ONE MORE TRY? McLaren-Honda has been allowed one more engine for the 2015 season thanks to a new set of race rules. Image: AP / Tom Boland
SILVERSTONE, England - Struggling McLaren will be allowed an extra engine for each of its drivers as Formula 1 announced a package of measures on Thursday (July 2 2015) that included an overhaul of its controversial power-unit penalty system.
A statement from the governing International Automobile Federation said a meeting of the sport's Strategy Group had agreed to a number of steps, some of which were still to be voted on. "It was agreed to allow an extra power unit per driver in the first year to any new manufacturer entering the championship and, for the sake of fairness, the measure will apply retroactively to Honda for the 2015 season."
Former champion team McLaren is in the first year of a new partnership with Honda and struggling to extract performance and reliability from the new V6 turbo-hybrid power unit in the team's worst start to a season.
Drivers were allowed five power units in 2014, the debut season for the V6 engines, but that was cut to four for 2015. Fernando Alonso has retired from four races in a row for the first time in his career; Jenson Button has scored McLaren's total of only four points from eight races.
In Austria in June 2015 double F1 champion Alonso and Button were each handed 25-place grid penalties - despite there being only 20 cars on the grid - for exceeding the season's engine allocation.
The federation said an overhaul of power-unit penalties had been unanimously agreed and would be submitted to an express vote by its World Motorsport Council in Mexico City. Changes to exhaust systems to improve engine noise in 2016 would also be voted on.
Increased restrictions on driving aids and radio-transmitted race advice would be implemented from the Belgian GP in August with an emphasis on race starts. The federation announcement added: "These measures will bring back the driver in full control of the car, enhancing race excitement and unpredictability."
The federation and commercial rights-holders were given a mandate to propose "a comprehensive set of measures for power-unit development and cost of supply". A new set of regulations to create faster cars with wider bodies and wheels and more downforce, was being assessed by teams.
"Exciting and innovative changes" to qualifying and the race weekend format were also being evaluated for 2016.
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