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What is a parc ferme? What does that mean?

In F1, the team is constantly pushing the boundaries (and trying to “flexibly” the rules), and the governing body, the FIA, is always trying to keep it tight and make sure everyone is playing fairly. is.

An important part of this process is to perform a parc ferme car legality check and limit the team to the parc ferme state over the weekend. But what exactly does this mean and how does it affect the team?


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What does Parc Ferme mean?

The term parc ferme is a French phrase that literally translates to “closed park”. This traditionally refers to the safe area of ​​the circuit where the car is checked by an inspector for legality and safety.

Checks include weight and dimensional measurements performed using laser technology, and equipment checks that are pre-tested and displayed with a homologation label to ensure that the part meets relevant criteria. included.

In modern F1, parc ferme also refers to a specific period of time when the car is in the garage on the weekend of the Grand Prix, but is under the supervision of an inspector and the work the team can do is limited.

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes arrives at Parc Ferme after sprint

Photo: Andy Hone / Motorsport image

What is the difference between the conditions of parc ferme and parc ferme?

Parc ferme is a closed zone managed by the FIA ​​with restricted access to the team. Located near the FIA ​​garage and usually near the podium, the top three finishers can easily reach the ceremony from there after the race.

No car work can be done in this zone, but three mechanics and appropriate equipment are required to shut down the system, cool the machine and support the inspector throughout the inspection process.

In contrast, when cars are placed in a parc ferme state, they may be in orbit or in the pit garage.team can We will touch them, but you can only make certain changes.

When will the car be called by the parc ferme or will it be placed in the state of the parc ferme?

The team will have to be called to visit the parc ferme or work under the conditions of the parc ferme many times throughout the weekend.

At the beginning of the weekend, each team self-inspects their car and declares it legal, but to make sure they are telling the truth, the FIA ​​will at least check in the parc ferme after practice. Call 6 cars.

The team is free to change cars until the start of qualifying (within the rules), but as soon as the green light in Q1 comes out, all cars will be in the parc ferme state until the start of the race.

Cars knocked out of qualifying in the first or second quarter will return to the team’s garage, be held under parc ferme conditions and will be under Steward’s supervision whenever the team is present.

Cars traveling in the third quarter will need to go to the physical parc ferme after the session for legality and safety checks. It is then returned to the garage with witnesses under the conditions of a parc ferme.

After the race, all classified finishers must go straight to the parc ferme for legality and safety checks. This can take an hour or two, and in some cases even longer. The car is then returned to the team. One car is randomly selected to stay for a deeper inspection.

The fact that bumps are found and can be penalized means that the actual race results will not be determined and confirmed long after the champagne is sprayed.

Daniel Ricciardo's car in Parc Ferme, McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo’s car in Parc Ferme, McLaren MCL35M

Photo: Charles Coates / Motorsport image

How does the state of the parc ferme work?

Before each car leaves the pit lane for qualifying, the team will provide a setup seat to the FIA ​​Technical Delegate. This is the exact setup they have to stick to for the rest of the qualifying and racing.

Under the conditions of the parc ferme, the team can perform certain maintenance tasks, such as replacing parts, but cannot change parts of the car or change the suspension setup.

One inspector is assigned to each car to ensure that unlicensed work is not always performed under the conditions of the parc ferme. If the rule is broken, the car will have to start the race from the pit lane.

What can the team do in the state of Parc Ferme?

The FIA ​​rules list more than 20 different specific jobs that can be performed on a car under the conditions of a parc ferme. Items not on the list require special written permission.

You can start the engine, add or remove fuel, install a fuel breather, remove spark plugs, and inspect the inside of the engine and check cylinder compression. The energy storage device can also be charged or discharged.

Brake system bleeds, engine oil drains, compressed gas drains or additions, and other fluid drains or refills are possible as long as the replacement fluid has the same specifications as the original fluid.

Wheels, fasteners and tires can be removed, replaced and balanced to check tire pressure. You can install a heating or cooling device, connect a jump battery, and access the electronics through a physical connection.

The front wing can be adjusted using existing parts, but parts cannot be added, removed or replaced. You can remove the bodywork, change the look, add tape, and clean every part of the car.

