Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1, Yas Marina, 2014

Honda unhappy over engine development block

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Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1, Yas Marina, 2014In the round-up: McLaren’s engine supplier Honda expresses concern that it will not be allowed to introduce engine upgrades during the season as its rivals can.

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McLaren-Honda query engine ruling (BBC)

“Honda feels the ruling puts them at a disadvantage, and will meet the FIA next week to discuss the situation.”

Time running out for Caterham (BT Sport)

Administrator Finbarr O’Connell: “If you are spending £100 million you are not going to buy it and rush in at the end and do a half-baked season for 2015. People who are spending that amount of money per season want to do it completely properly.”

Racing against time to take place on the world’s most exclusive grid (The Yorkshire Post)

John Booth: “There’s still a slim hope, but it’s getting extremely late. We’ve got two weeks to complete something by. So there’s still a chance.”

Kvyat will thrive at Red Bull – Tost (Autosport)

“It was not planned that he goes there after one year. It was planned that he stays with us at least two years.”

French F1 winner Beltoise dies at 77 (Reuters)

“French former Formula One driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who won the Monaco Grand Prix in torrential rain in 1972, died on Monday at the age of 77.”

Kimi’s struggles (MotorSport)

Pat Fry: “Kimi was exactly the same at McLaren. He was always super-sensitive to the front end. When we had him and Montoya together we had about seven different front suspensions. To get the best from Kimi you need to give him the car.”

McLaren cambiará de colores en 2015 (Mundo Deportivo, Spanish)

McLaren and Mercedes are tipped to change their liveries.

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Comment of the day

Will Ferrari fans take time to warm to Sebastian Vettel?

How quickly can Vettel go from Antichrist to hero in the eyes of the Tifosi? This is the man that directly robbed their beloved Scuderia of the championship in previous years, and whilst you may argue that it is the same situation as when Alonso entered the team having deprived the Tifosi the championship in 2006, in 2006 Ferrari fans were not suffering so much of a results famine as they have under Vettel’s reign.

Also, how many McLaren flags will we see in Italy? How many Italian fans will be wearing Alonso caps and brandishing Oviedo flags? I sense that the Tifosi’s love for Alonso was more than simply inherent to the fact that he was the Scuderia’s number one: the Italian-speaking Spaniard had become an adopted home favourite in many ways during the ongoing absence of Italian drivers on the grid. Shaking off the legacy Alonso left behind might be as difficult as digging Ferrari out of their current performance trench for Vettel.
@CountryGent

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  • 128 comments on “Honda unhappy over engine development block”

    1. New livery for mercedes!?
      I’ve never been too keen on the petronas colours but I don’t see what reason they have to change!?
      Can’t wait to see the mclaren livery though (:

      1. They will probably keep the PETRONAS green, just change the matte silver they got now for the chrome silver McLaren had last year, that’s the rumour anyway. McLaren hopefully changing chrome for white.

        1. That’s what I was hoping for!

          Hmm I still think mclaren might go orange!

          1. I hope so. It is their heritage colour.

            1. My favourite Mclaren colour was white and black. Maybe it’s because I started watching F1 back in 1999, when Mika Hakkinen was racing for the team and winning races, and I was a huge fan of his.

              I hope one day it’ll return.

          2. I’d love to see an orange McLaren, not the horrible Spyker orange though!

            1. Honda Racing White with McLaren orange accents/stripes (like the Williams Martini Livery) and a bit of black would be epic.

          3. I think Mclaren may go orange too……..hopefully

      2. @nemo87 I like the Petronas colours, I would however appreciate more creativity with their livery since the car is relatively bare with sponsors. The Mclaren thing is how Keith put it. I don’t think McLaren will ditch the chrome all together but with Santander and Honda there must be red on it, 50/50 I say.

        1. I preferred the merc this year with the splash of black on the engine cover and driver surround..

          I see what you mean with mclaren though.. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see but the grid could definitely do with some colour!

          Bring back Jordan and jaguar ;)

      3. I’m hoping for more black and an altered design for Mercedes, with Monster Energy added to the livery, and a white and red McLaren with Santander as the lead sponsor as a throwback to the Marlboro McLarens

      4. Yes, I can’t see MB giving up the silver arrows connection.

        1. That looks sweet! Would be even better chrome’d out ;)

        2. that looks just so boring. Greys and chrome – the “best” of McLarens liveries lately indeed @neelv27, lets hope Mercedes keep enough green / petrol in their livery.

          I really loved to finally see some colour on that McLaren once they made the SAP logo orange, I for one hope that was in part testing to see how the colour works on TV images.

        3. @neelv27 no green at all? No Petronas green, no Monster’s black & green?

    2. Someone should remind Bernie he has no business in sporting regulations, rules etc.

      1. Not true. The FIA sold a lot of their influence to the Strategy Group for just 40 million a year: http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/ecclestone-to-propose-v10-comeback-for-f1/ (bottom of the article)

        As this article points out, there’s 18 votes in the Strategy Group and FOM has 6. That means he has a LOT to say about regulations now.

        1. Might want to add FIA holds 6 votes in the Strategy Group as well. Still, it’s a long shot from where they were previously; they had all the power regarding the rules. There’s 6 teams in the Strategy Group that all have 1 vote each, bringing the total to 18. If Ecclestone can convince at least 4 teams or the FIA, he’ll get his way. Before, teams had to all agree to change a rule. No more.

          1. Indeed. And the EU may well take a dim view of this. But even if they don’t, the FIA is now the most toothless of tigers – not so hard to set up a breakaway series if it should come to it.

      2. I disagree biggsy, if it wasn’t for Bernie we would be running stock cars by now.

        1. Sorry, that’s not true either. Bernie’s the sole reason small teams get so little money (Concorde Agreement), he always wanted at least Marussia or Caterham to fold because he thought 10 teams was enough and on top of that he wanted the bigger teams to run three cars because that way the field would be more competitive. He wants customer cars too, cars that are evenly matched. ‘Stock cars’ mean no Mercedes duo 30 seconds in front of the rest and that’s what he’s aiming at. He wants to put up a good show.

