Formula One’s complicated restrictions on in-season engine development will cease when the 2017 season gets under way. By allowing engine manufactures the freedom to develop at will it is hoped the stranglehold currently enjoyed by Mercedes will come to an end.
Mercedes have the most powerful engine, that much is known. However when the Token system was implemented it was designed to curtail excessive R&D spending and too keep costs down and to improve competition.
However the net effect of the Token rule has seen that when one engine manufacture leaps ahead the rest struggle to catch up.
The Token system is a bit like a cat and mouse game, when Renault makes significant performance gains so does Mercedes. The Token system is too restrictive to allow for all out engine warfare.
Currently the Token system divides engines into 66 parts with a particular part worth around 3 tokens, exhaust, gearbox, turbo and so on.
Each team was given 32 tokens for the purpose of engine development over the course of a season. The amount of tokens were actually going to decrease for 2016.
The whole system of awarding Tokens for engine development will be scrapped in time for the 2017 season.
For 2016 in season development will be allowed but still under the 32 Token rule. The 2017 season will still see each driver limited to four engines per season.
In addition certain engine parameters will still have restrictions. New parts can only be changed when a team fits one of six engine components such as the turbo charger, energy store, control electronics and the two motor generator units.