Ferrari leads pre-season engine token spending
Ferrari has spent the most engine tokens over the winter among the four manufacturers currently enrolled in Formula One.
Although 2016 sees a relaxation of regulations that had initially blocked off certain areas of the power unit from development, Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, and Honda were still limited to a 32-token allocation to upgrade their engine.
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The FIA has confirmed that Ferrari has been the biggest spender with 23 tokens used ahead of the 2016 F1 season, which gets underway this weekend in Melbourne.
The Scuderia’s power unit has reportedly been given a major overhaul with the intercooler no longer lodged within the ‘Vee’ of the engine but replaced by two smaller elements. The MGU-K has also been re-positioned on the left hand side of the engine instead of being placed at the back.
Mercedes is up next on the list, with the double world champions shelling out 19 tokens to upgrade their already impressive engine. Power unit boss Andy Cowell said over the winter that Mercedes was still able to find big gains despite being the clear benchmark since the introduction of the 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged regulations.
Having experienced a torrid 2015 campaign amid reliability and performance woes, Honda has spent 18 tokens in the off-season. Departing motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai told F1i at the end of last year that the Japanese manufacturer needed “a bigger size of turbocharger”.
Finally, Renault, which returns as a fully-fledged team this year, has only used seven tokens this winter, thus having the most scope for in-season development. As a reminder, the French constructor introduced a heavily upgraded version of its troublesome power unit in the final rounds of the 2015 season, though Renault quickly admitted it did not deliver the expected results.
F1 engine development should be opened in 2017 as the much-maligned token system is set to be scrapped. Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey has already warned this could lead to a “spending frenzy” that would only benefit current frontrunners Mercedes and Ferrari.
Here is the list of each Power Unit supplier’s token allocation ahead of the 2016 season:
Ferrari: 9 (23 used)
Mercedes: 13 (19 used)
Honda: 14 (18 used)
Renault: 25 (7 used)
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