      3. It was clearly stated by the EC commission in 2001 that Ecclestone`s influence has to be restrained on F1 marketing issues because of the EU competition rules. That´s one of the reasons the EU is investigating instruments like the “Strategy Group” which could clear out as a carte which is illegall. If Ecclestone exaggerates (V10 engines), they will come down on him like the last time.

    3. How come it’s ok for Kimi to need a good car thst suits him to get the best, yet people like Jenson get loads of flack for complaining of lack of grip, it’s that not what Kimi wants from the front end of his car? Yet people say Kimi is amazing and Jenson has no idea how to set his car up.
      What is that all about????? I can’t stand Kimi, he doesn’t say much, has little interest in the fans and let’s face it, he’s no Fernando or Lewis that’s for sure. I just don’t get the hype, I think he has been a massive under-performer his entire F1 career and lucked into WDC due to the McLaren melt down.

      1. Because back in the day when Kimi was at his best he was quite simply the fastest F1 driver around (I agree that’s probably not the case anymore) but Jenson… well he could beat Lewis but not by much and not very often either, and by the way he also lucked into a WDC ;)

      2. @thebullwhipper Kimi’s narrow band of performance is with respect to only the front suspension, for Jenson it’s quite a lot more.
        Furthermore, I think I remember Ferrari being amazed by Kimi’s performances in late 2009, they later said he was doing things with the car which they felt well beyond it.

        1. That’s why they kept him jealously the next year. Oh wait … :)

          1. @spoutnik Ferrari paid Kimi his salary during the 2010 season and did their part of the contract, so that Kimi couldn’t negotiate with the other teams. So yes, Ferrari “kept” him and didn’t allow him to race against them. And that happened because Ferrari realized Kimi’s abilities after hiring Alonso.

            1. @huhhii Yep, they certainly realized Kimi’s ability after putting him up against Alonso.

      3. @thebullwhipper its also to do with the X factor and Button don’t got it. Aside from the 2011 Canadian GP his drives are just not going to get you on the edge of your seat. People give Kimi the benefit of the doubt because they have witnessed and can testify to some stunning performances.

      4. Sometimes being amazing on the track did not attract the fans to support the driver, but being amazing off the track will attract a lot of fans.

      5. I don’t think Kimi is a bad driver but I think he’s a bit overrated.
        2015 will be interesting at Ferrari because both drivers are experienced world champions in need to prove they still got it…

        1. I don’t think Kimi is a bad driver but I think he’s a bit overrated.

          He just doesn’t seem the same driver anymore. But what he did at McLaren was fantastic stuff, he was among the very best back then and that can’t be taken away by his performances now.

          1. +1 His peak was about 10 years ago. If I could rewrite the history books, my champions would be:
            2003: Raikkonen
            2004: Schumacher
            2005: Raikkonen
            2006: Schumacher
            2007: Hamilton
            2008: Massa
            2009: Button
            2010: Alonso
            2011: Vettel
            2012: Alonso
            2013: Vettel
            2014: Hamilton

            1. Holy crap, you took the words out of my mouth!!! I always feel Hamilton as the rightful 2007 winner, and Massa as 2008’s. This though leaves Kimi with ZERO WDC, so yeah we can go further back and make him the rightful winner of 2003 (he actually was, if you consider the 3 illegal points MSC got in the Ring).

              I don’t really feel that strongly against the 2006, 2010 and 2012 WDC titles though.

            2. Schumacher Champion of 2006? I would say that they were equally good, but Alonso didn’t try to cheat.

            3. @paeschli
              I’d give Kimi 2005 title too. Not 2003, not 2007. I wouldn’t give Massa 2008 either, I still can’t believe the robbed Lewis win at Spa.

            4. @Mashiat2 Schumacher was phenomenal in 2006. Ferrari had an awful start but managed to come back and Schumacher almost took the lead before he hit trouble in the last two races, his problem in Japan was heartbreaking.

            5. @paeschli I almo agree with you but 2008 really belonged to Hamilton for spa and silverstone. Did you see Massa at silverstone?! No driver that does that many pirouettes in a damp track should take home the WDC!

              @jcost Schumacher’s engine blow at Japan was heartbreaking. I remember seeing all the smoke billowing out of the car right after coming back from a commercial break on itv!

            6. @jcost The reason he dominated Alonso in the second half of the year mostly came down to the Ferrari becoming the much more superior car compared to the Renault. If I remember correctly, even Massa took more wins than Alonso in the second half of the year. But I’ll give it to Alonso due to a number of reasons:

              – He was relentless throughout the whole season, and didn’t make any errors that caused him to retire

              – His Qualifying lap in Monza 2006 was unbelievable. Even Pat Symonds said that it was impossible to get the time that Alonso got, from the damaged car.

              – He didn’t purposely crash

              – Alonso had more bad luck than Schumacher. Remember Hungary or Monza? Schumi only had Japan.

          2. Wasn’t he good back at Lotus? Only the past year in Ferrari seems to have damaged his reputation a bit.

            Even in 2009, he drove the wheels off the Ferrari post Massa’s accident.

            Also what we are talking here is basic design of the car with front end grip. Whereas Button’s requisite for a perfect car changes with every track.

            1. Wasn’t he good back at Lotus?

              Well, he was good, but I never felt he was as fast as he used to be. I fully acknowledge that this might be just my personal opinion. I just felt that something was missing, the edge that made him great at McLaren.

              In all honesty it’s a feeling I have had about him since 2008.

          3. How do we know that what he did at McLaren was amazing? For all we know, Alonso and Schumacher could’ve, and probably would’ve, done better in the McLaren.

            1. How do we know that what he did at McLaren was amazing?

              Most people felt that way back then and still do. You can never know for sure of course, but watching it all in action it seemed pretty obvious that he could drive that McLaren very, very well.

        2. Hes a lot over rated because hes “his own man”. Never rated him as a driver, did quick inlaps to overtake in the pits and sleep walked to a WDC. Still he says things like “Leave me alone, I know what im doing” and he liked James Hunt, so fanboys love him. They have been quiet recently mind you.

