Honda hoping for 'fair competition' amid rule loopholes
McLaren's engine supplier Honda has called for "fair competition" in F1 after it emerged last week that it would not be allowed to exploit a loophole in the rules regarding engine development this season.
Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault have been given the go-ahead by the FIA to develop their power units throughout the season after it emerged that the governing body had not set a date for homologation of the 2015 engines. However, as a new manufacturer, a homologation date does exist for Honda after which its power unit design will be frozen until the end of the season - as was the case for its rivals in 2014.
For the other three manufacturers 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. Changing 100% of the weighted components would require 66 tokens, but after the first year the manufacturers have just 32 tokens to spend on developments and are not allowed to change certain components (8% of the total) that were immediately frozen after the first homologation.
Honda is free to develop any part of its power unit up until its first homologation deadline on February 28, after which it will not be able to develop as it will not have any tokens to spend until next winter (as was the case for its rivals last year). But McLaren and Honda are not happy about its rivals being able to develop while its engine is frozen and has been in touch with the FIA.
"Honda believes in fair competition for the goodness of the sport, and for our fans," a Honda spokesperson said. "McLaren-Honda have contacted the FIA in regards to this issue, but we cannot discuss any details at this time."
F1's engine manufacturers also met in Geneva on Tuesday to discuss the longer-term future of F1's power unit regulations.