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Engine loophole to hurt Honda?

NEWS STORY
04/01/2015

A loophole in the 2015 engine homologations regulations looks likely to hurt Honda as it returns to F1.

The new rules introduced in 2014, along with the new engine formula, decreed that the engines with which the teams would be racing last year had to be homologated by February 28, and that no development would be permitted beyond that point.

However, under pressure from Ferrari and Renault, both keen to close the gap to Mercedes, the FIA has admitted that a loophole exists whereby there is no February deadline this season.

Consequently, the engine manufacturers now have the freedom to carry out performance developments into 2015 providing they do not exceed the 32 areas of development (each known as a token) outlined in the regulations and do not exceed the four power unit limit per car.

However, Honda is regarded as a new manufacturer and must have its power unit homologated by February 28, as noted by Charlie Whiting in a letter sent to all the teams.

The developments cannot continue all season, indeed, as in 2014, there will be a cut-off period which has yet to be agreed, some suggesting that this could be the Spanish Grand Prix in early May. This could well see teams using 2014 units during the opening stage of the season and introduce their developed 2015 units once the European season gets underway.

While the move will afford Renault and Ferrari the opportunity to try to close the gap to Mercedes, the German manufacturer is hardly likely to sit still and consequently, ahead of the relative development free-for-all in 2016, looks to continue its domination this year.

When contacted for comment by Pitpass, a McLaren spokesman replied: “McLaren-Honda has already been in contact with the FIA with regard to this issue, but we do not wish to say anything further at this time."

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 06/01/2015 8:53

"Steve Jobs of Apple was famous for creating a "Reality Distortion Field" which sucked otherwise sane intelligent and business-like people into a slavish admiration of Apple's products, this continues today long after Jobs' death.

Bernie appears to have achieved the same RDF in respect of F1 to the extent that the otherwise hard-headed people who run huge multinational companies like Mercedes, Honda, Fiat & Renault are prepared to be bamboozled by a "Sport" with more regulations than grains of sand on a beach, and even more loopholes in those regulations than the UK Tax system.

So Ferrari & Red Bull\Renault wanted an "illegal" engine unfreeze - no can do, until a miraculous Get Out of Jail Free card is disinterred from the labyrinthine depths of the "rules". Amazing.
Any pretensions that F1 once had to being a Sport are now surely revealed as being as phony as the Emperor's New Clothes. If I were Mercedes, or more especially Honda, I'd simply walk away now......."

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2. Posted by NorthernMike, 06/01/2015 5:05

"Quoting Charlie Whiting. "As the existing manufacturers were obliged to homologate their power units by 28 February 2014 it would seem fair and equitable to ask a new manufacturer to homologate their power unit before February 28, 2015,"

Thinking along those lines logically leads to "As the existing manufacturers were permitted to use five power units during the 2014 season it would seem fair and equitable to permit a new manufacturer to use five power units during the 2015 season,"

How many sets of rules are needed indeed."

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3. Posted by Canuck, 06/01/2015 1:12

"I don't know/understand how a entry is required to use old rules and those that used old rules last year can now use the loophole. Does that mean when Haas joins next year they will enter under the 2014 rules also and have to use the 2014 engines since they are a new entry? Where does the ridiculous become reality, ask the FIA - called F1?"

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4. Posted by Paul C, 05/01/2015 6:14

"Honda is now the main entree at the Piranha Club dining room. Good luck McLaren."

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5. Posted by Rappy, 04/01/2015 22:13

"I'm sorry but this goes against the very definition of a sport. A sport is somewhere where all competitors have the same rules. This is a total farce and morally illegal. That trumps any illegality in terms of technical rules.
It's the equivalent of saying some people can take steroids and others can't."

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6. Posted by yeyox, 04/01/2015 21:54

"Honda, welcome back to the nightmare of F1."

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7. Posted by CL, 04/01/2015 17:45

"A farcical start to the new season...lets race under the same rules...or not.

It's highly doubtful, but my new wish for 2015 is that Jenson button takes a commanding lead from race 1 and extends it throughout the year to win at the earliest point possible, Mercedes come second in the constructors and Merc and Renault teams push Ferrari back as far as they can go, preferably 7th or 8th. Basically anything that will make a mockery of the whole championship, the rules, the FIA, the commercial rights holder, the unbelievable shambles that is the division of profits, the show, the sponsors, everything. Maybe, just maybe something sensible will be done then. Or not."

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8. Posted by Durishin, 04/01/2015 14:16

"Mercedes spent millions to enjoy their current run of superiority. Obviously, they wish to extend it as far as possible. "

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9. Posted by kunal , 04/01/2015 13:20

"if this is true, then Mclaren Honda should be allowed to use 5 engines in 2015, as Ferrari,Merc. and Renault were allowed to do so in 2014. Or else remove the stupid rule and let all develop until end of 2015 season and then freeze it."

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10. Posted by Nortim, 04/01/2015 10:49

"Nice clean start to new season is just a dream...LOL..."

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