Formula 1 drivers can use eight engines during the 2009 season, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told the Italian press earlier this week.
It was previously understood that, as part of the new cost-cutting measures for this year, the original one-engine per two races rule had simply been extended to include more races per single 2.4-litre V8 unit.
However, as per the FIA’s clarification last month that mandatory engine life in 2009 has been “doubled”, Domenicali explained at the launch of the team’s F60 racer that drivers will now be allocated eight engines for the whole season.
Unlike in 2008 and before, therefore, this year engines do not need to be used consecutively, meaning that drivers can avoid the risk of using the same engine at arduous power-circuits such as Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.
Also crucially, penalties for ‘unscheduled engine changes’ will not be allocated until a driver has completely exhausted his season’s supply of eight power plants.
It means that a driver could theoretically use one engine in qualifying and another for the race, without attracting a penalty.