Formula One has quietly dropped a requirement for engines to last three successive races this season.
Article 28.4 of the 2009 sporting regulations, posted on the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA)'s website (www.fia.com) this week, makes no mention of having to use engines in sequence.
"Each driver may use no more than eight engines during a championship season," the article declares.
"Should a driver use more than eight engines, he will drop 10 places on the starting grid at any event during which an additional engine is used."
There are 17 races this season, starting in Australia on March 29.
An FIA spokesman confirmed the new rule would allow drivers to use their eight engines in whatever sequence they wished.
A Ferrari spokesman said however that some of the details concerning the application of penalties had still to be clarified.
The FIA's world motor sport council said in a statement last month that there would be an eight engine quota per driver but added that the three-race rule previously agreed in November would remain in force.
Drivers had to make their engines last for two races in a row last season or incur a 10-place penalty, although they were allowed one 'free' change.
Britain's now-retired Red Bull driver David Coulthard used one of his engines for three races last year for strategic reasons.
The requirement for gearboxes to last four successive races remains in force.