Good news, Honda! You're no longer that special. The FIA decided in favor of the new Formula One engine supplier's proposal to allow them to develop their engine throughout the 2015 season just like everybody else.
Previously, on As The McLaren Honda Turns, because Honda was a new engine supplier for 2015, they were the only engine supplier with a set date to homologate their engine with the FIA. Meanwhile, the teams who were around for the first year of the V6 turbo hybrid power units had found a loophole: they had no date to turn in their 2015 engine designs. The FIA admitted that the rules weren't explicit and said that they'd allow everyone to continue developing the parts of their power units that were open for development throughout the 2015 season.
This would have left Honda, who was previously assumed to have an advantage from sitting out the first year of the V6 engines to watch what everyone else did, at a huge disadvantage to everyone else. Development happens too quickly in F1 to prevent only one engine supplier from making tweaks throughout the year. They'd have quickly been left behind by everyone else who was scrambling to catch up to the far-too-dominant Mercedes power units.
AUTOSPORT reports that the FIA has made a decision on Honda's proposal to put everyone on a level playing field for 2015.
F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting had this to say of the FIA's decision in a statement obtained by AUTOSPORT:
As each of the four 2015 manufacturers will have an homologated power unit at the start of the season, we believe it would be fair to ensure that each of them enjoys equal opportunities for upgrades during the season.
We will therefore allow the new manufacturer to use the same number of tokens that the other three manufacturers have available to them, taken as an average of the three.
For example, if the three 2014 manufacturers have eight, seven and five unused tokens respectively at the start of the season, then the new manufacturer will be allowed to use six during the season (the average rounded down to the nearest whole number).
The engine manufacturers who were around in 2014 have a total of 32 tokens available to them for upgrades over the course of the 2015 season. It is believed that most engine suppliers will split their tokens between the start and the end of the season. For Honda, this means that the number of tokens available for them to use will decrease as the year goes on.
The FIA's decision sounds overcomplicated for what Honda wanted, but at least this gives them a fighting chance against everyone else. Rejoice, McLaren fans! You're no longer completely hosed.
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