean's rather rash move on Sunday at the Belgian GP, Alonso and/or Hamilton need a replacement gearbox for Italy.
Is it fair that if it is an unscheduled change they should be penalised five grid places?

I know it's difficult to state irrevocably that the failure was caused by the impact, but cause and effect applies.

Alonso and Hamilton have already been penalised in the worst possible way, through no fault of their own, scoring zero points.
Is it not unfair then to penalise them even further at the next race?

The engine issue is trickier as engines can be changed at any time without penalty.
However, if an engine is written off due to the actions of another driver and the maximum permitted number of engines is exceeded, then once again a 10 place grid drop penalty is applied.

I accept it would be difficult to implement and police such a policy, but it's something I have often pondered.
I thought there was a clause that allowed a gearbox change for free after a retirement?

I know that if you have to change it one weekend you get a free change for the next rac, but I am fairly sure that if there is a retirement the next race you can change the gearbox for free. Hence the reasons why some divers retire from the race for "technical" reasons so they can get the change. Wasn't there one recently where the FIA said that the retirement happened for the wrong reasons (front running car too far down the field to score points) and so they were denied their free change? Or am I just gettng confused again...

As for engines, if it is a new engine (as it would have been last weekend fo most drivers) then I think they should be allowed another one if that one is damage through no fault of their own.
Ah yes, of course there is.

Each driver may use no more than one gearbox for five consecutive events. Every unscheduled gearbox change will require the driver to drop five places on the grid at that meeting. Every subsequent unscheduled gearbox change will require the driver to drop five places on the grid.

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.
I really must take more notice of the rules :D (I blame old age).

Ignore me, carry on :whistle:

I suppose the issue could arise if a driver finishes a race but the damage only becomes evident afterwards, during FP1 of the next event for example.
Good points... I don't think it would be difficult to implement and police :

* Only for collision causing damage / immediatge retirement (say within a 1-2 laps)
=> no racing around in 12th trying to score points and the when you know you can't you retire and blame the collision...
* Not for any damage caused by a team mate
=> the Briatore Rule

There would only be one ... maybe two incidents a race on average...
Oh dear Brogan, it's so annoying when that happens! I must admit, you had me convinced until I read the first line of canis 's post though LOL.

As for the issue of finishing a race with damage, the rule could quite easily be adjusted to also allow a free gearbox change if the car is involved in a collision for which another driver is punished by the stewards.

The only difficulty with this is we'd have Christian Horner* running to the Monza stewards this weekend demanding that Vettel* gets a new gearbox because all the debris he had to drive over round the first corner blocked some vital cooling hole or made a screw loose...

*Other team principles and drivers are available.
sushifiesta ... LOL

It would be a race between Christian to the stewards office... and Lewis to his iPad and Twitter account... when it didn't work out how they wanted...
Case in point Kobayashi's car received significant damage to one of the side pods I believe this is where the radiators are kept. so lets just say that due to the damage the gearbox overheated and suffered some stress during the race, and the team don't spot this until FP1 at Monza surely then he should be allowed a free gearbox change even though he finished the previous race......

Whilst gearboxes get a "free" replacement in the case of a retirement, the same is not true of engines....

Since the drivers have 8 engines per season, were a driver to hit another car, and cause damage to the engine (Say through damaging the radiator), then there is an argument that a "free" replacement should be offered... However, this would raise all manner of questions about blame!

(I believe Button may have lost his Spa engine in 2010 due to Vettel's accident!)
None of the teams use their race engines or gearboxes in FP1 or 2.They use end of cycle engines and gearboxes for FP 1 and 2.
FP 3 is the first time they use the race engine and gearbox.
I thought the teams got 8 engines per season per car, to use however they want, this includes free practices, where they tend to try and use older engines where possible.

Not sure about the gearboxes, as the regs are slightly different.
@ The Pits Perfectly true.But the teams keep their used engines and gearboxes for as long as they wish.
For FP 1 and 2 which is not part of the "event" according to the regulations they simply use engines and gearboxes which have completed their race cycles.
No team would use engines or gearboxes that were still race eligible for FP one or two.
Teams get eight engines that they can use in any order they wish.
Gearboxes must do five consectutive races.
And FP 1 and 2 are not part of the race.
No team would use engines or gearboxes that were still race eligible for FP one or two.
Mercedes have fitted Schumacher's race gearbox to his car for FP1 at Italy, specifically to test for any damage.

They did the same with Rosberg in Germany.

Which makes perfect sense as it's the first time they can check for damage after a driver has retired from/finished a race.
Top Bottom