One-engine policy gets a tweak

SEPANG (MALAYSIA), MARCH 17. The one-engine, two-day qualifying rule in Formula One flunked in its first test.

Authorities are tweaking new regulations ahead of Sunday's Malaysian GP to close a loophole that BAR-Honda exposed in Melbourne, the opening race of the season.

Jenson Button and teammate Takuma Sato retired on their last laps of the Australian GP, allowing them to use new engines without incurring a penalty of losing 10 places on the starting grid in searing Sepang for the second GP of 2005.

The other teams will start practice on Friday with the same engines they finished with at Albert Park almost two weeks ago.

FIA, the sport's ruling organisation, amended the rules this week to specify that in future, unscheduled engine changes will be only allowed if the driver fails to finish the first race of a two-race combination because of an accident, not for purely tactical reasons.

"As a result of what happened on the last lap of the race in Melbourne a distinction will now be made between failing to finish and choosing not to finish, the former is normally accidental or beyond the control of the driver while the latter is not," FIA said in a statement. — AP

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