Honda freezes engine unsure of 2015 ‘tokens’

Mar.2 (GMM) After a troubled winter, 2015 newcomer Honda has now locked in McLaren’s ‘power unit’ for this year’s campaign.

It has completed only a fraction of the running of frontrunners like Mercedes over the Jerez and Barcelona tests, but on Saturday, the FIA’s deadline fell and the Japanese marque duly presented its turbo V6 package for homologation.

Perhaps putting a brave face on McLaren-Honda’s obvious winter troubles, Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai insisted the base of the 2015 power unit is “good”.

“We have solved many things and it is fully homologated,” he confirmed.

The keyword now, however, is ‘tokens’.

2014 manufacturers Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari have each been allowed 32 performance ‘tokens’ by the FIA that can be deployed at will throughout 2015.

But whether or not those tokens are spent before Melbourne will directly affect Honda.

That is because the FIA has said Honda can also join the 2015 ‘unfreeze’, but only in a limited way. If the average amount of tokens unused by the 2014 suppliers in Melbourne is 10, Honda will have 10 tokens to deploy this season.

“We do not know what tokens we will have, because we do not know yet what the others have used,” Arai confirmed.

According to sources, Mercedes is definitely travelling to Melbourne with at least a handful of tokens left in the bank.

“Most likely,” Renault’s Remi Taffin commented in Barcelona, “Mercedes and Ferrari will have a similar approach.

“I cannot imagine that they have used up all the tokens in two months.”

Meanwhile, Honda’s Arai played down suggestions the Japanese carmaker might now be rethinking its new commitment to F1, after the troubled winter with McLaren and the road car airbag scandal that cost president Takanobu Ito his job.

“The new president is fully committed to formula one,” he insisted, “which is in the DNA of Honda.”

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