Insider’s guide to what you mean by parc ferme and what it means.
In F1, the teams continuously push the boundaries (and try to “play with” the rules). The organization that governs them is the FIA, which constantly tries to maintain tight reigns and ensure every one is fair.
The most important part of this procedure is conducting legality checks of the cars 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 expression that means “closed park. It typically refers to a secured area within the circuit where vehicles are scrutinized for safety and legality.
The tests include dimensions and weight measurements and are performed with laser technology and equipment tests where homologation labels are examined to ensure that the parts have been tested and comply with the relevant standards.
In the modern F1, parc ferme also refers to specific periods over the Grand Prix weekend when the automobiles are stored in their garages, but they are in the view of a scrutineer, and teams are limited in what they can perform on them.
What is the difference between 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, usually near the podium, so the top three finishers can travel to the awards ceremony following the race.
No work can be performed on a vehicle in this zone. However, three mechanics and the right equipment are required to shut down the system and keep the machine cool and help the inspectors during the process of checking.
When cars are put on parc ferme conditions, they could be on track or in pit garages. Teams have the right to contact them. However, they’re only allowed to make modifications that are specified.
When are cars taken to parc ferme or placed under parc ferme conditions?
Teams are invited to go to parc ferme or required to be working under parc ferme conditions many times throughout the weekend.
When the event begins for the weekend, every team scrutinizes its vehicle before declaring it legal. To ensure they are honest to ensure they are, the FIA requires the cars for inspections in the parc ferme after practice.
Teams can modify their cars in any way they want (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 until the race.
Any car that fails to get out of qualifying during either Q1 or Q2 is likely to be taken back to the garage of the team, in which it will be kept in parc ferme conditions and remain under the supervision of a steward when it is in the presence of the team.
All cars running in Q3 must visit an actual parc ferme after the session to be inspected for safety and legality. They return to the garage by an examiner and again in parc ferme conditions.
Following the event, class race finishers must go for parc ferme for the legality and security check-ups. The process takes about a half hour and sometimes more; after that, the cars are returned to teams. One vehicle will be selected randomly to remain to conduct a more thorough investigation.
The risk of irregularities being able to be discovered and the resulting sanctions to be given means that the outcome of the race isn’t decided and verified until long after the champagne has been sprayed.
Read More : The Ultimate Guide to F1 Racing
What are the best ways to make parc ferme conditions work?
When each car leaves the pit lane to begin qualifying, the teams give each FIA technical Delegate a setup sheet. It is this exact configuration they have to adhere to for the remainder of qualifying and during the 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 modify any part of the vehicle or alter the suspension setup.
One scrutineer is designated 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 is required to begin the race on the pit track.
What can teams do in parc ferme conditions?
The FIA regulations cover more than 20 specific tasks that can be done on the vehicle while it is in parc ferme conditions. Anything that is not listed requires written permission.
The engine can start, add fuel, or be removed, and a fuel breather can be fitted, and spark plugs are removed to permit internal inspections of engines and checks on cylinder compression. Energy storage devices can be discharged or charged.
The brake system can be cleaned, engine oil is drained, and compressed gases can be drained or added. Other fluids may be replenished or depleted, provided that the replacement fluid has identical to the original.
The tires, wheels, fasteners, and wheels can be removed, changed, or rebalanced. Tire 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 physical connections.
The front wings can be adjusted by using the existing parts. However, no components are able to be added, removed, or substituted. The bodywork can be removed, cosmetic changes are possible, the tape is also a possibility, and any area of the vehicle could be cleaned.
The onboard camera, marshaling, and timing transponders can be removed, replaced, or examined. Also, adjustments can be made to reflectors, seat belts, and pedals. Additionally, the drink bottle can be filled to a maximum capacity of 1.5 Liters.
All parts removed for safety or work are to be kept near the car, in the sight of the scrutineer assigned to it. The entire system must be returned exactly as it was when the car was removed from the pit track.
Read More : How Much Do NASCAR Tire Changers Make
What happens if a vehicle is damaged?
The regulations allow the repair of accidents that have caused the damage; however, what is the definition of a gray area?
Cars are usually required to be retouched after qualifying, as those areas closest to the track, like the floor, diffuser, or front wing – could be damaged by hitting curbs or debris. If a driver cannot get off, it might be more difficult than the other drivers.
Teams need to submit a verbal request for approval to FIA Technical Delegate, in which they can specify any replacement parts they’ll need to install. They must be identical in design and comparable in size, mass, inertia, and functionality to the original.
Repairs should be carried out as with any other work performed within parc ferme conditions – in the presence of the designated examiner, and the FIA does not retain all of the removed components.
In urgent situations, such as mid-qualifying or the grid, changes are permitted without written consent as long as there is a reasonable expectation that permission will be granted and the examiner scrutinizes the removed parts.
What happens if you change the power unit or gearbox?
Certain parts must be used for a specified number of races before being replaced. Otherwise, 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 minimum 6 races before when they can be altered. If a team must replace a gearbox before this, they will be subject to the possibility of a grid penalty. If a team must replace its chassis, it must start from the pit.
Power units are more complex since it’s divided into various components. Each driver can use a specific amount of each part of the power unit throughout the season, but they can swap them out whenever they like.
They are permitted only three engines and three motor generator units heat (MGU-H), 3 turbochargers, and 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 allocated number for an element and are subsequently handed the penalty of grid space. This amounts to 10 spots in the first request for 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 secures seals on every part of the team’s power unit before when it is utilized in the very first instance. This makes the engine an original engine and ensures that the integrity of all moving parts can be replaced or rebuilt.
Seals are removed once the engine is operating conditions. However, 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 moved or taken apart between events.
The next time the power unit element is utilized at the next event, the FIA will remove the seals, and all components must be kept in the garage when they are not installed on a vehicle. They cannot be turned on at any other time than on a participant’s vehicle.
What time can teams be working on their vehicles?
Teams have three and a half hours following the conclusion in qualifying time to finish working on their cars before having to rest for the rest of the day. The cars are protected overnight, and the FIA seals the cars to ensure that the cars aren’t in any way touched.
In some instances, teams may get an agreement with the technical Delegate to take one vehicle out for marketing reasons. However, work is not allowed to be performed on it, and it has to be secured and covered with a seal not more than 2 hours after the original deadline.
On Sunday morning, five an hour, 10 minutes ahead of the beginning in the formation lap, the covers and seals can be removed, and teams can begin to repair them, however, under parc ferme conditions.
One hour before the race starts, each team is informed of other teams’ work in the parc ferme conditions – which can be fascinating reading.
What happens when it rains?
Cars designed for dry conditions can’t be driven in wet conditions if the weather shifts or appears like it is changing. Race Control can declare a ‘change in the climactic conditions’ and ease conditions in the parc ferme conditions.
Teams can change the ducts for radiators and brakes to decrease or increase cooling and alter pitot tubes used to measure. They can also change the headrests around the driver’s body, as three different kinds are suitable for three different temperatures.
If the conditions are adequate to make it a “wet race,” the teams can change the set of slick tires allocated to the race and put on the full wet or rainy tires for the beginning.