One side of me says this entire engine token thing is bunk. What do we really know about tokens and who spent which ones the best? What does it even mean that a team like Mercedes has fewer tokens to spend than, say, Renault in 2015? It sounds like a bad thing but then Mercedes isn’t having its backside handed to it on race weekends. For those of you who are keeping score, know exactly what the tokens mean and know where they are being used, then you might like to know the remaining tokens for the 2015 season per make:
Honda hasn’t used any of their tokens yet this year as they were gifted a handful which was determined by the average of unused tokens the other makers left on the table. No, that’s not confusing or anything. So far, Honda hasn’t wanted to use their tokens and there is a methodical approach to this but it is not unlike Renault who have also chosen to struggle along without using their tokens as well.
Is there merit in waiting for the end of this years to pile on the tokens? The initial thought is that ushering in a new formula for F1 is one thing but trying to do it within the confines of an engine freeze is really asking for problems.
When we look at the engine innovation in WEC, we see different approaches to the same formula of hybrid-powered cars but they aren’t locked into a freeze that limits their approach to their design. Fair enough, you say the freeze was intended to keep costs down. I say, if it has worked, we’re all pretty much in the dark on the results of its efficacy and I’ll go even farther and suggest, I don’t think it’s worked well at all.
It seems to me that simply telling engine makers that they will need to supply a certain number of other teams but can charge no more than $15 million for the engine supply contract and that they will have to provide the exact systems and software that they use on their cars would be a better way to leave the money burning to those who can afford it yet guarding those who can only afford an engine supply deal.
I may be wrong, of course, but it seems to me a much easier way to try to keep costs down for those who need it and allow for engine innovation for those who want it and can afford it.