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F1 backs down on Honda engine-testing

2015-01-18 06:40

HONDA'S 2015 POWER UNIT: Formula 1's governing body has agreed to let: Honda amend its engines through 2015 - in line with other power unit-makers.. Image: Honda

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England – The McLaren Formula 1 team has been given a boost by the sport’s governing body now allowing Honda, the team's new engine partner, to develop its engine through 2015 in line with rival manufacturers.

The Japanese company, which has replaced Mercedes as McLaren’s ”power unit” supplier, is returning to F1 as a fourth engine-maker.

Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari were already allowed to introduce limited upgrades during the season but Honda, as a new entrant, had been told to present its engine for approval on February 28 2015 with no further development permitted.

'EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES'

Honda met International Automobile Federation officials on February 12 to present its view that the situation was unfair. Now a document issued to teams on February 16 by F1 race director Charlie Whiting, seen by Reuters and confirmed by the federation, did not name Honda but clarified the situation with an amendment in its favour.

"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," it said.

"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."

FOUR TITLES LAST TIME OUT

The current manufacturers are allowed to improve their engine using a complicated system of 'tokens' within set limits. They are assigned to parts of the engine and divided into three categories, meaning that some parts require more than others and manufacturers must choose which areas to improve.

There are 66 tokens and pre-existing manufacturers can use 32 during the course of 2015, with the number reduced over time so that by 2018 there will be only 15 available.

Honda, partner to McLaren from 1988-92 when they won four Constructors' titles, quit F1 as a constructor at the end of 2008.

McLaren has not won a race since 2012 and finished fifth in the Manufacturers’ standings in 2014. Double F1 champion Fernando Alonso has now joined the team from Ferrari to partner Briton Jenson Button.

The season will start in Australia on March15, with 2014 F1 champion team Mercedes again expected to set the pace after a dominant 2014.

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Read more on:    mclaren  |  button  |  honda  |  alonso  |  charlie whiting  |  f1

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