          1. Seb, Lewis or Alonso would be killed if they dared to have the same “I don’t need you” attitude…

      6. It’s a different game now, the cars are far different to drive. It’s much easier to learn that tyres can only be pushed in one direction at the start of your career in GP2 than after winning a world championship by making time another way. Seb’s been in exactly the same boat this year as he’s not been able to gain time the way he could in the previous era, we’ll see if/how people can adapt but it doesn’t make someone overrated if they get beat by a teammate who’s better suited to the conditions/regulations.

      7. Must admit I went off Kimi a tiny bit after he deliberately put Perez into the barrier at Monaco when his team desperately needed the points he was on for. Still, I’d like to see him in a pointy car again. I do see him as more special than Jenson, even if that can be specially stubborn and insular. There’s the enigma factor, whereas JB is pretty normal by F1 standards and I don’t watch F1 for ‘normal’.

        1. after he deliberately put Perez into the barrier at Monaco

          It is a delusional statement. That’s just too much for me. Perez is an idiot, who doesn’t know how to race wheel-to-wheel and when to overtake. Yet, every crash caused by him isn’t his fault. Amazing.
          @lockup – Kimi had to turn into the tight corner. He was turning into the corner when this Mexican idiot decided to out-brake the Finn. It was too late. So, yes, Kimi was committing the corner deliberately, because he ******* needed to turn, that is why corners exist in racing – to turn into them deliberately.

      8. You can hardly call Kimi or someone else lucky champion if he makes less mistakes than his opponents. Alonso and Hamilton had a superior car but they screwed up their chances to take the title with their mistakes.

        1. SV if you are going to offer your opinion as fact then I think we can safely assume that the Ferrarri was the faster car but just had 2 less talented drivers. Alonso has gone on to embarrass those 2 drivers in successive years proving that the Ferrarris of 2007-08 would have been unbeatable in Alonso’s hands.

          1. There’s no need to be rude towards other commenters if their opinions don’t match yours.

    4. I think the Tifosi will probably appreciate that Vettel went there for the team, not the car. I think most of the hate for him came out of frustration and dislike of the Red Bull philosophy rather than personal animosity.

      1. Maybe a bit formlated over the top, but I think it´s like this:

        Pretty much the only way to be sure to get a Ferrari-drive at some point in a career is to win WDCs with other constructors first, so I don´t think having won titles with other constructors can be held against drivers. Once inside Ferrari, a driver has a shot at the championships that really count, i.e. that are won with Ferrari.

        Alonso on the other hand has elected to leave Ferrari, which qualifies him as a traitor.

        1. People give Ferrarri far too much credit with regards to winning championships. Yes, by virtue of being the longest serving team they have quite naturally amassed the most wins. But if you put aside the Brawn/Todt/Schumacher Era their run has been sporadic at best. Long stretches of under-achieving are the norm for Ferrarri with sprinkles of success here and there. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Vettel left with a handful of race victories but no Championship, just like his predecessor.

          1. I tell people all the time that my oldest clear memories (without YouTube or DVDs aid) of F1 date back to 1991 season and in 1990s it was all about McLaren, Williams and Benetton. Ferrari was a second tier team that managed to shine on occasions, it was the Schumacher era that brought them back to the spotlight. I think the kids being introduced to F1 this decade don’t rate Ferrari that high, it’s just another underachiever to them.

          2. Yes, success with Ferrari is a bit rare, but it simply counts more, since it´s with Ferrari. A championship with another team just isn´t the full experience, the full feeling, it´s only when you won one with Ferrari that you have achieved everything. Ferrari is the legend, the car you drove in childhood dreams, and when you win with Ferrari children are dreaming of being you. That just doesn´t work with other teams (or at least not commonly).

      2. Certainly Vettel’s almost ideological motives for moving to Ferrari certainly has the potential to endear him to the Tifosi @george, but as I said their affections for Alonso in previous seasons have arguably rivalled those for the Scuderia itself since is was the Scuderia that lost titles though poor decisions in 2010 and through never really providing Fernando with the machinery. Whilst I am of course addressing the group-agency conundrum, as a regular at Monza I have noticed that the Ferrari religion has been manifested in some form of Alonso cult-of-personality in recent years. Will we see a diluted Ferrari affiliation in 2015 following Fernando’s exit to McLaren? I really couldn’t say…

      3. I participate in an Italian Blog run by an (very well known) Italian Journalist.

        95% of the people who attend this blog do not like Alonso, and they never did. They cannot forget Alonso declarations against Ferrari during 2005 & 2006 Battle, and they cannot forget Alonso implication in McLaren Spygate during 2007. Many of them respect the qualities of his driving, but hate his character.

        Most of them love Kimi, they do not understand why Ferrari sack him and keep Massa and they are now happy with Kimi and very hopeful with Vettel. They like so much the guy and see Vettels as the new “light” who will conduct the Team to the victory as Michael did.

        This is the typical way of thinking of the tifosi. They still think one man can lead a hole team with not taking care about the rest. And it’s somehow funny they think this about Michael Schumacher forgetting in Ferrari, at that time, there were Jean Tod, Ross Brown and Rory Byrne (the only Technical guy at the level of Adrian Newey -IMHO). For this reason, they also make Alonso somehow responsible for not having achieved anything and the current situation of the team.

        In any case all of them love much more the team than the drivers. Just two exceptions:
        Michael Schumacher is the “God” of F1 and Ferrari
        Gilles Villeneuve still loved by so many tifosi as the very best of all times.

    5. WHAT A BUNCH OF TOOLS, MAN! seriously ! couldn’t they have said so beforehand? “if a new manufacturer decides to enter F1, they will not be able to develop the engine during the season”

      “Oh, here’s a new problem… let’s just fix it and that’ll do for another year”. Eeeeeeeverything is “that’ll do”.

