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Insider’s guide to what it means to be a parc ferme and mean.
In F1, the teams continually push the limits (and try to “flex” the rules), and the organization that governs them is the FIA, which always tries to ensure that the rules are kept in place and that everyone is fair.
One of the most crucial aspects of this process is performing legality checks of the vehicles in parc ferme and restricting the teams to parc ferme conditions during the weekend. But what is this, and how will it affect the teams?
The word parc ferme is a French phrase that translates to “closed park. It typically refers to a secured area within an event where a team of inspectors scrutinizes cars to ensure safety and legality.
The tests include the measurement of weight and dimensions. They are performed with laser technology and equipment checks where homologation labels are examined to verify that parts have been pre-tested and conform to applicable standards.
In the modern F1, parc ferme also refers to specific times on the Grand Prix weekend when the cars are kept in garages, but they are in the view of a scrutineer. Teams are limited in what they can perform on them.
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What is the difference of parc ferme and parc ferme conditions?
Parc Ferme can be described as a cordoned-off area supervised by FIA with restricted team access. It is situated by the FIA garages, which are usually located near the podium so that the top three finishers can move to the awards ceremony following the race.
It is not possible to work on a car within this zone. However, three mechanics and the appropriate equipment are required to shut down the system, keep the machine cool, and assist the examiners through the entire inspection process.
However, when the cars are in parc ferme conditions, they could be on track or in pit garages. Teams can contact them. However, they’re only allowed to make modifications that are specified.
When must cars be parked in parc ferme or placed under parc ferme conditions?
Teams are required to go to parc ferme or required to be working under parc ferme conditions many times during the weekend.
At the beginning of the weekend, every team scrutinizes its vehicle and then declares it is legal. However, to ensure they are authentic, The FIA will call at least six vehicles for inspections in the parc ferme after practice.
Teams are allowed to alter their cars in any way they want (within the regulations) until the time of qualifying. However, when the green light turns green to Q1, all vehicles will be put in parc ferme conditions from then until the start of the race.
If a car is knocked out of qualifying during either Q1 or Q2 is likely to be taken back to the team’s garage and kept under parc ferme conditions and remain under the watchful eyes of a steward at all times in the presence of the team.
All cars running in Q3 must go to an actual parc ferme after the session to be inspected for safety and legality. Then, they are released to the garage by an inspection, this time in parc ferme conditions.
At the end of the race, class winners must be taken for parc ferme for the legality and security inspections. It takes 1-2 hours or more, depending on the situation following which the cars will be released to teams. One vehicle will be selected randomly to stay to conduct a more thorough investigation.
The risk of irregularities being able to be discovered and the resulting penalties being handed out means that the race results are only determined and verified after the champagne has been sprayed.
What are the best ways to make parc ferme conditions work?
Before each car leaves the pit lane to begin qualifying, the teams give each FIA technical Delegate a setup sheet. The exact setup that they will follow throughout qualifying and race.
Teams are allowed to do some maintenance work in parc ferme conditions, including replacing parts similar to the ones they have. However, they cannot alter any vehicle component or the suspension configuration.
One scrutineer is assigned to each car to ensure that the car is not subject to any unauthorized work being done in parc ferme conditions. If rules are not followed, the car has to begin the race in the pit Lane.
What is it that teams are allowed to do in parc ferme conditions?
The FIA regulations provide more than 20 distinct tasks that can be done to the vehicle in parc ferme conditions. Anything not listed requires written authorization.
The engine can start, add fuel, or be removed, a fuel breather can be fitted, and spark plugs can be removed to permit internal inspections of the engine and checks on cylinder compression. Storage devices for energy can be discharged or charged.
The brake system may be cleaned, engine oil can be drained, compressed gases may be drained or added, and other fluids may be replenished or depleted, provided the replacement fluid meets the same as the original.
The tires, wheels, fasteners, and wheels can be removed, changed, or rebalanced, and the tires’ pressures can be monitored. The cooling or heating device can be added, and a jump battery may be connected to the electronics so that they can be accessed through an electrical connection.
The front wings can be adjusted with the existing parts. However, no components can be added, removed, or substituted. The bodywork can be removed, and cosmetic changes are possible tape is also possible for any part of the vehicle to be cleaned.
