Token-free Racing Point upgrades for 2021 spark fresh controversy
Formula 1 teams McLaren, Ferrari and Renault have voiced concerns over the ability of Racing Point to upgrade the entire rear-portion of the RP20 in 2021 without spending either of its two development tokens.
In a bid to minimise spending in 2021, F1 has granted each team two 'development tokens'. Within certain parameters, this allows teams to make just two upgrades to the car across the season.
However, a loophole in these regulations allows Racing Point, or any other team for that matter, to upgrade elements of the car by buying in non-listed components from out-dated cars, without spending either of their tokens. In the case of Racing Point, this is expected to include the suspension and gearbox from the 2020 Mercedes W11.
Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski said: "There’s a loophole there that would allow a couple of teams to benefit from the system and this is something we’re discussing with the FIA and the other teams and we hope will be addressed."
His comments were echoed by Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, who added: "We are not fully happy that there are teams that eventually can upgrade their entire package from a 2019 to a 2020 package. That I believe would be unfair, because the season with two tokens is similar for everybody. We’ve got only two tokens and everybody should be limited to that one."
For McLaren, team principal Andreas Seidl sees the situation as one that "doesn't make sense", his team forced to spend its tokens on adapting the MCL35 to fit the Mercedes power unit for 2021.
"If you compare it with our situation, we also had a contract in place for quite some time that we are doing the switch from the Renault power unit to the Mercedes power unit and we have to accept that, in the end, the two tokens each team has available will have to be used for that," said Seidl.
"We were happy to accept that compromise."
"If you compare that with, lets say another team, upgrading from a '19 to a '20 gearbox or suspension bits and being able to do that token free just doesn't make sense.
"That's something we'll bring up again with some other teams to the FIA, but it's simply down to the FIA to comment on this."
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