      Everything is a knee-jerk reaction because one of the teams managed to do much better than the others. You’d have thought that at this point FIA would be able to think about the chances of one team doing so much better than the others that it feels unfair. Because it happened at least once every 3 years since the 50’s…

      But no. They make the rules EXPECTING the teams to behave in a certain way. Like “Oh, how could they find a loophole?!” News flash, FIA, these guys are spending millions of dollars trying to find loopholes and advantages the others don’t see.

      Gosh!
      /rant

      1. couldn’t they have said so beforehand? “if a new manufacturer decides to enter F1, they will not be able to develop the engine during the season”

        The rules state that, albeit in other words:
        1) competitors must race homologated PU’s
        2) there is only one homologated PU per year

        1 + 2 = new entrants have to homologate before the first event they take part in and then not develop any further.

        What is hurting my head the most is not the existence of the loophole in itself, but the explanations that the FIA is now giving. “It’s fair and equitable to have Honda homologate before the 28 February”? What? Just say that they, by the rules, can only race homologated PU’s, and to end all dicussion, give them time for homologation up until P2 in Australia (P3 onwards you need homologated PU’s). That way they don’t have to invent anything and follow the rules exactly as they are written.

        And a second explanation, be clear in communication about what is valid for Merc/Ferrari/Renault. Just state that they can bring in their 2015 PU with all the allowed changes later if they want, but have to race the 2014 PU up until then.

        That would clear up a lot of the confusion and outrage currently being aired everywhere.

      2. Gotta agree with the Rant. There isn’t a sport where the teams are constantly trying to find loopholes and break the system as often as they do in F1. The fact that the there is so much chaos and dispute over something as simple as the rules of the sport shows the inefficiency in running this sport.

        Honestly, I’m gutted for Honda and Alonso in particular. This is a bigger disadvantage than it seems, as I don’t feel the FIA have placed enough importance on the knowledge gained from race conditions for engine manufacturers. Just look at the state of Renault during pre season last year and take a look at their improvements throughout the year. Now, imagine Honda going through the exact same thing while their rivals are constantly improving through their token system and finalising their 2015 engine sometime around the Spanish GP… which is nearly 3 months after Honda submits their final engine design.

        1. I’m fairly sure it doesn’t work the way that some people are seeing it.

          The rules state that only homologated PUs can be raced, and only 1 PU can be homologated in the season. The loophole is that there is no deadline for homologating the PU.

          This means that, yes, the manufacturers can delay homologation of their PU to buy extra time to implement what they need. BUT, in the mean time, they cannot use that engine. They must use a homologated engine, and that means the 2014 engine.

          There are 2 advantages that come out of this: They have extra time to complete their designs, and they have the chance to see what others have done with their engines. However, the downside is that they have to use last years engine until they homologate the new one. For Ferrari and Renault teams, that is a huge disadvantage. They basically have to throw away they first few races. They may be willing to do so to have a better PU for the rest of the season, but it is still a massive blow.

          It may be unfair to Honda & McLaren, but by the letter of the rules, they must homologate their engine before it is used, as they have no previously homologated PU to use.

          1. Its not exactly the fairest situation but I don’t understand the huge fuss, I thought everyone was saying that Honda will have an engine to compete with Mercedes already? They’ve had a whole year to prepare and I’m sure the McLaren guys have sent them a few pictures of the fastest engine on the grid so whats the big problem? Honda should have it done by now.

          2. On top of having to use the older, and potentially (you would hope, right) slower engine it also means that their cars have to be able to take both the old engine and the new 2015 spec later, which clearly limits the scope for changes (like splitting up the turbo like Mercedes did) because it would be quite the challenge to get a car optimized around both IMO @drmouse.

            Still, its an awkward situation that the FIA should have prevented as it was clearly not the intention of the rules.

            1. if they look at the rules it say 2014 this is 2015 Honda wake up get someone to turn these dates to your advantage,
              rule states homologate their power units by 28 February 2014

    6. Amazing article by Mark Hughes. It gives you an insight not only on Kimi’s driving style, but in just how different every driver is. You always hear X driver is more ‘aggressive’ than Y, but that Y is better at tyre conservation, but you never really have any details of exactly why. That clinical account of how every driver approaches a corner in their own way is very interesting; I wish that sort of thing were more common.

      1. Great article, certainly. On the same vein you might appreciate Abulafia’s takes on the driving styles of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, a few years ago. Unfortunately there were no more similar posts on other drivers. If you haven’t read them, please treat yourself af
        https://abulafiaf1.wordpress.com/category/formula-1/drivers/
        In Hughes article, I would remark “With that car, on those grippy tyre war Michelins, Kimi’s sensitivity to the front end was an asset”. Yes!!! how I miss the tyre war and the tremendous bite of those Michelins. Of all the awful things that have ruined F1 in the last decade (DRS, double points, you name it) nothing worse than those crappy Pirelli excuse for tyres, designed to impede racers racing.

    7. Force India likely (again) in Pole Position to launch their car, it will be in 21st January. I haven’t seen news about other teams release the dates of car lauching.
      Source : http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12477/9633139/force-india-to-launch-vjm08-on-january-21

      1. Yep, at the Soumaya museum which I visited a couple of years ago and looks stuning from the outside but rather dull inside, anyway, it seems a lot of teams will be changing liveries for 2015 something they should’ve done last year, with the new engines etc

    8. Regarding what Bernie wants, I don’t really mind most of the proposals (Although still think there inadvisable atm) but I really don’t like the idea of standard ERS parts.

      I also don’t see how you can get more power out of the engine’s without raising cost’s as to develop the power units to get 1000bhp is going to cost money & inevitably that will be passed onto the teams who will also have to spend more money developing new cars for another set of regulations if they go with larger tyres, less downforce etc….

      There isn’t the need to come up with more big changes as the natural development over the next few seasons will see the engine’s get faster, The sound will change, Cars overall will get faster & the costs of the power units will also decrease.

      1. Standardised ERS parts would negate one of the biggest advantages of the current PUs, namely that it helps push such technology forward. I hate the idea of standardised ANYTHING in F1: It is not a spec series, so set sensible regulations and let them design the best car they can within those regs. But the ERS would be the worst thing to standardise right now.

