FIA announce Sprint Race changes and 4 annual power units

Jaden Diaz
05/02/2024

At the end of February, Formula 1 will complete three days of testing in Bahrain before the 2024 Championship begins. The teams are continuing to work in the factories on the preparation of the cars and the first developments. Still, a lot of work is also taking place on the discussion tables with Liberty Media and the FIA.

The last F1 Commission is on Monday, with the next WMSC meeting already scheduled for February 28th. The main changes concern the format of the weekends with Sprint Race, the use of DRS and the available Power Units.

The Sprint Race format has been officially updated

The official presentation of the calendar confirmed that there will be six Sprint Races. What remained to be confirmed was the format, which had been the subject of discussions and possible changes since last year.

This Monday, FIA and ten teams met in an F1 Commission to finalise the Sprint weekend format. These changes will affect the schedules on Friday and Saturday.

The first free practice session will open the action on Friday and will be followed later by Qualifying, which will determine the starting grid of the Sprint Race.

The Sprint will take place immediately on Saturday to then keep the Qualifying as the last event on Saturday, which will decide the starting order of the main race, which remains unchanged on Sunday (except for some events in which the race will be brought forward to Saturday).

News on DRS and number of Power Units: Annual power units increases to 4

On a technical level, two important changes have been made. From 2024, DRS activation will begin on lap two rather than on lap three. Moreover, after a Safety Car restart, DRS will be enabled after just one racing lap.

This could be a variable that could increase the action and spectacle on the track, allowing the use of the DRS on the track when the group, on paper, is still compact.

Power Unit
Detail of the Power Unit and rear suspension of the Alpine A522 – photo FORMU1A.UNO

Another change is regarding the annual number of engines permitted before engine penalties. In recent years, the maximum number was three units of the ICE engine and other macro components.

However, the F1 Commission has accepted the teams’ request to increase this number to four.

Just one more unit that could change the teams’ approach and their engine management program for the entire season.

In fact, in terms of horsepower, there is no longer a huge difference between the various manufacturers, with the exception of Alpine, which has a gap of around 20hp – the real difference is made by efficiency and the ability to maintain as much power as possible with the passage of time, managing the wear of the various components of the Power Unit.

Author: Paolo D’Alessandro

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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