ECSTATIC DRIVER: Teenager Max Verstappen said he was glad he took the step up to F1. Image: AP / Jorge Guerrero
• Silly 25-place sanctions out
• McLaren has engine in bank
• F1 licence for battery boys
LONDON, England – Formula 1 has approved changes to its power-unit penalty system with immediate effect and amended superlicence rules for 2016 to give more drivers a chance to enter the sport from other series.
The governing International Automobile Federation announced the changes on Friday (July 10 2015) after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Mexico City.
The decisions approved rule adjustments previously proposed by the F1 strategy group and approved by the sport's F1 Commission. The simplification means the maximum sanction a driver will now face is to be sent to the back of the start grid.
In Austria in June (2015) both McLaren drivers were penalised by a farcical 25 places from where they qualified because of unscheduled engine and gearbox replacements – but there are only 20 cars on the grid.
That meant Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso had to take additional penalties during the race.
The federation meeting also agreed that the McLaren drivers would now be allowed an extra fifth unit for the season because Honda is a new manufacturer.
The engine allocation had been reduced from five to four engines for 2015, the second season of the complicated V6 turbo-hybrid units.
…AND THE SUPERLICENCE CHANGES
The points based superlicence qualifying system was modified to allow more series, such as the German Touring Cars, to be eligible.
The federation also said the changes were meant to increase flexibility for drivers who had qualified for a superlicence but did not have the opportunity to race in F1.
"These drivers will now keep this possibility for three years (for example, a typical F1 test driver situation)," it said.
The champion of the new electric Formula E Championship, Brazilian Nelson Piquet jnr in 2015) will also be given an F1 superlicence, even though the series remains outside the points system.
The superlicence rules were changed to make sure drivers were of a minimum age and level of experience after Max Verstappen was signed by Toro Rosso as a 16-year-old.
The Dutch teenager made a strong debut this season at the age of 17 as the sport's youngest-ever driver.