Engine related grid penalty system revised for 2018

Formula 1’s hugely unpopular power unit penalty system will be revised by the FIA in a bid to clear up the pre-race confusion regarding how the starting grid is shaped ahead of each race.

In 2017, drivers changing multiple power unit components could rack up multiple grid position drops, often way more of the number of cars at the event.


In 2018, any driver who earns a grid penalty of 15 places or more will have to start from the back of the grid. If more than one driver receives such a penalty they will line-up at the back of the grid in the order in which they changed components.

The rule change, which was confirmed by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in Paris earlier this week, is particularly relevant in light of the number of power units available to each driver over the course of the season dropping from four to three for 2018.

A move some fear will lead to an increase in grid penalties because of the increased longevity each unit will have to shoulder.

From the WMSC meeting also emerged the officially ratified 21-round 2018 World Championship calendar.

Other changes changes

  • As well as tweaking the grid penalty system, the WMSC also approved a number of amendments to the F1 Sporting and Technical Regulations for 2018, including:
  • Regulations relating to procedures for starting or resuming a race behind the safety car
  • Changing the event timetable to increase flexibility
  • Ensuring that testing of previous cars may only take place on tracks currently holding an FIA Grade 1 or 1T licence
  • Provision for demonstration events in previous cars which does not constitute testing. No such demonstrations may exceed 50km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used
  • Changes to ensure that oil cannot be used as fuel
  • Introduction of a detailed specification for oil
  • A minimum weight and volume for energy storage (batteries)
  • Changes to position of cameras and wing mirrors to accommodate the Halo