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It has been confirmed that Formula 1 manufacturers are now allowed to introduce running updates and continue to develop their engines throughout the 2015 season. This development comes after FIA acknowledged that there was a loophole in the regulations that allowed for it, Autosport reports.

Mercedes was all-conquering last season, romping home to both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles. Rivals Ferrari and Renault (the latter powering Red Bull), lobbied for the easing of F1’s engine freeze but to no avail.

However, it emerged in December that the engine rules did not actually stipulate when a final engine had to be lodged for 2015. Turns out that while the governing body expected that new engines would have to be homologated for the first race (Australia, March 13-15), it was never laid down in black and white. Ferrari’s technical director James Allison brought up the matter at the Abu Dhabi GP.

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“It was always envisaged, although not explicitly stated in the rules, that manufacturers would have to deal with modifications on the engine within the constraints of the rules, and then submit their 2015 engine [at the first race]. It is simple, but when you read it [the rule book], it doesn’t say that unfortunately,” an FIA spokesman admitted.

FIA has subsequently told teams that the “most logical and robust” way forward is to accept that there is no actual date for 2015 homologation. It means that engine upgrades can be introduced throughout the season, as long as manufacturers stick to the 32 development token limit (around 48% of the power unit) and do not exceed the four-engine per car season limit.

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However, the above will not apply to Honda, which is making a comeback as McLaren’s engine supplier. FIA is standing by its view that Honda must stick to the February 28 date that the existing manufacturers faced last year, to be fair.

“As the existing manufacturers were obliged to homologate their power units by 28 February 2014 it would seem fair and equitable to ask a new manufacturer to homologate their power unit before February 28 2015. We therefore consider this to be a requirement for a new power unit manufacturer,” said the FIA’s Charlie Whiting.

With this latest development, can we expect a closer fight this season?