Jan.21 (GMM/Inautonews.com) F1 returnee Honda this year may be allowed to do just a quarter of the engine development of its 2015 rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.

After initially being left out of the new engine ‘unfreeze’, the FIA relented and has permitted the Japanese manufacturer to do some in-season upgrading this year.

The FIA’s complex Honda ruling allows McLaren’s new works supplier to do development based on the average number of ‘tokens’ left over by its rivals at the start of the forthcoming season.

2014 suppliers Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault all have 32 ‘tokens’ to deploy either before or after the start of the 2015 championship in Melbourne.

For instance, if Mercedes has 8 tokens left in Melbourne, Ferrari has 6 and Renault 4, Honda will be allowed to use the average number of tokens in 2015 — 6.

Until now, Honda’s likely allowance has been merely hypothetical.

But now Michael Schmidt, the highly respected correspondent for Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, claims to have more information about the plans of Honda’s engine rivals.

We reported some days ago that Mercedes’ plan could be to start the new season with essentially the title-winning 2014 engine, leaving a full complement of 32 tokens to deploy throughout the 20 races this season.

But Schmidt quoted a spokesman for the German team as confirming that Mercedes will in fact start the season with the 2015-specification turbo V6.

He said the reason for Mercedes’ change of plans is precisely because of the Honda ruling. If Mercedes had gone into Melbourne with 32 tokens, Honda’s ‘average’ number would have been dramatically increased.

So Schmidt said Mercedes will probably fly into Melbourne with only 6 tokens left in the luggage.

Renault, on the other hand, will reportedly have 7 left, and Ferrari 12, leaving Honda with an average of just 8 tokens to deploy in 2015.

But according to the Spanish sports daily AS, Honda is still not happy with the arguable fairness of its development scope under the FIA’s new ruling.

“They are asking for a further clarification,” the newspaper claims. “They want to be like everyone else, with 32 tokens for development.”