        Over the next few years (unless the little troll gets his way) we will see leaps and bounds in this technology. I, for one, am excited about that.

    9. I expected this article by James Allen to appear in the round-up.

      It think it offers a bit more clarity or at least a different view on the confusing implications of this loophole in the engine freeze. The loophole essentially provides extra time to Renault and Ferrari to use their 32 tokens and introduce their 2015 engine sometime during the season. Crucially though, until they do that, they’ll have to race their old homologated 2014 engine.

      Unlike the other teams, Honda does not yet have a homologated power unit, so they must be ready with their engine till February 28, or at least before the start of the first race. It kinda makes sense now and I actually think Charlie Whiting’s explanation was about “fair and equitable” was a bad one, ie. fairness had nothing to do with it.

      Either way, imagine Renault and Ferrari starting the first 5 races with their 2014 power unit whilst Merc start on schedule with their 2015 one…

      1. My head hurts thinking about this…

        So, as far as I understand, to use the 2015 spec engine, they have to be homologated? So they can only homolgate it once they have used their 32 tokens? So unless they use all their tokens before the season starts, they will have to start with the 2014 spec.
        Have I got it!?! Is that correct?

        Regarding Honda. If the above is true, Honda should be allowed to homologate their 2015 spec engine and then, like the other teams, have their 32 tokens to improve the engine as the season goes on.

        The big thing that concerns me about Honda is that they, as far as I am aware, are restricted to the new “4 engines only rule” in their first season! I won’t be suprised if that ends up being an issue.

        1. So, as far as I understand, to use the 2015 spec engine, they have to be homologated? So they can only homolgate it once they have used their 32 tokens? So unless they use all their tokens before the season starts, they will have to start with the 2014 spec.
          Have I got it!?! Is that correct?

          Pretty much, yes.

          Regarding Honda. If the above is true, Honda should be allowed to homologate their 2015 spec engine and then, like the other teams, have their 32 tokens to improve the engine as the season goes on.

          But… why? They’ve had unlimited tokens! The only change is that now they will have their 2015 PU compete against 2014 PU’s for a few races, then compete against “2014 + 32 token” PU’s. When they signed up, they already knew they would go up against “2014 + 32 token” PU’s.

          There’s really only one change and that is WHEN the 2015 PU’s will be introduced. This even gives them more chance to hit the ground running – not less.

          1. @mattds

            But… why? They’ve had unlimited tokens!

            As did the other manufacturers for the development of their first engines. Those other manufacturers now have a years worth of competitive running and data to know how to most effectively use those 32 tokens, and have now been given extra time to develop them further. McLaren/Honda didn’t even manage to get into double figures for number of laps run at the end of 2014. All Honda really have to go on is estimated power delivery of rival engines. You can bet there is a very stiff NDA between Mercedes and McLaren preventing information and FIA will be very keen to ensure it isn’t breached.

            I’m not sure where I actually stand on this though. I can see that as it is Renault and Ferrari get an advantage over Honda (although there are downsides to homologating later), but also if Honda were allowed to do the same it might give them an advantage over Renault and Ferrari.

            What happens with the development tokens for Honda? Do they start with 32 for 2016 as with everyone else for 2015 or do they join everyone else with only 26 for 2016? I would have assumed 32, but then they only get 4 engines this year and not 5. If they get the full 32 tokens for next year (and 26 the year after etc) then I think allowing Honda to homologate only a single engine for 2015 before the season starts is reasonably fair.

            1. @jimbo

              As did the other manufacturers for the development of their first engines. Those other manufacturers now have a years worth of competitive running and data to know how to most effectively use those 32 tokens

              That just follows from Honda’s decision to not enter in 2014. They put themselves in this situation.
              They will gather enough data this year, which would always be a learning year anyway. And they’ve got the right design cues from last year, and got unlimited development to implement them.

              What happens with the development tokens for Honda? Do they start with 32 for 2016 as with everyone else for 2015 or do they join everyone else with only 26 for 2016?

              Same as the rest, 25 tokens for next year. The technical regulations stipulate by calendar year, not by year of participating.

              Again, that’s the consequence of entering late. They got the right basic concept handed to them on a platter next year (split turbo concept) whereas Renault and Ferrari have to use up a lot of tokens to implement this – that’s the advantage of entering late. The disadvantage is that they will abide by the same rules.

            2. @mattds – After having a good read of the regulations I agree. I expect the current grumblings from Honda are more the typical F1 gamesmanship than any serious expectation of being at a disadvantage.

    10. Thee is a catch this ‘unfreezing’ of the power units. They will have to be homologated at some point during the season, so it’s not like they can do what they want for the whole season. Even so this is still harsh on Honda.

      1. IMHO, the rules should be the same for everybody. It’s not golf, there’s no handicap.

        1. @jcost The rules are the same for everybody. All have to race a homologated PU, and all can only homologate one PU per year.

          It was Honda’s choice to wait it out one year to be able to develop around the clock in 2014, not having a homologated 2014 PU to start the season with is a direct consequence of that.

          They now have to take the good with the bad.

          1. @mattds Ok, gotta it…

            Still sounds unfair.

      2. I don’t think this harsh at all. Unlike other manufacturers who are stuck with 50% of their original engine which cannot be changed, Honda has the benefit of hindsight. They can pick the best of all the engines and start off with a fresh. We know for example that the split engine of Merc is actually a very good concept, unlike other teams who did not know what would work better, Honda know what works and start off clean. If anything Honda has a huge advantage.

    11. regarding the cotd, I think Italian F1 fans are Ferrari fans, tiffosi for the rest of the world. There’s no chance Italians fans will carry McLaren flags…

    12. ColdFly F1 (@)
      6th January 2015, 3:01

      The engine ruling by FIA is still not clear (to us), and various interpretations are being presented.

      Many commenters (and it seems James Allen) assume that the new FIA ruling means that the 2014 PU has to be used until one single 2015 PU is homologated.

      The BBC article however talks about ‘staggering’ the improvements over the season, and using the tokens ‘over the course of the year’. Thus there could be various versions of the 2015 PU.

