In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, F1 teams have had to cut costs. To aid teams in cost-cutting, new rules and regulations were passed by the FIA. One of the regulations was the budget cap which was decreased by $30 million from the initial figure of $175 million for 2021. Another one of the said regulations revolved around the freezing of car development beginning from the 2020 season. However, certain homologated parts can still be improved to a certain extent with the help of the ‘token system.’ Each team gets two tokens for a season and they can trade those tokens to develop certain car parts, provided the FIA approves it. F1’s managing director, Ross Brawn reveals how McLaren was the reason for their introduction and how all the teams can use them.
Ross Brawn was in conversation with Motorsport-Total.com. Brawn said, “The problem with freezing the technology was: there is a team that changes the drive partner- Mclaren. You can’t ignore that. So we had to find a system to make this change possible for McLaren.”
Furthermore, he said, “If you speak about a period of five years and outline a corresponding scenario, you can be very specific about it. But if you only have a few weeks in advance, you have to be flexible in the implementation. It could be that some teams have to improve their cars because there are mistakes. The token system gives us just as much leeway to solve such problems.”
He also provides an actual example of how the system can be implemented. He said, “A team has already reported to us that there is a cooling problem with the vehicle. They could not be (left) in this condition for two years.”
Thus that means that teams aren’t stuck with the exact same car for two years. Using the tokens they can implement some minor changes to improve their car. Ross Brawn says the bottom line is that it is a good compromise.