Strategy Group to aid Honda?


F1's Strategy Group could be called on to aid Honda as it continues to struggle with performance and reliability.

As the sport seeks to level the playing field, not only in terms of money but various other aspects, last year, the FIA's FIA Head of Powertrain, Fabrice Lom, revealed that in an attempt to find parity between the various engines after the opening three races of this season the performance of each engine would be analysed in order to create a performance index.

While there was talk of the index being based on a 0.3s gap over a simulation of the Barcelona track which would trigger the Strategy Group being called on to take action, Lom said there was no definitive gap.

Speaking at a special press conference at last year's Spanish Grand Prix, Lom revealed plans for the engine rules from 2017 and 2018 onwards.

"We had a mandate from the Strategy Group, with four pillars," he revealed. "The first one was reduction in price for the teams. The second one was obligation to supply. Then third one was help performance convergence, and the fourth one was to improve the sound. So these were the four pillars we worked on.

"To help performance convergence, the first big thing that people thought was important is to have stability in the regulations. There was a lot of discussion of changing completely the regulations, going back to normally aspirated engines, no hybrid. Nobody wanted that because the trend of the world is to go hybrid and to go low consumption.

"But also they thought if there is a big change there will be a redistribution of the cards and there could be a big difference in performance between the power unit manufacturers, so they said stability of regulations would help a lot. So this is the first tool for convergence."

Asked about the 0.3s gap, he said: "This figure of 0.3s is apparently something that went in the media. There is nothing prescribed. We will measure it at the beginning of each season and if it is considered to be not at the level that we expect to be, we will come back to the Strategy Group and report, and then what will happen will be a decision of the Strategy Group, according to the F1 governance we have today."

Asked about the process, he said: "We have a process agreed with the power unit manufacturers. We don't look at lap times, we have tools to simulate everything so we can calculate the performance of the power unit itself on each car and we transform this in a power index. You have this hybrid system and an engine and you cannot only talk about horsepower, so it is translated into a power index.

"We check every car, every lap of these first three races. We take the best of each power unit for each race and each PU manufacturer, then we do the average over the three races. This should give a power index of performance for each power unit manufacturer. This is an index. Then we have a translation of this index into lap time on the Barcelona lap."

Ahead of the fourth round of the championship, McLaren is pushing for the Strategy Group to call on rival teams to give the go-ahead for Honda to seek help.

"It is something that we have to raise," said Eric Boullier, according to "We are in a position today where I am not sure everyone wants us to get more performance from the power unit, but I think it will be fairer for F1 to have a level playing field.

"I am not saying helping someone to beat the best power unit," he insisted, "but to be within this 0.3 seconds ballpark of performance. I think it will fairer and good for F1. It will be more attractive for other car and engine manufacturers to join F1, and for the fans it will be much better as you will have closer racing on track.

"It would tick all the boxes: except we are in a competitive world and I know a lot of people do not want us to deliver on that part."

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Published: 24/04/2017
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