Insider’s guide to what do you mean by parc ferme and what does it mean?
In F1 the teams continually push the limits (and trying to “play with” the rules) and the overarching body that governs the sport, the FIA always tries to ensure that the rules are kept in place and make sure everyone is fair.
The most important part of this process is performing legality checks on cars that are in parc ferme and restricting the teams to parc ferme conditions during the weekend. But what is this and how does it impact the teams?
The word parc ferme is a French expression that literally means “closed park. It typically refers to a secured area within an event where cars are scrutinized to ensure safety and legality.
The tests comprise the measurement of weight and dimensions and are performed with laser technology along with equipment checks where homologation labels are scrutinized to verify that parts have been pre-tested and comply with applicable standards.
In the modern F1, parc ferme also refers to specific times of time over the Grand Prix weekend when the cars are kept in garages, but are put under the scrutiny of a scrutineer. Teams are limited in what they can perform on them.
What is the different of parc ferme and parc ferme conditions?
Parc ferme has been designated as a closed area, supervised by FIA with access restricted to the teams. It is situated near at the FIA garages, which are usually located near the podium so that the top three finishers are able to move to the celebration after the race.
There is no work that can be performed on a vehicle in this zone, however, three mechanics as well as the right equipment are required in order to stop the system and keep the machine cool and help the inspectors during the process of checking.
However, when the cars are put on parc ferme conditions they could be on the track or inside the pit garages. Teams have the right to contact them, however they are only able to make specific changes.
When do cars get required to 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.
In the beginning of the weekend, every team scrutinizes its vehicle then declares that it is legal. However, to ensure they are honest The FIA will call minimum six vehicles to be checked on parc ferme after practice.
Teams are allowed to alter their cars however they like (within the guidelines) until the time of qualifying, however, once the green signal is activated in Q1, the cars will be put in parc ferme conditions from then until the start of the race.
Any car that fails to get out of qualifying during the Q1 and Q2 rounds will be sent back to the garage belonging to the team and will be kept in parc ferme conditions and remain under the watchful eyes of a steward when there is a team member present.
All cars running in Q3 have to go to the actual parc ferme after the session to be inspected for safety and legality. They then return to the garage after an examiner, and again in parc ferme conditions.
At the end of the race, class race finishers are required to go for parc ferme for legality and security inspections. It takes between 1-2 hours and sometimes more following which the cars will be released to teams. One car is selected randomly to stay to conduct a more thorough examination.
The risk of irregularities being able to be discovered and the resulting sanctions to be handed out , means that the race results are not determined and verified until long after the champagne has been spray.
What are the best ways to make parc ferme conditions work?
Prior to each car leaving the pit lane to begin qualifying, the teams send their FIA technical Delegate with a setup sheet. It is this exact configuration that they will follow throughout qualifying and race.
Teams are allowed to do some maintenance work in parc ferme conditions, including replacing components similar to those of the same model, but they aren’t allowed to modify any part of the vehicle or alter the suspension configuration.
One scrutineer is designated to each car and make sure that the car is not subject to any unauthorised work being performed within parc ferme conditions. If rules are not followed the car has to begin the race in the pit Lane.
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What can teams do in parc ferme conditions?
The FIA regulations cover more than 20 distinct tasks that could be performed to the vehicle in parc ferme conditions. Anything not listed requires a written authorization.
engines can also be started with added fuel or removed, and a fuel breather can be fitted as well as spark plugs are removed to permit internal inspections of the engine and compression tests on cylinders. Storage devices for energy can be charged or released.
The brake system may be cleaned, oil from the engine can be drained, and compressed gases may be drained or added, and other fluids may be replenished or depleted in the event that the replacement fluid meets exactly the same as the original.
Tyres, fasteners, and wheels are able to be removed, changed or rebalanced. Tyre pressures can also be monitored. Cooling or heating devices 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 are able to be added, removed or substituted. The bodywork can be removed, cosmetic modifications can be made tape is also a possibility and any area of the vehicle can be cleaned.
