Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat's seat swap: The practicalities
Do Verstappen and Kvyat keep their tyre allocations? Do championship points switch across? And what about power units?
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 19/05/16 11:12am
Mid-season driver transfers - let alone direct seat swaps - are rare in this era of F1.
So, following the sudden switch of Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull stable, what are the practicalities of the change heading into the Spanish Grand Prix?
We answer some of the questions...
Do the drivers keep their points?
Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat retain the points they have scored so far in 2016.
That means new Toro Rosso driver Kvyat stays eighth in the standings on 21 points, with his Red Bull replacement Verstappen 10th with 13 points. They will now add to these tallies with their new teams.
What about constructors' points?
Red Bull and Toro Rosso's respective scores from the first four races also remain unchanged. The points Kvyat and Verstappen scored before the swap remain with their old teams.
The pair will start scoring for their new teams from Spain this weekend.
Do tyre allocations swap over?
Drivers may now have greater reign over what tyre compounds they bring to race weekends, but that does not mean selections already submitted to Pirelli are switched over if they move teams mid-season.
When's the Spanish GP on Sky?
The Spanish GP is live on Sky Sports - and there are a host of ways to watch the race weekend.
'Tyre allocation is made by the competitor and can't be changed after the deadline,' said a Pirelli spokesman. 'So Kvyat will have in Spain the tyre sets originally allocated for Verstappen and the latter will have what was chosen by Red Bull for Daniil.'
With tyre selections for European races having to be made eight weeks in advance, Toro Rosso and Red Bull submitted their choices for Barcelona back in March. Their drivers' tyre selections are also already locked in for the races in Monaco, Canada, Azerbaijan and Austria.
As chance would have it, the selections for Toro Rosso and Red Bull for the Spanish GP are quite different. At Red Bull, Kvyat was due to have two hard, four medium and seven soft compounds available, but will now have the allocation previously allocated for Verstappen at Toro Rosso of one hard, six medium and six softs.
Differences in car characteristics or intended race strategy tend to account for differences in selections between teams, rather than driver preferences.
What happens with power unit usage?
The Sporting Regulations state 'if a driver is replaced at any time during the Championship season his replacement will be deemed to be the original driver for the purposes of assessing power unit usage'.
With power unit elements used therefore car and not driver specific, Verstappen and Kvyat will take over each other's usage so far. Both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso are on their first engines of the season, but Kvyat has used more of other elements than Verstappen. The second Red Bull is on to its second energy store and third control electronics (CE) of 2016, whereas the Toro Rosso is only onto a second CE.
However, Kvyat's Toro Rosso may be fitted with new power unit elements at Barcelona after its Ferrari engine failed for Verstappen in the Russian GP.
An F1 power unit is made up of six elements and each car is able to use five units in each area before a grid penalty is applied.
As with engines, usage is linked with car rather than driver. The regulations state 'if a driver is replaced after the first, second, third, fourth or fifth Event of a six Event period, having finished the first, second, third, fourth and fifth Events, the replacement driver must use the gearbox which the original driver had been using'.
With only four races completed so far in 2016, cars are still supposed to be on their first gearbox of the season. However, as Verstappen's STR11 failed to finish in Russia, Kvyat will be able to start his second Toro Rosso career with a fresh penalty-free unit at Barcelona.
How will the engineering teams shape up?
Full details of any internal engineering reshuffles have not been made public, but what is already known is that Xevi Pujolar, a senior engineer on Verstappen's side of the garage during the Dutchman's time at Toro Rosso, has already left the Italian-based outfit and the Red Bull company.
Kvyat's engineer at Red Bull was Gianpiero Lambiase, who is likely to fulfil the same role for Verstappen.
Verstappen has already visited Red Bull's Milton Keynes factory for a seat fitting in the RB12, with Kvyat due at Toro Rosso's Faenza base on Tuesday for his STR11 seat fit and simulator work.
Do the drivers' numbers change?
Before 2014, drivers would be allocated a new car number if they moved to a new team during the season.
However, with permanent driver numbers now in place, Verstappen keeps 33 and Kvyat 26.
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