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F1's pumped up the volume for 2015

2015-02-05 12:27

ADRENALIN RUSH: The thrill of a Formula 1 race getting under way this year might be improved with the volume turned up. Image: Shutterstock.

LONDON, England - Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari have been allowed to upgrade their turbo V6 'power units' by as much as 48% since the end of the 2014 season, under the 2014 engine 'freeze' rules.

Still, the slight relaxing of the homologation rules - the so-called 'unfreeze' - continues to cause controversy.

After 2014 suppliers found a loophole to continue with engine upgrades beyond the start of the 2015 season so newcomer Honda pushed for the same right.

TURBO V6 LOUDER

The International Automobile Federation eventually compromised, allowing McLaren's new works supplier to keep upgrading beyond Melbourne (first race of the season) but only to the tune of the average amount of performance 'tokens' left over by its three rivals.

According to Auto Motor and Sport, however, McLaren's Ron Dennis is not happy. The German publication said he in fact wanted Honda to be allowed to use the most tokens left over by Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari. For instance, if Mercedes has 10 tokens left in Melbourne, Renault eight and Ferrari six, Dennis thinks Honda should be granted 10 tokens for 2015 rather than the average value, which in this case would be eight.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt said Dennis would raise the issue at the strategy group meeting in Paris today (Feb 5 2015). "He will meet with resistance," said Schmidt, "especially from Ferrari."

Meanwhile, those at the opening test session at Jerez this week have noticed that the upgraded 2015-spec turbo V6 is way louder than that of 2014. Schmidt added: "And the tone is more like a racing engine than a lawn mower."

Mercedes' engine boss Andy Cowell commented: "I don't know why this is so - we definitely haven't done anything deliberate to make them louder."

Auto Motor and Sport speculated that the improved sound came from changes in exhaust length made solely for performance reasons.

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