Honda able to develop their engines in 2015 after McLaren call for a 'fair solution'
Newcomers allowed to make limited changes during the new season
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 18/01/15 8:18am
McLaren are confident a ‘fair and equitable’ compromise will be agreed to solve F1’s latest engine squabble following an FIA directive which will allow Honda to develop their engines during the 2015 season.
Sky Sports understands that, following a meeting between the sport’s governing body and a delegation from Honda on Monday, the FIA have agreed that McLaren’s new power providers will be permitted to change their engine design even after the season has commenced.
"There is a will to be fair and equitable,” McLaren boss Eric Boullier told Sky Sports News HQ. “Everyone should be able to do the same.”
The FIA had previously ruled that only Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari, the sport’s three engine providers in 2014, could use 32 ‘tokens’ to upgrade their V6 units during the season, but Honda would have to provide a definitive version of their engine by February 28.
However, it’s understood that in a complicated ruling sent to the teams by Charlie Whiting, the FIA race director, Honda will now be able to make a specified number of amendments based on the average number of unused tokens by its three rivals when the season starts in March.
According to Reuters, in a letter sent to each of the teams on Friday, Whiting wrote:
"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."
Honda's rivals have previously argued that the 2015 newcomers should be made to 'suffer' the same difficulties they endured twelve months ago at the troubled onset of F1's new turbo era. The latest directive from the FIA means, however, that the number of changes Honda will be able to make during 2015 will be directly dependent on the progress Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault make with their new units before the season starts on March 15 in Melbourne.
While Mercedes are believed to be on schedule with their new engine, both Renault and Ferrari, who first pointed out that there was a loophole in the regulations which failed to specify a homologation date for 2015, are expected to continue tweaking their V6s through the course of the season as they strive to catch the Silver Arrows.
"It’s a late change and we are sorting out with Renault the best way to play it - it's not exactly clear," Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey told Sky Sports News HQ. "Renault still have some work to do on the dyno and after they’ve done that we will make a decision."
McLaren are yet to officially comment on the FIA's ruling.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on February 1, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News HQ.