      But, when looking at the rules (Technical and Sporting), it does NOT define how often each ‘token’ can be improved, as long as it is done within the year and homologated before use. Thus maybe the manufacturers can introduce various improvements steps of each part during 2015.

      Supposedly, the FIA has clarified the rules.
      Let’s hope they share this clarification with us soon.

      1. The BBC article however talks about ‘staggering’ the improvements over the season, and using the tokens ‘over the course of the year’. Thus there could be various versions of the 2015 PU.

        I may be wrong, but I think that the BBC article is incorrect.

        The teams may only race homologated PUs. I’m not sure, but I think someone mentioned that non-homologated PUs can be used in FP, but deffinitely not for Quali or Race. That is clearly set out in the regs (don’t have them to hand at the moment, so can’t give chapter and verse). Once the PU is homologated, it is frozen and cannot be improved, and it can only be homologated once per season (also clearly stated in the rules).

        So, for Merc, Ferrari and Renault, they can continue developing their 2015 PUs as long as they want, but they cannot race them until they are homologated. As they must race a homologated PU, and each of them only have one such (their 2014 units), that is what they will have to race until they homologate their 2015 units.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th January 2015, 10:12

          @drmouse

          (the PU) can only be homologated once per season (also clearly stated in the rules).
          I cannot find that in the rules!

        2. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th January 2015, 10:13

          @drmouse

          (the PU) can only be homologated once per season (also clearly stated in the rules).

          I cannot find that in the rules!

          1. From the sporting regulations:

            28.5 Only power units which have been homologated by the FIA in accordance with Appendix 4 may be used at an Event during the 2014-2020 Championship seasons.

            And in appendix 4

            2. A manufacturer may homologate no more than one specification of power unit.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              6th January 2015, 11:06

              @drmouse – correct.

              – first quote state that only homologated units can be used between ’14-’20. Nothing about how many units can be homologated during that period, or any year within that period.

              – second quote determines that at any time only one homologated unit can exist. Thus every time a new PU is homologated the ‘old’ one ceases to be a homologated unit.
              (it also means that a manufacturer cannot homologate two separate specification in parallel)

              As you can see (specifically in the second quote) it does NOT say that only one specification can be homologated per year!
              Maybe another FIA omission and future loophole!

            2. @coldfly hmm, you may be right.

              However, also in Appendix 4:

              1. An homologated power unit must include all the parts described as “INC” in the “App. 4 Sporting regs.” column of Appendix 2 of the F1 Technical Regulations. Other than any parts solely associated with power unit installation in different types of car (which have no performance benefit and which may be changed from time to time during the homologation period with the consent of the FIA), any such power unit is one which is identical in every respect to either :
              a) A power unit delivered to the FIA no later than 28 February 2014.
              b) A power unit delivered to the FIA after 28 February 2014 which has been modified in accordance with the Annual F1 Power Unit Homologation table in Appendix 4 to the F1 Technical Regulations.
              Once homologated in accordance with a) or b) above, and except as permitted by (c) below, no changes may be made to the design or construction of the homologated parts for the duration of the homologation period laid out in Article 28.5 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.
              c) A power unit delivered to the FIA after 28 February 2014, or modified and re-delivered to the FIA after that date, which the FIA is satisfied, in its absolute discretion and after full consultation with all other suppliers of power units for the Championship, could fairly and equitably be allowed to compete with other homologated power units. Such changes will normally only be accepted if they are being proposed for reliability, safety or cost-saving reasons. Any manufacturer wishing to make a change for any of
              the above reasons must apply in writing to the FIA Technical Department and provide all necessary information including where appropriate, clear evidence of failures. The FIA will study such requests and, if they agree that the changes should be permitted, will circulate the correspondence to all manufacturers for comment. If the FIA receive no comments which cast doubt on their original decision about the proposed modification(s) they will confirm to the manufacturer concerned that they may be carried out.
              All such power units should be delivered in such a condition that the seals required under Article 28.4 can be fitted. Power units will be held by the FIA throughout the homologation period.

              My interpretation of these, and related, regulations would basically be one spec per season, except for exceptions in (c). However, IANAL and I would not be surprised if it was possible to interpret it differently. It is clear to see the intention of the rules are as I describe.

            3. ColdFly F1 (@)
              6th January 2015, 12:11

              @drmouse. Agree with apparent intent as they call it ‘Annual F1 Power Unit Homologation table’

              Those smarty pants at FIA only should have written:
              ‘b) A power unit delivered to the FIA on/before 28 February of each subsequent year which …’

            4. @drmouse @coldfly

              This really does seem to be very open to interpretation. There is nothing in the rules that explicitly states that only one engine per year may be homologated, and it’s not even clear intent (IMHO/IANAL).

              App 4 in the TR only defines what tokens are available for development changes in 2015 and subsequent years, not when during those years they need to be used.

              Everyone except Honda have introduced an engine that was homologated under the SR App 4 1.a, and are now using 1.b to homologate new engines during 2015 with changes from the allowed development tokens in the TR App 4. No rules determining how many times they can homologate an engine, only that a maximum of 4 may be used in one year. This could effectively allow them to homologate and use 4 engines for 2015.

              Honda seem to have been allowed to use a modification of SR App 4 1.a to introduce a new engine for 2015 before Feb 28th. 1.c doesn’t seem to apply here. Once again there is nothing in the regulations that prevent Honda then using 1.b to apply the 32 development tokens available through 2015.

          2. Sorry, forgot to tag you @coldfly

            1. @coldfly, @drmouse

              Wait, so the homologation interval is 2014-2020 and within that interval you’re allowed to homologate 1 power unit, upon which you bring your updates. Am I understanding this correctly?

              The time period mentioned is 2014-2020 and not “the current season”.

