Some F1 teams targeting engine freeze loophole for 2015

The FIA is facing a challenge over Formula 1's engine freeze, as some teams believe there is a loophole in the 2015 regulations that could hand them extra development time

Some F1 teams targeting engine freeze loophole for 2015

With attempts to convince Mercedes to relax the freeze rules to allow rivals a mid-season upgrade having failed, Renault and Ferrari are now pondering how best to make up ground over 2015.

One issue that has emerged in recent technical meetings with the FIA is that there is no date specified in the regulations for when 2015 engines must be homologated.

Although it is widely believed that the new upgraded power units have to be lodged with the FIA for the first race of the season, some teams believe that the way is open for them to not homologate their engine until later in the year.

The secrets of the McLaren-Honda package

Such a delay could prove valuable in allowing longer development time to make further improvements.

The matter was brought up by Ferrari technical director James Allison in recent technical meetings with the FIA in Abu Dhabi, but the governing body argued that although no date for homologation is set, other clauses in the engine regulations make it clear what can be done.

ONE ENGINE TYPE PER SEASON

In particular, paragraph 2 of Appendix 4 of the F1 Sporting Regulations relating to engine homologation states: "A manufacturer may homologate no more than one specification of power unit."

The FIA argues that the clause prevents manufacturers from running two types of engine in one season, making a late homologation impossible.

However, teams argue that a manufacturer would still only be homologating a 2015 engine, as any running earlier in the season would be done with its 2014 unit.

One high level source at a team said Ferrari was not alone in questioning the rules.

"There is no specified date to homologate the engine, so in theory you could wait a few races before doing it," said the source.

"That would allow some valuable development time, but equally would mean starting the year with a slower 2014 engine."

DISCUSSIONS ONGOING

Although the FIA has expressed its opinion, the door is open for teams to ultimately challenge the matter with race stewards at the Australian Grand Prix if they wanted.

An FIA spokesman made it clear, however, that the governing body hoped to have the matter resolved well before the first race.

"Our position, as stated very clearly in the meeting [in Abu Dhabi], is you can only have one type of homologated engine per year," he said.

"So whatever you turn up with in Melbourne is your homologated engine.

"It was always envisaged, although not explicitly stated in the rules, that manufacturers would have to deal with modifications on the engine within the constraints of the rules, and then submit their 2015 engine [at the first race].

"It is simple, but when you read it [the rule book], it doesn't say that unfortunately.

"However, you have paragraph 2 of Appendix 4 and countless meetings beforehand where it was made clear.

"The matter still needs discussing, but we will get it sorted it out before Melbourne."

Honda, as a new F1 manufacturer, has been told that its 2015 engine must be homologated by February 28 next year rather than for the start of the season.

shares
comments
The secrets of the McLaren-Honda package

Previous article

The secrets of the McLaren-Honda package

Next article

Lewis Hamilton: Belgian Grand Prix was title race turning point

Lewis Hamilton: Belgian Grand Prix was title race turning point
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021