Engine politics has been high on the agenda of late. Towards the closing stages of the campaign, not one Team Personnel’s Press Conference would pass without some discussion in regards to homologation – a word which would send a shudder down the spine of any Ferrari or Renault Sport employee. While Mercedes have prevented the engine development ban from being totally lifted, a loophole has been discovered in the technical regulations which should give their rivals hope heading into the 2015 season.
The loophole, which was reported by Autosport yesterday, exists in the fact that the FIA do not set a clear date for homologation to apply ahead of the 2015 season. As was confirmed by Charlie Whiting following an inquiry by the Strategy Group, engine manufacturers can now develop their powertrains throughout the 2015 season.
However, Mercedes are not about to be cursing their luck just yet. Development will still have to adhere to the tokens system. Therefore, the developments will be restricted to 32 tokens equating to just under 50% of the components. As such, the advantages gained by Renault and Ferrari as a result of this discovery are not in the context of being able to re-design their powerunits entirely, but instead, lie in the fact that they can take their time over improvements.
Ultimately, the headline is more poignant than the story itself – if we take this news in the context of the engine politics as a whole, Mercedes have still won the war. They have built the best powertrain and are doing an excellent job of pinning their rivals down under the current restrictive regulations. If Honda ally with Ferrari and Renault in 2016, the tables are still set to turn on Mercedes. Evidently, in spite of this discovery, it is still status quo in the war between manufacturers.
What this does do, is alleviate the pressure on Ferrari and Renault to deliver all the necessary change in one winter.
Image Credit: "Amarillo Renault // Renault Yellow" By Guzmán Lozano [CC-BY-2.0]