      2. @coldfly
        I think James Allen’s article and the BBC one basically tell the same story, the difference being though that JA assumed a more reasonable strategy for the engine manufacturers. He reckons they will introduce their new PUs as one big upgrade after the first 5 races and not scatter the improvements throughout the season because that would probably imply a penalty after each improvement (due to PU change).
        In other words, the manufacturers could use 1 x 2014 PU for the first 5 races and 3 x 2015 PU for the remaining 15, thus avoiding penalty. (what James Allen is reporting)

        Of course, they could also use up 8 tokens per stretches of 5 races, for a total of 32 used up tokens within 20 races with no penalties applied, but that’s rather sub-optimal. (what BBC is reporting)

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th January 2015, 10:26

          @andrewf1, you might very well be right.
          Though many commenters here use his, and other, articles to claim that it is definite that only one 2015 PU homologation is allowed.

          I cannot find that!

      3. @coldfly @drmouse @andrewf1 I was very confused about all of this too, but it seems, from what we can tell here, that the BBC article is wrong (not a first so it doesn’t surprise me).

        If the James Allen article is correct then it seems fair enough that Honda will have to put up with it, given that they have no 2014 engine, but if the BBC one is correct then Honda have lost out big time.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th January 2015, 11:12

          @strontium, correct.
          And if the BBC interpretation (or the 3rd one I mentioned) is correct than this offers another very interesting strategic option.
          Manufacturers can homologate a final specification at the end of the season where they have maxed out the development of all the 32 ‘tokens’.

          And the rules do not state that the PU has to run during the season (another loophole?), thus maybe they can present the PU for homologation after Abu Dhabi!

          1. @coldfly

            The only reading of the rules that makes any sense is that only one engine can be homologated at any one time, not that only one engine can be homologated per year. It was clear for 2014 as no development tokens were available, but now they are, there is nothing stopping multiple homologations per year. One thing is clear – the FIA really screwed this up!

      4. @coldfly @drmouse @andrewf1 – Reading through the regulations again I think I’ve worked out the interpretation being used, see what you think:

        a) A power unit delivered to the FIA no later than 28 February 2014.

        This is obvious and applies to PUs from 2014 season.

        b) A power unit delivered to the FIA after 28 February 2014 which has been modified in accordance with the Annual F1 Power Unit Homologation table in Appendix 4 to the F1 Technical Regulations.

        Appendix 4 defines a list of PU items which have been un-homologated from the 2014 homologated PU.

        Once homologated in accordance with a) or b) above, and except as permitted by (c) below, no changes may be made to the design or construction of the homologated parts for the duration of the homologation period laid out in Article 28.5 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.

        This wording is important. Once a PU is submitted for homologation after modification using (b) then all those parts listed in Appendix 4 in the TRs are homologated. As such you only get one shot at homologation per yer; you can’t choose which parts of the PU are homologated. Renault & Ferrari therefore can only run the 2014 PU and switch once to the 2015 PU once homologated – no multiple updates.

        c) A power unit delivered to the FIA after 28 February 2014, or modified and re-delivered to the FIA after that date, which the FIA is satisfied, in its absolute discretion and after full consultation with all other suppliers of power units for the Championship, could fairly and equitably be allowed to compete with other homologated power units.

        This “fairly and equitably” part implies that this is the section used to allow Honda to introduce a new engine in 2015. As the PU will become homologated in 2015, the development tokens will also be homologated leaving no room in the rules for Honda to do further development. However going on the regulations, Honda wont get to use 32 development tokens either as they are subjected to the same rules as everybody else from point of entry, so they will only be allowed 25 tokens to modify their engine for 2016!

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th January 2015, 16:58

          Thanks @jimbo,
          I’ve also gone through that a few times. IANAL, but there are huge gaps in this.

          Your 3rd quote is spot on: After homologation nothing can be changed, and the PU as homologated must be run.
          However, the rules do not stop the manufacturers form presenting another unit for homologation in the same year.
          Note that it states nowhere there can only be one homologation ‘per year’ or something similar!

          Note further that the reference to ‘homologation period’ is 2014-2020 and NOT the current season or 1 year.
          Thus if someone reads the 3rd quote as no changes may be made at all during that period, then this would be for the whole 2014-2020 period. That would mean that no changes can be made at all; not even to the 32 ‘token’ items.

          .
          The 4th quote refers to changes for safety and cost saving reasons, and probably also Honda as you suggested.

          1. @coldfly

            However, the rules do not stop the manufacturers form presenting another unit for homologation in the same year.

            That’s what I thought before, and it may still be the case due to the way it is written. My argument though is that Appendix 4 of the Technical Regulations specifies the parts on the PU that will be re-homologated when the PU is submitted for homologation to the FIA during a certain year. All those parts will be homologated once the PU is submitted whether changed or not. From quote 3 – “Once homologated in accordance with a) or b) above” – (b) gives you the list of parts available for re-homologation in a given year, but quote 3 to me says that they all become homologated once the PU is submitted so option (b) is no longer available till the next list of parts for the next year. ie option (b) is only available once per year even though it is not explicitly stated. Think of Appendix 4 in the Tech Regs as a list of check boxes. When a PU is submitted for homologation in a given year all the check boxes are ticked for that year – all those parts are homologated, therefore no scope for further submissions that year.

            I expect it is around this area that Honda will be asking for clarification. They will want to make sure that either Renault and Honda only get to homologate one PU for 2015 or that they too can make changes.

            1. I think the loop hole is in part b of the sporting regs appendix 4. Basically, the argument is that they can submit the engine again, modifying the bits they didn’t modify before.

              I think it’s clear what was intended. However, as I have argued before, intent means nothing. What counts is the letter of the law. If the loophole exists, there’s nothing that can be done about it.

              I have to say, though, that by following that interpretation, Honda should also be able to make modifications throughout the year.

    13. Regarding the COTD, I think the Tifosi will love anyone who dare come to the team right now. They are in such a mess that anyone who is willing to drive for them is a Hero. At least in my eyes.

      I don’t fault Alonso. He didn’t leave the ship at the first sign of trouble. He dedicated 5 years to the team but for more than one reason, the team couldn’t just get it right.

      Fallen behind even in the engine dept, Vettel/Kimi will be Ferrari fans savior if they can manage a few podiums between them and maybe a rare win on the off day for the Merc Powered teams.

