Engine tokens for in-season development confirmed by FIA


Across the course of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, the FIA confirmed how many ‘tokens’ each of the four engine manufacturers in Formula 1 has remaining to use for in-season development in 2015.

Prior to homologating their engines at the beginning of each season, teams are able to spend some of their tokens on improving the power unit that they used at the end of the previous year.

Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault all had 32 tokens to spend on improving parts and developing their engines for the 2015 season, with the majority being used over the winter to make a step up from last year’s showing.

Despite initially being told that it would not be able to develop its engine in-season, Honda – returning to F1 in 2015 as an engine supplier – has been given the average total of engine tokens that the other three manufacturers have left over.

In a short statement released last week, the FIA confirmed the tokens used by Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault over the winter:

Ferrari: 22 of 32 tokens

Mercedes: 25 of 32 tokens

Renault: 20 of 32 tokens

“As a new power unit manufacturer for the 2015 season, Honda has been granted an allowance of nine tokens for in-season development,” the statement read. “This is based on the average of those available to the 2014 power unit manufacturers.”

Therefore, the remaining tokens are as follows:

Ferrari: 10 tokens

Honda: 9 tokens

Mercedes: 7 tokens

Renault: 12 tokens

Given that both Mercedes and Ferrari have made significant steps over the winter with their power units, it is not surprising that both manufacturers have used most of their tokens. Ferrari will be hoping that its current advantage of three tokens could give it an edge in playing catch-up to the dominant Mercedes cars this year.

As for Renault, with over 1/3rd of its tokens remaining, it is perhaps unsurprising that the French supplier has endured a difficult start to the year. Red Bull may be frustrated by the shortcomings of the Renault power unit at the moment, but once the remaining tokens are used, it could yet come back into the picture at the front of the field.

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”