Dashcams, marshalling systems, and timing transponders can be removed, reinstalled, or checked. Mirrors, seat belts and pedals can also be changed, and drink bottles can fill up to 1.5 liters.

Parts removed to perform work or safety checks should be stored near the vehicle in front of the assigned inspector. Everything needs to be restored before the car leaves the pit lane.

Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen arrives at Parc Ferme after qualifying

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen arrives at Parc Ferme after qualifying

Photo: Charles Coates / Motorsport image

What if my car is damaged?

The rules allow “repair of damage from a real accident”, but exactly how this is defined is a fairly gray area.

Areas closest to the truck, such as the floor, diffuser, and front wing, can be damaged by curbs and debris, so it is often necessary to fix the car after qualifying. If the driver is turned off, it can be a lot more work than that.

The team must submit the request in writing to the FIA ​​Technical Delegate. This request clearly defines the replacement parts that need to be installed. They should be “same design, similar in mass, inertia and function to the original product”.

Repairs must be carried out in the presence of an assigned inspector, as are any other work performed in the state of the parc ferme, and all removed parts will be retained by the FIA.

In emergencies, such as during qualifying or on the grid, changes can be made without written permission as long as permission is given and it is fair to believe that the removed parts will be seen by the inspector.

How about replacing the gearbox or power unit?

Certain parts must be used in a set number of races before being replaced. Otherwise, the team will be punished. This penalty is distributed regardless of whether the required changes are due to a crash, failure, or performance.

The gearbox should be used for at least 6 races before it can be changed. If the team needs to change one before that, they will face a grid penalty. If the team needs to change the chassis, they should start in the pit lane.

The power unit is more complex because it is divided into various components. Each driver is only allowed a certain number of each element in the power unit during the season, but can replace them whenever needed.

Allowed 3 engines, 3 motor generator units (heat (MGU-H)), 3 turbochargers, 2 energy stores, 2 control electronics, motor generator units Kinetic (MGU-H) There are 3 K) and up to 8 sets of engine exhaust system. ..

If you use more than the allotted number of any element, a grid place penalty will be passed. This is 10 places on the first request for each part, 5 places on the second request, and starts from the back of the grid if more than 15 are accumulated.

F1 engine

F1 engine

Photo courtesy of: Giorgio Piora

How is the team’s engine usage monitored?

The FIA ​​installs seals on all parts of the team’s power unit before using it for the first time. This defines the engine as a new engine and prevents critical moving parts from being rebuilt or replaced.

The seal is removed when the engine is running, but within two hours of the end of the post-race parc ferme, all used power unit elements are resealed and activated or disassembled between events. You will not be able to do it.

At the next event when that power unit element is used, the FIA ​​will have to remove those seals again and all the elements will remain in the garage when not installed in the car. It can only be started by participating cars.

When can the team work in their car?

The team will have to work in the car three and a half hours after qualifying and before stopping for the day. The cars will be covered overnight and the FIA ​​will apply a seal to ensure they are not touched.

In some cases, the team can arrange a permit from the technical delegate to keep one car out for marketing purposes, but they cannot do that and must cover and seal within two hours of the first deadline. ..

On Sunday morning, 5 hours and 10 minutes before the start of the formation lap, the seals and covers will come off and the team will be able to work on them again under parc ferme conditions.

One hour before the start of the race, all teams will be notified of the work done by other teams during this period of the parc ferme condition. This can be an interesting reading.

F1 driver on the grid in the rain

F1 driver on the grid in the rain

Photo: Mark Sutton / Motorsport image

What happens when it rains?

Cars set in dry conditions are not easy to drive in wet conditions, so if the weather changes or is likely to change, Race Control will declare a “change in climax conditions” and relax the parc ferme conditions a bit. can.

The team can then change the brake and radiator ducts to increase or decrease cooling or change the pitot tube used for measurements. You can also change the headrest around the driver, as there are three different types suitable for three different temperature ranges.

On the grid, if the condition is considered wet enough to declare a “wet race”, the team will change from the set of slick tires assigned to the race and either full wet or ready to start. Can be matched to intermediate rain tires.

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