F1: Bosses consider Honda engine rule changes

Formula 1 bosses are debating whether to make changes to the engine rules following a meeting with McLaren’s new partner Honda.

The Japanese company, returning to F1 after a six-year absence, believes recent changes made the rules unfair.

Honda top brass flew over from Japan to discuss the issue with governing body the FIA on Monday.

An FIA spokesman told BBC Sport: “The meeting went well and we are discussing matters that arose.”

The spokesman added that the meeting was “constructive”.

Honda’s concerns surround a recent clarification on in-season engine development.

The FIA has backtracked on its previous stance and allowed existing manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault to make improvements to their engines after the start of the championship.

The FIA’s U-turn came about because Ferrari pointed out a loophole in the rules.

Honda, though, is not being allowed to develop its engine during the season.

A Honda spokeswoman said the company would not add to its previous statement on the issue “until we can get a further update from FIA should they reveal something”.

Its previous statement said: “Honda believes in fair competition for the goodness of the sport, and for our fans.

“McLaren-Honda have contacted the FIA in regard to this issue, but we cannot discuss any details at this time.”

Honda believes the rules are unfair because:

– Its rivals can develop their engines in 2015 following the FIA’s U-turn but it cannot

– It is being forced to supply only four engines to its drivers in 2015, the same as the other manufacturers, even though its rivals were allowed to supply five in their first season with their new engines in 2014

– Next year, it has the same restrictions on it as the other manufacturers

Insiders say Honda is “annoyed and unimpressed” with the situation.

Some insiders believe one way out of the current situation would be to bring Honda into line with the other manufacturers over the course of this season.

This could be done by allowing Honda to submit for official approval – or homologate – its engine on 28 February, as required, but then be given 32 tokens to develop it over the course of the season.

It would then be in the same position relative to its rivals heading into 2016 as they are.

Some F1 insiders have argued that the current situation sends out a poor message to any other car manufacturers thinking of entering F1 because it could be seen as putting new entrants at an automatic and unfair disadvantage.

Read more at BBC Sport