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FIA clarify 2009 regulations // Yet more updates to the engines, KERS and Safety Car rules

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

The regulations for the 2009 season have changed so radically that there were a few items we weren't clear on. Now, the FIA have cleared things up by publishing an interview with Race Director and all round technical chief Charlie Whiting. A couple of the points are very important, so I'll share them here.

Engines

The new ruling states that a team can run eight engines per driver, and there will be no penalties incurred until the ninth engine is run. Teams can run their engines however they like, and swap them out as necessary, even in the midst of a race weekend. The FIA will make sure that the engines are sealed and not tweaked, as per the engine freeze. The three-race engine rule no longer exists, as this change has replaced it.

There was some confusion over why Renault got a special dispensation to upgrade their engine whilst the other teams remained under the engine freeze. Whiting confirms that all teams submitted any changes they wanted to make and it was agreed that Renault could bring their engine up to speed. There is no favouritism at work here.

Safety Car

The safety car regulations caused a lot of problems in 2008, with the timing making things a lottery. If a driver was scheduled to pit just as a safety car came out, he faced the unenviable choice of pitting and received a penalty, or continuing and running out of fuel. Now the rules have been reverted back to 2006 standards.

The pit lane will remain open, but to ensure that drivers don't race their way back to make their stop, a minimum lap time will be calculated. The ECU will work the time out, display it to the driver on his steering wheel, and then it is up to him to make sure he sticks to it. This way, the drivers will still slow as the safety car comes out.

KERS

Whiting also addresses the concerns over KERS, and says that a KERS Safety Working Group has been created with BMW heading it up. There is apparently a long list of suggestions, and some of them have already been incorporated into the regulations. At least we know that they are paying attention to team concerns.