Honda has 9 FIA ‘tokens’ to improve the performance of McLaren’s works engine throughout 2015.
Unlike the sport’s 2014 suppliers Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari, the Japanese marque had to ‘freeze’ the specification of its power unit two weeks ago.
The other engine makers can deploy 32 performance ‘tokens’ to improve their engines throughout the season.
McLaren’s new works supplier Honda, on the other hand, will get only the average amount of tokens left over by its engine rivals at the time of the Australian grand prix.
International media sources now report that the precise token number for Honda is 9.
Speed Week said the number was calculated on the basis that Mercedes has 7 tokens left, Ferrari 10 and Renault 12.
The average figure of 9.66 was then rounded down.
It is good news for McLaren’s struggling works partner, with Jenson Button defending Honda for being so aggressive with the design of its 2015 power unit.
“It needed to be aggressive,” he said in Melbourne, “to challenge Mercedes.”
The token news is also promising for Renault, Red Bull’s under-fire works supplier, who now have the most leeway of any manufacturer to speed up in 2015.
Red Bull was highly critical of Renault after Friday, when Daniel Ricciardo’s precious allocation of just 4 engines for the entire season dwindled to 3 after just a single day of practice in 2015.
And in the sister RB11, Daniil Kvyat also struck engine trouble, with boss Christian Horner saying the Russian’s car “accelerated during braking” in the Saturday practice session.
“This is obviously not ok,” said the Briton.
In other ‘token’ news, Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that once a driver has used one of his engines in 2015, it cannot be subsequently ‘updated’ for performance once the team decides to trade in some of its tokens.
“Ferrari,” the newspaper claimed, “plans to introduce an ‘Evo1’ engine at the Spanish grand prix and ‘Evo2’ after mid-season, for the final races of the season.” (GMM)