It seems that the FIA’s latest clarification on the development of the V6 turbo power units is a victory for all four of Formula 1’s engine manufacturers, if you believe what is is claiming.
Ferrari has already trumpeted that the unfreeze loophole in the 2015 regulations is an early victory for it, and Mercedes is doing likewise. Its works team boss Toto Wolff believes his outfit will also benefit as it sets about defending its Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship crowns, even declaring that his team will start the season with its old power unit configuration.
As has been extensively reported, the FIA conceded a loophole in the 2015 Technical Regulations can be exploited by engine manufacturers so they can develop their V6 turbo engines during the season. It is understood that returning manufacturer Honda has successfully lobbied the sport’s governing body to be granted similar development rights in its comeback season.
“It might be said that [the loophole] favors Renault and Ferrari,” Wolff is quoted by L’Equipe, when asked whether the regulations would allow rival manufacturers to close up on Mercedes’ significant performance advantage, which was evident in 2014 when cars with its power units claimed every pole position.
“Actually, it will be a benefit to us.”
Having begun the new V6 turbo era with a significant performance and reliability advantage over its rivals, the German marque is now confident it can continue developing its power unit throughout 2015 to maintain its advantage. Rumors even hint that they are ready to unleash a further 50 horsepower for 2015.
“If that is true the difference between Mercedes and the other teams may actually increase,” a worried Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner said.
L’Equipe also reported that Wolff confirmed Mercedes’ strategy is to take its 2014-spec power unit into the winter pre-season testing period and then gradually begin to add performance developments. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are reportedly going to use the 2014 engine in the first four flyaway races of the season before a major upgrade is introduced in time for the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
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