HONDA STILL GRUMBLING: Mercedes could make a strategic move to limit Honda's power unit tokens at the 2015 Australian GP in March. Image: Honda
LONDON, England - F1 returnee Honda might in 2015 be allowed to perform a quarter of the engine development of its rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
After initially being left out of the new engine "unfreeze", the International Automobile Federation relented and has permitted the manufacturer to do some in-season upgrading in 2015.
The federation's complex Honda ruling allows McLaren's new works supplier to do development based on the average number of "tokens" left over by its rivals.
ALL ABOUT TOKENS
Engine suppliers Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault have 32 tokens to deploy either before or after the start of the 2015 championship in Melbourne, Australia on March 15.
For instance, if Mercedes has eight tokens left in Melbourne, Ferrari has six and Renault four, Honda will be allowed to use the average number of tokens, totaling six, in 2015.
Until Jan 2015, Honda's likely allowance has been hypothetical.
Michael Schmidt, F1 correspondent for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, claims to have more information about Honda's engine rivals.
MERC PLAYING DIRTY?
Mercedes could start the 2015 season with its title-winning 2014 engine, leaving a full complement of 32 tokens to deploy throughout the 20-race calendar.
Schmidt quoted a spokesman for the Mercedes confirming that the team will in fact start the season with a new 2015-specification turbo V6.
He said the reason for Mercedes' change of plans is because of the Honda ruling. If Mercedes had gone into Melbourne with 32 tokens, Honda's "average" would have been dramatically increased. So Schmidt said Mercedes will probably fly into Melbourne with only six tokens left.
Renault, on the other hand, will reportedly have 7 left, and Ferrari 12, leaving Honda with an average of just 8 tokens to deploy in 2015.
According to Spanish sports daily AS, Honda is not happy with the arguable fairness of its development scope under the FIA's new ruling: "They are asking for a further clarification. They want to be like everyone else, with 32 tokens for development."
The federation explains a power unit supplier will be allocated a set budget of tokens it can spend on engine/parts development. The federation plans to reduce the number of tokens each year from 32 in 2015 to 15 by 2018.
According to the federation: "The power unit is divided into families of functions, with each family being given a certain importance, labelled as category 1, 2 or 3 components. For example, the pistons are ranked 2, while the ignition system is ranked 1.
"The power unit is made up of the sum of these ranked items with the complete unit being represented by the total number 66. Each year, manufacturers will be allowed to choose what parts of the engine to develop and will spend a set budget of 'tokens'.
"This development budget decreases each year. For 2015 the budget available to teams is 32 tokens (close to 50% of possible development) but for 2018 the budget drops to 15 tokens (less than 25% of possible development)."
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