Mercedes, Ferrari spend engine tokens in Russia

As Mercedes and Ferrari headed into this weekend’s, both teams have spent more engine development tokens in a hope of stretching and closing the gap to each other respectively.

For Ferrari, the tokens were spent on an engine upgrade and Sebastian Vettel is using his third engine leaving only two new units left for the balance of the season while teammate Kimi Raikkonen is using his second unit.

Mercedes used their tokens on a fuel system upgrade and all Merc customers have received the new updated system as well. Mercedes will be running a new oil compound from Petronas too.

This leave Honda and Renault and they’ve chosen not to use any tokens yet rather saving them for later in the season. The token system may go the way of the dodo as the teams have all agreed to new 2017 engine regulation changes and engine development token have been removed.

The Token spend so far:

Ferrari 26 (6 remaining)
Honda 18 (14 remaining)
Mercedes 21 (11 remaining)
Renault 7 (25 remaining)

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I know the engine development token system is going away in 2017 but as a means to control costs, what do we think would happen of tokens were expanded to include aero and other aspects of in-season car development? If the goal is convergence (“closer racing” whatever we assume that to mean), is it better to make many small and incremental changes over the season at enormous cost, or is it better to make one or three radical changes that might bring about a more significant performance boost at key points in the season?


Whoever got the best aero design when the regulations change in 2017 would have everyone else complaining because the other teams cannot catch up due to restrictions on the token spend. Much as we have had over the past two years with Red Bull bleating that it isn’t fair because they don’t have the best engine. If you want to restrict development to reduce costs then do it once teams have started to converge on similar performance chassis / power units, don’t do it at the same time as a major regulation change which will result in greater performance differences… Read more »


That seems reasonable. I was wondering if they had to choose between engine or aero token spend, where would they spend them? Aero is cheaper to develop, right? And looking at what’s happening today, Red Bull seem to be doing a pretty good job of compensating for a lack of power with aero, but ultimately may be unable to catch Merc if they were unable to develop their engine simultaneously. Conversely are we all focusing too much on the sport’s Development costs as opposed to the Operational cost of transporting all those tonnes of freight around the world…? Perhaps that’s… Read more »


It depends if you get it right. Over recent years the Enstone team have had a massive number of changes to their front wing design. A few years ago they were bringing one or two new designs to each race. This can’t be cost effective, and as the front wing has such a dramatic influence over the airflow over the rest of the car, to make best use of anew front wing, the rest of the car would need to change. Gary Anderson proposed that teams should be limited in the number of designs they could race to say four… Read more »


Notice hoe the Ferrari changes are limited to the works team, while the Mercedes improvements are available to all.
How long before Haas gets the new spec ICE?

sunny stivala

As I said, that is what I noticed was Mercedes doing with their ICE upgrade last year at Monza.


Yes, both Mercedes and Ferrari have used the change in regulations that allow in season development to give themselves an advantage over their customers.

sunny stivala

Mercedes did not spend any tokens, FERRARI spend 2.
 MIE, that is exactly what I was asking last year at Monza about the Mercedes token upgrade spend.


The professional journalists at AUTOSPORT disagree:

It would appear that the Ferrari upgrades are available to Sauber and Haas (the team’s using the 2016 power unit), and they will use the upgraded specification from Spain and Canada respectively.

Forgive me, what question did you ask at Monza last year?

sunny stivala

The Mercedes upgraded fuel system introduced in Sochi falls outside the tokens system, at least according to Mercedes themselves.

“The professional journalists at Autosports” that you claim disagree, who are they, Is it their assistant technical editor that confused you about the MGU-K allowed deployment?


No, I read the FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations. Like it or not, that is the definitive document. If it isn’t in there then it isn’t part of the regulations.

Autosport (not Autosport) is a weekly magazine published in the UK. If you follow the link posted you can read for yourself.


Appendix 4 of the FIA F1 Technical Regulations lists the token values of the power unit components. This includes the following description of the injection system:

“PU mounted fuel system components: (e.g. High Pressure fuel hose, fuel rail, fuel injectors, accumulators). Excluding injector nozzle.”

This is given the value of 2 tokens.