FIA to examine the engine penalties after Tanak's situation

The FIA's road sport director, Andrew Wheatley, says that the Federation will examine further the sporting regulations that are related to the penalties after an engine change after what happened with Ott Tanak last week.

The 2019 WRC Champion started his home event with a five-minute time penalty as the M-Sport Ford mechanics were forced to fit a new engine to his Puma due to the fact that he was hit by an engine problem after his first pass from the Shakedown. This time penalty had as a result for him to be at 48th place overall after the end of the superspecial stage in Tartu last Thursday, but eventually he ended up eighth. However, he lost valuable points for his championship fight as he was among the contenders to win Rally Estonia and this can be proved by the fact that he won six stages the first two days of the rally whereas he was not able to set a fastest time for the rest of the weekend as he started first on the road on Saturday and Sunday.

According to FIA regulations, it is permitted for each driver to have two engines per season, but if it is required for a team to fit a new engine, even if it is the second one available, then the driver receives a five-minute time penalty regardless the time of the change. The measure with the use of two engines was suggested by FIA in 2022 with the view of decreasing the costs which means that Tanak now uses his second engine for the five remaining rounds of WRC and has no one spare.

"Every time there is an issue like this we have to review and understand, but clearly there is a clear penalty for when you go above two engines per season", Wheatley said.

"I think what we need to review is whether that penalty is enough by itself or whether we still need the regulation that says between scrutineering and the start of the rally you receive a five-minute penalty. 

"I'm sure we can find a better way to manage that.

"Absolutely 100%, we will review that particular issue but the fact you get a five-minute penalty if you go above two engines is still going to be there in the future.

"Obviously we need to review the situation and I feel desperately sorry for Ott and the rest of the team.

"If an engine blows while you are leading it is a bit different, but if it blows up before the rally it just feels wrong".


Photo Credits: M-Sport

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