Report: FIA admits rules loophole to allow for 2015 F1 engine development


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.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.