May 14 (GMM/ Honda will “soon” begin to spend its tokens to improve the performance of its F1 engine.

To date, improvements made to the Japanese marque’s ‘power unit’ have been for reliability purposes.

It means that McLaren’s works supplier still has in its possession the 9 ‘tokens’ it was awarded at the beginning of the year by the governing FIA, which can be exchanged for in-season performance upgrades.

F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai would not say exactly when Honda will begin to use the tokens, but it will not be done at the very end of the season.

“That would not make sense,” he told Spain’s Marca. “We will (use them) when we know that we will gain (from them), and it will be soon, after the tests.”

Arai is no doubt referring to the two in-season tests, including the two-day Barcelona session that has just ended.

The only other test will be in the days after the Austrian grand prix at the Red Bull Ring in late June.

And Honda is not ruling out using all 9 tokens in one hit.

“We’re studying it,” said Arai, “but we have not decided.”