Cameras onboard, marshalling systems , and timing transponders are able to be removed and replaced or assessed. It is also possible to make changes to reflectors, seats belts, and pedals. Additionally, the drink bottle can be filled to a maximum capacity of 1.5 Liters.
All parts that are removed for carrying out safety or work are to be kept near the car , in the sight of the designated scrutineer. All parts must be reassembled exactly as it was prior to when the car is removed from the pit road.
What happens if your car is damaged?
The regulations allow the repair of accidents that have caused damage however how exactly it is defined is a very hazy subject.
The cars are often required to touch up after qualifying, as the areas that are closest to the track, like the diffuser, floor or the front wing can be damaged by hitting kerbs or debris. If a driver is unable to get off, it might be more difficult than the other drivers.
Teams need to submit an unwritten request in writing to FIA Technical Delegate, in which they can clearly specify the replacement parts they require to install. They should be identical in appearance and design, and the same in weight, inertia, and functionality in comparison to the original.
Repairs should be carried out as with any other work performed within 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 – modifications are permitted without written consent as long as there is a reasonable expectation that the permission is granted and the parts that are removed are scrutinized by the examiner.
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How do I change the power unit or gearbox?
Certain components must have to be utilized for a certain amount of races before they can be replaced. Otherwise, the team could be penalized. The penalty is given regardless of regardless of whether the replacement was caused by an accident, breakdown , or due to performance.
Gearboxes have to be used for at minimum 6 races prior to when they are able to be altered. If a team has to alter a gearbox prior to that they will be subject to penalties on their grid. If a team must modify their chassis, they’ll be forced to start from the pit the pit.
Power units are more complex because it is divided into multiple components. Each driver can only use to use a specific amount of each component within the power unit in the season, however, they are able to swap them out whenever they like.
They are permitted only three engines and three motor generator units-heat (MGU-H) and three turbochargers as well as two energy stores, three control electronics, motor generator units-kinetic (MGU-K) and eight sets of exhaust systems.
If they are using more than the number assigned to element that they use, they will be slapped with an extra grid penalty. This amounts to 10 spots for the initial request of each element, five for the subsequent request and then a reverse of the grid’s start when more than 15 are totaled.
How is the team’s usage of engines being monitored?
The FIA seals are attached to every part of the team’s power system before it is utilized to the first time. This makes the engine an entirely new one and guarantees the integrity of all moving parts. be repaired or replaced.
Seals are removed once the engine is running conditions. However, within two hours after the close of the post-race parc ferme, all used components of the power unit are sealed in order to make sure they are not moved or taken apart between events.
In the next time the power unit element is utilized in the future, the FIA will remove the seals and the entire unit must remain in the garage when they are not connected to a vehicle. They can’t be used at any other time than on a participating vehicle.
What time can teams be working on their vehicles?
Teams are given three and a half hours after the completion in qualifying time to finish working on their cars prior to having to rest for the rest of the day. The cars are protected overnight and the FIA seals them to ensure that they’re not in any way touched.
In some instances teams may be able to get approval from the Technical Director to take one vehicle for marketing purposes but no work may be performed on it, and it has to be sealed and covered not more than 2 hours after the deadline.
On Sunday morning 5 hour and 10 min prior to the beginning in the form lap the covers and seals could be removed and teams are able to continue to work on them however, under parc ferme conditions.
A half hour prior to the race starts each team is updated on the work teams of the other teams have accomplished during the time of parc ferme conditions – which can be fascinating reading.
What happens when it rains?
Cars designed to run in dry conditions are unable to be driven in wet conditions in the event that the weather shifts or appears more likely to shift, Race Control can declare the change of climate conditions’ and loosen conditions in the parc ferme conditions a little.
Teams may then alter radiator ducts and brake ducts to decrease or increase cooling as well as altering pitot tubes that are used to measure. They may also alter the headrest that surrounds the driver’s body, as there are three types that are suitable for three different temperatures.
In the event that the conditions are considered to be sufficient wet to be considered”a wet race”, teams are able to change the set of slick tyres that were allocated to the race and put on fully wets, or intermediate rain tires for the beginning.