Due to the financial concerns raised by the pandemic it was agreed that the cars used this season will be used again in 2021.
However, with McLaren switching from Renault power units to Mercedes the FIA introduced a token system whereby all teams could carry out certain modifications to their cars as part of their limited development.
With their (two) tokens, teams can modify certain parts of the car rather than face the prospect of being stuck with the same car they ended the 2020 season with.
However, with an eye on those teams using components supplied by another team...
"Notwithstanding the objectives and provisions of this Article 22.8, Competitors may use up to a total of two (2) tokens for the modification of certain homologated components after the specified freeze date," state the 2021 technical regulations. "This provision applies only for HCs (homologated components) with R1-2020 or mid-2020 freeze dates.
"For the avoidance of doubt, if one or two tokens have been used during the 2020 Championship, as allowed under Article 22.1.4 of the 2020 Technical Regulations, the updated components of the 2020 Championship must continue to be used for the 2021 Championship, and these tokens will be considered as used also for 2021."
In other words, teams using homologated components from another team that required the use of tokens must also hand over their tokens.
However, those teams currently using 2019 parts can upgrade to their supplier's 2020 version without having to use their tokens, basically giving them a 'get out of jail free' card, which is particularly galling for rivals considering Racing Point's current form.
"In the event the Customer Competitor has used for that TRC-H or FSC-H the 2019 specification of the Supplying Competitor during the 2020 season, but wishes to upgrade to the 2020 specification for the 2021 season, this change will be acceptable without the use of any tokens," state the most recent version of the 2021 regulations..
Racing Point currently uses the Mercedes 2019 gearbox while AlphaTauri uses Red Bull's 2019 version, next season both can upgrade to the 2020 versions without having to use their tokens.
Other than gearboxes, both teams use other components from their rivals, such as Mercedes steering and braking systems and suspension, all of which can be upgraded without the need to use their tokens.
However, Haas and Alfa Romeo, already suffering courtesy of Ferrari's engine 'issues', already use the Maranello outfit's 2020 components so any upgrades would necessitate the use of their precious tokens.
Racing Point technical boss, Andrew Green has confirmed that the Silverstone-based outfit, much to the frustration of its rivals, will take full advantage of the loophole and upgrade to Mercedes 2020 gearbox and suspension components.
"I think it's happening," he said. "The rules allow us to do it, so we're going ahead and doing it.
"We've cleared it with the FIA, and they have no problem with us doing it," he added. "The rules as written allow the teams to bring their cars up to the 2020 specification, which I think is only fair.
"Just because we elected to run 2019 suspension before COVID started shouldn't be held against us," he insisted. "We should be allowed to bring our car up to the same specifications everyone else has got.
"To be clear, it's an upgrade to a 2020 suspension, it's not an upgrade to 2021," he explained. "What we're running now is 2019. So what they want to do is penalise us and keep us running two-year old parts, rather than bringing it up to date.
"It's not like we're getting an advantage and bringing '21 parts of the car. It's only bringing it up to the same as they've got now."