Jody Scheckter, former South African driver and world champion with Ferrari in 1979, has expressed disdain for the rule on the maximum limit of replaceable components throughout the Formula One season, which over the years, despite the possibility of changing one additional Power Unit this year, has led to numerous grid penalties, often distorting the starting order.
Jody Scheckter against the component limit rule
“I follow the races, and I must say I enjoy them a lot, even though some rules are really trash,” admitted Jody Scheckter in a recent interview with the Italian daily newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“However, today the world works like this. You can’t do this anymore, and you can’t do that anymore. The penalty system the drivers have is ridiculous. You have an accident, you have to replace the gearbox, and you receive a penalty.”
“But the penalty has already been imposed due to the accident and the gearbox you had to throw away. So why do they also have to make you move back on the starting grid? Besides that, of course, you can have a good or less good race, but it will always be an interesting sport.” – he explained.
The most striking case, from this point of view, was seen in Las Vegas when the blameless Carlos Sainz, after a heavy impact on a manhole cover at over 300 km/h and having torn apart the SF23, was also forced to serve a 10-position grid penalty on Sunday for exceeding the maximum limit of replaceable components.
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Even Charles Leclerc, at the beginning of the 2023 Formula One season, incurred penalties in Saudi Arabia for the consequences of retiring towards the end of the Bahrain GP.
Although the F1 Commission allowed teams to replace Power Units four times this year, unlike previous seasons, penalties have continued to accumulate, and one wonders whether granting more freedom in an increasingly restrictive Formula 1 could be a reasonable decision for the future.