The onboard camera, marshaling systems, and timing transponders can be taken off, replaced, or even assessed. Also, adjustments can be made to reflectors, seat belts, and pedals. Additionally, the bottles of drinks can be filled to a maximum capacity of 1.5 Liters.
All parts removed for carrying out the work or to conduct safety checks are to be kept near the vehicle, given the scrutineer assigned to it. All parts must be reassembled in the same condition as before the car is removed from the pit track.
What happens if a vehicle is damaged?
The law allows the repair of accidents that have caused damage. However, how it is defined is a gray area.
The cars are often required to touch up after qualifying because the areas closest to the track, like the diffuser, floor, or front wing – could be damaged when hitting curbs and debris. If a driver cannot get off, it might be more difficult than the other drivers.
Teams need to submit a verbal request in writing to FIA Technical Delegate, in which they clearly state any replacement parts they’ll need to be able to fit. They must be identical in design and comparable in weight, inertia, and functionality to the original.
Repairs should be carried out the same way as any other task under parc ferme conditions – in the presence of the designated scrutineer. Any of the components that are removed are not retained by the FIA.
In urgent situations, such as mid-qualifying or when on the grid, changes are permitted without written consent as long as there is a reasonable expectation that permission will be granted and the official will scrutinize the removed parts.
How do I change the power unit or the gearbox?
Certain parts must be used for a specified number of races before being replaced. If they are not, the team could be penalized. The penalty is given regardless of whether the result of a crash, break-down, or performance caused the modification.
Gearboxes should be used for at least 6 races before they can be altered. If a team must alter a gearbox before that, they will be subject to the possibility of a grid penalty. A team must replace the chassis and start from the pit.
Power units are more complex since it’s divided into multiple components. Each driver can only use a specific amount of each part of the power unit in the season. However, they can change them at any time they wish.
They are permitted not more than three engines and three motor generator units heat (MGU-H), 3 turbochargers, two energy stores, three control electronics, two motor generator units-kinetic (MGU-K), and eight sets of exhaust systems.
Suppose they are using more than the number assigned to an element and are subsequently handed the penalty of grid space. This amounts to 10 spots in the first request for each component, 5 for the subsequent request, and the back of the grid’s start when more than 15 are totaled.
What is the team’s use of engines being monitored?
The FIA seals are attached to every component of a team’s power unit before when it is utilized in the very first instance. This makes the engine an entirely new one and guarantees no moving parts can be replaced or rebuilt.
Seals are taken off when the engine is operating conditions. However, within two hours after the close of the post-race parc ferme, all used parts of the power unit are sealed to ensure they are not used or removed between races.
The next time the power unit element is utilized, the FIA will remove the seals, and all components must be kept in the garage when not installed on a vehicle. They can only be used on a participating vehicle.
When are teams able to work on their vehicles?
Teams are given three and a half hours after the completion of qualifying time to finish working on their cars before having to take a break for the remainder of the day. The cars are protected overnight, and the FIA seals them to ensure they’re not damaged.
In some instances, teams may get approval from the Technical Director to take one vehicle for marketing purposes, but no work may be carried out on it, and it has to be secured and covered with a seal not more than 2 hours after the deadline.
On Sunday morning, 5 hours and 10 min before the beginning of the formation lap, the covers and seals can be taken off, and teams will be able to begin to repair them, however, under parc ferme conditions.
One hour before the race starts, every team is updated on the work teams of the other teams have accomplished in the parc ferme conditions – which can be fascinating reading.
What happens when it rains?
Cars designed to run in dry conditions cannot be driven in wet conditions; therefore, if the weather changes or appears to change, Race Control can declare a ‘change in the climactic conditions’ and ease on the parc ferme conditions a little.
Teams may then alter radiator and brake ducts to decrease or increase cooling and also alter pitot tubes used to measure. They can also change the headrest surrounding the driver’s head since three types are suitable for three different temperatures.
If the conditions are considered adequate to make it”a wet race,” teams may change their set of slick tires allocated for the race and then fit fully wet or intermediate rain tires for the beginning.