      I am a convert :) I detested Vettel for spoiling Alonso’s chances and no I don’t think he is equal to him. But he is the best bet available right now and as a Ferrari fan I support him.

      Expecting Vettel to become a Ferrari great, by luck or by hard work.

      1. @evered7 But is it not feasible that other Ferrari fans rightly felt fustration towards the Scuderia itself for not providing Alonso with the machinery and not merely Vettel for driving a car that was clearly superior? In recent years to support Ferrari has been to support Fernando Alonso, since he has been the team’s keystone: how easily will it now be to divorce Alonso affiliations for much of the Tifosi when it was only by Fernando’s efforts that they have had anything to cheer about in recent years? I suspect that Monza will still boast a healthy array of Oviedo flags and chants of “A-LON-SO” in 2015 despite his exit.

        1. @countrygent, You are right, as much as it was Vettel blocking Alonso’s attempts at WDC, it was equally or more towards Ferrari’s failure to produce a challenger worth mentionable for Alonso to drive.

          As long as Alonso keep things polished without going the way of ‘I will never drive the red car’ etc, Fernando ‘Scuderia Supporter’ Alonso will have huge fans when he is in Italy.
          He has been one shining light in a period of darkness for Scuderia.

          But there will be no doubts as to for whom the support will be in Italy. Ferrari!

        2. But is it not feasible that other Ferrari fans rightly felt fustration towards the Scuderia itself for not providing Alonso with the machinery

          That´s not been Ferrari, but people working at Ferrari. Ferrari is far bigger than everyone who works there, and you can still be a Ferrari-fanatic if you dislike every single person working there, and even if you despise all of the technical work done there in the last years. The idea of Ferrari is just independent from that. People just stay true and devoted to Ferrari just like real fans stay with their football clubs even through years of a corrupted managment and relegation.

      2. You detest a driver for daring to beat a Ferrari !? You must detest a lot of drivers.

        1. :) Not Hakkinen nor Hamilton (not in the immediate 1 hour though). I didn’t warm up to Alonso as well during his Renault days while beating Schumi mainly because of all that exuberant celebrations, brash interviews etc.

          Now that I have seen how Vettel is when he is not winning, he will get my support. Also since he is driving a Ferrari.

          Will support Alonso as well as long as he sticks to winning his races and not kindling any previously cooked up fires.

    14. I wouldn’t feel too sorry for insurance companies Tiff. They sell your details to those companies, then charge us higher premiums because of the number of claims.

      Absolutely ingenious business model.

    15. I don’t see where Bernie’s going to get his four teams from. Renault don’t want to change as far as we know, and Honda may not either, and even if their teams vote against Merc it’s only 3-3. Or have I missed something?

    16. This is just another example of the ruling body getting things badly wrong. The whole philosophy of the engine development ban was to save money and for this reason is it a good idea but it has to be implemented fairly.
      When the original rule came in with the V8’s they were all fairly well developed, reliable and reasonably equal. A development freeze on an engine that has no in a racing season environment is just not fair. The thing that made the engine development freeze acceptable to the manufacturers at the time was the engine competition levels were relatively level, otherwise it would have not even been suggested.
      Come on FIA get your act together.

    17. Does anybody have a chronology of dates, for unveiling of new 2015 cars?

      1. Yep!

        Force India – 21st Jan
        Rest – TBA

    18. Thank you for my first COTD @keithcollantine, it is a true pleasure to partake in the debate in the best online sporting community I have ever come across.

      1. @countrygent Good comment, seeing that it compares with the entire sporting community and not only to motorsports community..

    19. Very little in the comments regarding the passing of J-PB which is a real shame. @keith collantine; I’m also curious to why the death of a former F1 driver only appears as a round-up rather than a dedicated article, not a criticism of your site, merely a curiosity.

    20. Bernie Eccledrone – I had to laugh that’s awesome!

    21. What are the chances that the “Future Formula 2 Championship” could be Formula E when it’s established itself?

      It’s already attracting manufacturers, ex F1 drivers and tracks around the world that could be seen as a stepping stone or rival to F1 depending on how the FIA want to play it politically.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        6th January 2015, 14:00

        This makes a lot of sense @alec-glen.

        Considering that manufacturers are eyeing up Formula E, and that it is unlikely that another high level open-wheel series could logistically spring up in this already overcrowded marketplace, I imagine its quite likely that Formula E will take up the Formula 2 mantle once it comes of age.

        This would certainly explain its omission from the FIAs points list.

        FEs manufacturer freindly green focus and off-season winter schedule make it perfect for presenting as ‘the big secondary series.’

    22. It was obvious Honda and their partners (McLaren, Alonso, Button etc) won’t be happy at all about not being allowed to upgrade their engine during the season… like the rest of the manufacturers. Honda had their advantage by not taking part to the 2014 season, like 1 year more to develop the engine, then look&analyze the other engine concepts (and see what’s the best engine concept), then check&analyze all kind of parameters from the races…. so, it was an advantage as they knew for sure what’s the goal.

    23. The Motorsport magazine analysis with Pat Fry is really wonderful. It provided a good perspective of how the drivers produce results with the car. In the days of Senna and Schumacher there was infinite budget, resources and testing possibilities. Today with limited budget and severely limited testing, the drivers get a lot more into spotlight with regard to their capabilities.

      It demarcates the drivers into 2 categories
      1) Drivers who can take an average car to the next level [ Alonso, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Botttas ]
      2) Drivers who can produce miracle when they are given a perfect car [ Vettel, Hamilton, Kimi, Button, ]

      I will call the first category as “Highly Adaptable drivers” who tames any car to their style and adapts to it quickly.
      The Second category are “perfectionists” who need the perfect car and they will bring perfect results.

      As said in the article Alonso might take a lemon onto to the podium like in 2014 while Kimi will struggle with it. It also does not mean that given a great car he will not create any additional magic than Kimi. I think that was what happened in 2007 when both Hamilton and Alonso were handed the best car suiting both equally well.

      All said and done teams will love the category one drivers in this age of limited testing and budgets. Category 2 are better suited for Senna and Schumacher days.

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