One of the bigger political, behind-the-scenes stories of the Formula One offseason has been the ongoing debate between the engine manufacturers over whether the 2015 power units would have to be locked into a single homologation by a certain date, or could see upgrades come in over the course of the year.
It appears that rather than 2014, where the dates were set and power unit homologations locked in, there is room for development in-season. The FIA has, in a note sent by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting to teams, admitted a rules loophole that allows for this to occur.
Autosport saw a copy of a note, which basically said teams can perform in-season power unit developments as long as they stick to the 32 development token limit outlined in the rules and do not exceed the four-engine per car limit for the season. It’s not explicitly stated within the rules that no engine work can be done.
This should, in theory, come as a blow to Mercedes – which has held firm on the engine freeze aspect for what could be further dominance as was delivered in the entirety of the 2014 season.
Renault and Ferrari could now have a fighting chance, and it was Ferrari’s technical director, James Allison, who brought up the issue during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.
Honda, however, is being treated as a new manufacturer and thus must have its 2015 unit homologated – and locked in – by February 28, per Whiting’s note.
It’s an intriguing technical – and political – element to the 2015 F1 season before it even really gets going.