Changes are underway for Formula 1 motorsport in 2017. Among the key updates, the power unit token system will be scrapped and head protection has also become a priority.
For 2017, the power unit token system in Formula 1 shall be removed. This means manufacturers will no longer face restrictions when it comes to engine development. Hopefully, this also means that rival manufacturers will catch up with teams who are currently at the front of the pack, such as Mercedes and Ferrari.
The token system was first set up to limit what manufacturers can do to their engines during a season while also keeping costs under control. According to a report from the BBC, the original plan consisted of giving manufacturers 25 tokens for 2016, a big decrease from the 32 they had been granted last season. Moreover, these tokens supposedly set to continue to decrease each year.
Motorsport.com reports that the tokens are even supposed to be down to 20 in 2018 and 15 in 2019. To make the token system possible, engines were divided into 66 parts. And each part accounted for as much as three tokens, depending on how they affect the performance of the engine.
By 2017 though, one restriction remains for manufacturers. That is, new parts can only be fitted when one of the six elements in a car’s power unit is changed. These include the turbo charger, energy store, control electronics, internal combustion engine and the two motor generator units. At the same time, drivers will still be limited to four engines during the season.
Meanwhile, the FIA is taking active steps to prevent head injuries on the track. The Formula 1 governing body has announced that it is looking to introduce a halo-like device that would serve to protect drivers’ heads from large chunks of airborne debris. The Telegraph reports that the design of the halo was taken from a design developed by Mercedes. Following this announcement, Grand Prix Association chairman Alexander Wurz told the BBC that the drivers are “happy” about the new development.