McLaren pushes for Honda to get same FIA leeway as F1 engine rivals

The FIA is facing pressure to reconsider its decision to force Honda to stick to the pre-season Formula 1 engine homologation deadline after rivals were given more freedom

McLaren pushes for Honda to get same FIA leeway as F1 engine rivals

AUTOSPORT revealed last week that a loophole in the F1 technical regulations means Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault are allowed to introduce updates to their 2014 engines at any time over the course of this year.

It had originally been thought that the carmakers would have to deliver the final version of their modified power units by the first race of the season.

The loophole was exposed by Ferrari after it successfully argued that the F1 rules did not explicitly state when 2015 engines had to be lodged with the FIA.

Following discussions in late 2014, the FIA wrote to teams over the Christmas period to state that the "most logical and robust" interpretation was to allow in-season development.

The FIA also clarified that in the interests of fairness and equality, new manufacturers would not be given any extra freedoms and would have to abide by the same restrictions that Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari faced in 2014.

That means Honda is completely free to make modifications to its power unit for now, but it will have to stick to the design that is submitted to the FIA on February 28.

The Japanese manufacturer therefore faces the prospect of seeing its rivals make gains over the 2015 campaign when they introduce upgrades while it has to wait until 2016 to do so.

That situation has prompted discussion between McLaren-Honda and the FIA over the matter, with talks ongoing.

Was Honda's test debut a disaster?

McLaren has drawn short of commenting extensively about the situation, but the team has confirmed that dialogue has been opened up with motor racing's governing body.

"McLaren-Honda has already been in contact with the FIA with regard to this issue, but we do not wish to say anything further at this time," said a McLaren spokesman.

If McLaren's efforts to agree a compromise with the FIA fail, then one extreme avenue open to it would be to protest any rival that introduces an engine upgrade in 2015.

It could argue that changing parts of the engine is a breach of appendix 4 of F1's sporting regulations, which states that: "A manufacturer may homologate no more than one specification of power unit."

If a carmaker used two different types of engine in a season then it could be argued that it would be homologating two power unit specifications. A final decision would have to be made by FIA race stewards.

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