En­gine up­grades to be al­lowed through­out 2015

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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

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