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F1 opens proposal to replace engine penalties with ballast

  • Published on 20 Sep 2019 13:50
  • comments 4
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Formula 1 is exploring the possibility of adding ballast to cars instead of sending drivers to the rear of the grid for exceeding the quota for power unit components.

The demotion to the rear of the field has proved unpopular with fans, as it sometimes sees one of the front running drivers forced to start the race from the back of the field, taking an element of the race-winning fight away from the Grand Prix.

However there is now a new proposal that would see drivers take on extra ballast in the as a different way to penalise a driver without costing them track.

On the F1 Fan Voice forum, it was stated that it is "not possible to eliminate these penalties as the consequence would be that the teams who could afford to would use unlimited engines, thereby gaining an advantage over those who couldn’t afford to do so".

It is explained that Formula 1 has reached two areas in which it can explore imposing penalties for engine components.

The first is leaving things the way they currently are, with a positive of that method being that the race "may see a battle as a front racing car claws its way from the back of the grid".

However, it was highlighted that a negative of such punishment is that it presents the teams with "an attraction to make further strategic changes which is outside the spirit of the regulations".

The second method is adding ballast: "This could be graduated depending on the seriousness of the offence (for example 5kg for a turbocharger change and 15kg for an engine change).

"The exact numbers would be calculated to give a similar end of race effect to the current grid penalties. The advantages of this is that it is simple, and cars start in the position that they qualify in.

"The disadvantage could be that unless the commentators make mention of the ballast penalty during the race (as they do in BTCC for example), it may leave spectators wondering why a driver is slow. It may also show a driver as being slower than his teammate when this is not necessarily the case."

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Replies (4)

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  • That's a good idea! I like it.

    • + 2
    • Sep 20 2019 - 14:19
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 283

      Yes, it seems to be a good idea but the benefit of a safety car in the race to a penalized driver would not remain which currently adds to the excitement. Also, I hope that the calculated weight value would be same for the whole calendar and not vary from race to race.

      • + 0
      • Sep 20 2019 - 17:48
    • At face value I don't love hampering someone for the entire weekend. But I can see how this could potentially mix things up in interesting ways. That being said, I think this system would widen the gap even more between top and midfield teams. Because a Mercedes with extra ballast could still overtake midfield team. But if you sandbag a midfield team that often races so close together... I imagine that it would destroy the weekend. Whereas starting from the back doesn't ruin your weekend since safety cars can happen, weather, etc.

      • + 0
      • Sep 20 2019 - 20:40
    • f1dave

      Posts: 782

      Still penalizing the driver. Why not do as I said yesterday and deduct points from the constructors championship ? That's who deserves it if the car fails and it takes away big money at years end.

      • + 0
      • Sep 20 2019 - 20:42

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