McLaren to benefit from 'token system' as it readies for a switch back to Mercedes engines

2020 McLaren F1 car. Image: Getty Images
2020 McLaren F1 car. Image: Getty Images

• F1 to make of token system

• Tokens will allow teams to make changes to race cars

• McLaren to switch to Mercedes engines in 2021

Ross Brawn has said that a flexible token system needed to be created not only due to time pressures but also because of McLaren's switch to Mercedes power.

As Formula 1 attempts to turn down the tap on spending in the sport, the regulations overhaul has been pushed back to 2022 and this year's cars will remain largely unchanged heading into 2021.

But teams can change some frozen elements of the car via the use of a token system, a system that took on greater importance seeing as McLaren had already pre-agreed an engine switch to Mercedes next year before F1 was put on hold.

Got to be flexible

Brawn told Autosport: "When you give somebody five years and tell them this is going to be the situation then you can be fairly specific about what you’re going to do. When you tell them with a few weeks' notice, then you've got to be flexible in terms of how you apply it. The problem with the freeze was that we had a team that was changing an engine, McLaren.

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"You can’t ignore that, you can't say that you can’t change your engine. So we had to find a fair system that was going to accommodate their need to make the change. We also recognise that some teams may have a flaw in their car that they shouldn't have to live with for two years.

"The token system allows them just that little bit of scope to put right what they had wrong. One team said to us that they got the cooling wrong on their car, so they couldn't live with the cooling system for two years. So, by just giving them a little bit of leeway I think we've found a good compromise."

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