Engine upgrades to be allowed throughout 2015
The engine freeze aimed at reducing costs, has been overridden by the F1 Strategy Group – which will please Mercedes’ rivals no end
Renault and Ferrari have won their ght to be allowed to develop their engines during the 2015 season of Formula 1.
Both teams have been arguing for months that in-season development should be permitted to give them the chance to catch up with Mercedes. Ferrari additionally feel that there is an element of principle involved, in that all teams should be allowed to “innovate”.
The rules stipulate that a certain proportion of the engine is open for development from 2014 to 2015. This amounts to 92 per cent of the engine, of which 48 per cent can be developed in the form of 32 ‘tokens’, which are allocated to various parts depending on their impact on performance.
The FIA had been sticking to its view that the rules allowed only for updates to happen during the winter, something the regulations had originally intended as an attempt to keep costs under control.
But a loophole was discovered, and Renault and Ferrari used it to successfully argue that there was no requirement for the definitive engine to be homologated by a specific date. The issue was discussed at a meeting of the rule-making Strategy Group (which consists of six leading teams, Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA) in the run-up to Christmas. The group proposed that the 32 tokens could be used throughout the season, and not just ahead of it.
The result is that limited in-season engine development will be allowed. Manufacturers can now start the season with their 2014 designs and introduce their 32 tokens over the course of the season. Ferrari and Renault will certainly take advantage of this. They had run out of time to modify their engines in the way they wanted ahead of 2015, and will now do so by late spring or early summer. Mercedes’ position is unclear.
New arrivals Honda have been told that they will not be allowed to develop their engine through the season. As 2015 is their rst season, their engine will be frozen. This is “sporting and fair”, the FIA says, as Honda’s rivals were in the same situation last year.
Honda has been told to submit its new design to the FIA on 28 February but McLaren and Honda have questioned the fairness of the ruling as they will now be competing with a ‘frozen’ engine while their rivals can develop theirs during the season.
Renault and Ferrari were keen for engines to be updated in-season to let them challenge Mercedes