• Ferrari

Engine loophole an early victory - Ferrari

ESPN Staff
January 13, 2015 « Bahrain could oppose F1 race in Qatar | Hamilton could win 2015 title by mid-year, says father »
Sergio Marchionne at the Detroit Motor Show © Getty Images

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says his team has achieved its first victory of 2015 by securing a loophole in the regulations to allow in-season engine development.

A token concession?

  • Despite the freedom to develop all year, the limit on engine development via a token system still applies, effectively meaning the manufacturers can now spread the development they would have completed before the first race over the course of the season. Under the regulations, power unit components are given different weightings depending on their influence on performance and a token system is used to limit what manufacturers can change from year to year. Changing 100% of the weighted components would require 66 tokens, but after the first year of competition the manufacturers have just 32 tokens to spend on developments and are not allowed to change certain components (8% of the total), which were immediately frozen after the first homologation. Nevertheless, the extra freedom has been welcomed by Ferrari as it attempts to close the gap to Mercedes in 2015.

Contrary to the intention of the in-season engine freeze, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault will be allowed to bring updates to their power units over the course of the year after it emerged the FIA had not written a homologation deadline into the regulations. Ferrari technical director James Allison pushed for the loophole, which gives the manufacturers the chance to spread their permitted development over the course of the season rather than rush it to meet a pre-season homologation deadline.

Speaking at the Detroit Motor Show, Marchionne said the extra development time would be important for Ferrari's recovery following a dismal 2014 season.

"Ferrari consists of 1000 people who want to win," he was quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport. "We have already achieved a good result by being able to make changes to the engines: I consider that an accomplishment."

However, Marchionne was keen to emphasise that he would take a back seat with regards to the F1 team and allow team principal Maurizio Arrivabene to turn Ferrari's fortunes around on track.

"I would like to say to the Tifosi that I will go to some grands prix, but we have appointed a team principal and he will deal directly with the management of the team. Unfortunately we went backwards, but I don't want argue with those who want to create a controversy and instead we will get our heads down to try to return to winning ways."

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