WHY MERCEDES GOT IT SO RIGHT...
It’s a myth that needs debunking and
Renault Sport’s Rob White is keen to
do so: “Look, with the number of
tokens we have to play with in these
early years, we could virtually start
again from scratch,” he says. “I don’t
think either the homologation or the
development token system has so far
limited any of the current engine
suppliers in terms of what they want
to do. Certainly, for Renault Sport,
they are not obstacles to correcting
our performance deficit.
“It’s our responsibility to fix our
deficit, and the current technical and
sporting regs allow us to do that.
Clearly we need to manage our
development and homologation
processes and we need to choose our
subjects correctly, but our evaluation
of where our shortcomings are and
our potential solutions to overcome
them are not fundamentally limited
by the regulations.”
This has been especially so in
2015, when tokens have been allowed
to be spent through the season to
provide ongoing development. The ’ 14
interpretation did not allow for that –
forcing development to be applied in
one chunk between seasons. For ’ 16,
in-season development is set to be
allowed once again, and there are
(ABOVE) Renault Sport tech chief Rob
White says F1’s engine token system isn’t
a factor in the poor performance of its
ENERGY F1 - 2015 power unit (BELOW).
MORE THAN A TOKEN GESTURE
still more than enough tokens to
correct any shortcomings. The trick
is in knowing how to use them.
Even a major upgrade such as a
new design of compressor, or a new
combustion chamber, would cost only
three tokens - and for 2015, the
maximum allocation was 61. For ’ 16
and ’ 17 this reduces to 51. Then it’s
43 for ’ 18. Only from 2019 onward,
with just three tokens per season, are
the engines effectively frozen in spec.
If a current manufacturer cannot
decode the mysteries of the hybrid
power unit by 2019, it shouldn’t be in
F1. Mercedes has set the bar high.
But neither it nor the token system
can be blamed for the failures of the
others. That’s down to them.
engine, with much-enhanced combustion
from a new Petronas fuel blend.
There is a perception outside of the
F1 paddock that it is the engine token
system that is freezing the Mercedes
advantage in place. Not so (see sidebar).
Rather, it is the massive head start
Mercedes gave itself in the conception of
the power unit and in its integration into
the racecar. So who’s really to blame for
that? Certainly not Mercedes-Benz...
(LEFT) The fear for
McLaren is that the
poor form of Honda
will have a lasting
on the team, with
sponsors put off by
the lack of results
and slow progress.