Formula 1 teams banned from hiding new parts in tweak to sporting regulations

Oliver Harden
Carlos Sainz drives the Ferrari SF-23 during Bahrain testing. Bahrain February 2023

Carlos Sainz drives the Ferrari SF-23 during Bahrain testing. Bahrain February 2023

Formula 1 teams have been banned from using a clever trick to hide new parts from their rivals and the media in a revision to the sporting regulations for the 2023 season.

In a push for more technical transparency, F1 launched a so-called show-and-tell scheme for 2022 in which teams would disclose changes to their cars from the previous race weekend – both in writing and by displaying the car in the pit lane – ahead of the opening practice session.

It made the development race easier to track, but some teams still found ways to keep their secrets hidden.

In the event that only one driver would receive upgrades, in some cases teams were known to roll out the old-spec car and keep the updated version hidden from view in the garage.

With this practice going against the spirit of the show-and-tell initiative, ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix the sport’s governing body the FIA has moved to ensure that the car put on display by the teams is the latest specification.

The revised rules state: “If only one car will carry the major aerodynamic and bodywork components and assemblies that have not been run at a previous Competition or TCC [testing of current cars] and are intended to be run at the Competition, this car must be the one displayed to media.” recommends

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In a related move, the FIA has also taken action to ensure fans are kept more informed about developments underneath the skin of the 2023 F1 cars.

Engine manufacturers will now be forced to hold a media presentation – lasting for at least 30 minutes – once per year to discuss their power units.

This development comes after it was claimed that Mercedes may have “missed a trick” with the development of their engine for the 2023 season.

Ted Kravitz, the Sky Sports F1 reporter, fears the team’s healthy reliability record last year has given them less room for manoeuvre compared to Honda/Red Bull Powertrains, Ferrari and Renault, with F1’s engine freeze only permitting changes for reliability purposes.

“Given the sport’s engine freeze until 2026, there is a theory around the paddock that, because Mercedes were reliable with their power unit last year, they missed a trick in terms of designing it to be powerful but not reliable and then being able to fix the reliability, which was allowed up until September last year,” Kravitz explained.

“Lots of other manufacturers did that. Renault did that, Ferrari did that, Honda did that. It meant that they couldn’t get to the end of the season without using an extra power unit and getting a penalty but they didn’t mind that because they could bring the changes to the engine on reliability but have a secondary benefit of adding a bit more power as well.”