F1’s gearbox change penalty rules have changed for the 2022 season
Formula 1 used to be forced to issue gear penalties for changing their units before a set number of races, but why has that rule changed in 2022?
F1 transmissions have a choice of eight gears for the driver to choose from, plus neutral and reverse – although they’re not generally used that often.
As with most mechanical aspects of the car, drivers will try to look after their gearbox as losing a gear or two can usually mean the end of the race – although Ayrton Senna won the 1991 Brazilian GP after his McLaren at stuck in sixth place in wet conditions.
Previously, gearboxes had to survive six races before being replaced with a new unit. If a driver retired or the FIA could prove legitimate DNF reasons, they could switch for the next event – the six-race cycle started again.
However, for 2022 the rules for F1 gearing have changed, meaning drivers will no longer face penalties. Why is this?
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F1 gear rules
While previous units had to survive six Grand Prix events, drivers could now change their gearbox at each race if they so wished.
F1 drivers and teams now have a pool of gearboxes from which to choose what to fit each race – much like how they use their engine components.
At races like Monaco you’re more likely to fit worn out components as top speed isn’t the name of the game before opting for new ones on high speed circuits like Azerbaijan or Canada.
The new F1 gearbox rules limit drivers to a pool of four drivers to choose from throughout the season.
This means that teams and drivers now have both the inner workings and the outer casing to choose from as separate components.
That’s why drivers like Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr. avoided penalties for a gearbox change after their crash in qualifying at the Monaco GP.
However, should a driver exceed this limit of the new F1 gearing rules of four components, they will still incur the usual five-place grid penalty.
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https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/05/29/f1-gearbox-rules-penalty/ F1’s gearbox change penalty rules have changed for the 2022 season