Date: 19th January 2015 at 9:10am
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Following the Formula One teams finding a loophole in the current engine rule regulations, it has now been agreed that Honda can also make limited changes.

The loophole in the regulations has enabled teams to develop throughout 2015.

Ahead of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship, Formula One set about a new set of engine regulations, a rule change which brought about one of the most exciting Formula One seasons to-date, albeit dominated by Mercedes.

The sport also saw an amazing feet of engineering, with the new powerplants using a third less fuel than previous engines, whilst producing more power.

All aspects that the engine manufacturers built the new regulations around as they wanted to be seen as more relevant to road car manufacturing and show technological advancement.

In the build up to the 2014 season engine manufacturers spent a great deal of time and investment on developing the new era of v6 turbo-hybrid power-plants, casting aside the old aspirated v8 engines.

This was a long drawn out process, where the likes of Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes invested years of development before the regulations even came into practice.

To prevent spiralling costs following the new engine regulations, an engine freeze was implemented into the regulations, preventing any in-season developments.

It was believed that the regulations would then allow out-of-season development ahead of the new 2015 season.

Around 92% of the power-unit, including the internal combustion engine and hybrid system is available for alteration.

But to limit overall spending, engine manufacturers are given ‘tokens’ on what was thought an annual basis to spend on changes to their power-plants how they wish, with 32 tokens enabling manufacturers to actually change only 48% of the entire power-unit.

It was then intended that under the current regulations, after a certain date in the calendar, Formula One engine manufacturers are then not allowed to make any further developments to their engines over the course of the season.

However, it would seem whilst that was the clear intention the rules not specifically state any cut-off point, seemingly allowing the engine manufacturers to drip feed their developments throughout the season.

But with Honda making their debut in Formula One with McLaren in 2015, it looked as if we would have one rule for them and one rule for the rest.

For a time it looked as if Honda would have to work to the same rules as the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault did in 2014. Which meant that after they have had their engine homologated by the FIA by February 28th, they would not be able to make any further developments until the end of the season.

This of course would leave them at a major disadvantage to the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault as not only had they missed out on 2014, they would miss out on a full year of in-season improvements.

However it looks like a compromise will be made with Honda permitted to make limited alterations.

‘There is a will to be fair and equitable, Everyone should be able to do the same.? ? McLaren boss Eric Boullier told Sky Sports.

But of course nothing in Formula One is ever easy and a rather complicated set of directives have been sent out to the teams by FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

In a bid to limit Honda to the same amount of development that Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault have had, they will be allowed to use an average number of tokens based on the development of the other three engine manufacturers.

‘As each of the four 2015 manufacturers will have an homologated power unit at the start of the season, we believe it would be fair to ensure that each of them enjoys equal opportunities for upgrades during the season.

‘We will therefore allow the new manufacturer to use the same number of tokens that the other three manufacturers have available to them, taken as an average of the three.

‘For example, if the three 2014 manufacturers have eight, seven and five unused tokens respectively at the start of the season, then the new manufacturer will be allowed to use six during the season.’
said Whiting in a letter sent to the teams as quoted by Reuters.

 

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