According to FIA's race director Charlie Whiting, the help that was handed to Renault came as a consequence of all teams within the F1 paddock agreeing that this would be the best way to provide “engine parity” for 2009. Honda was also supposed to benefit from this measure, as the Japanese manufacturer also needed an engine upgrade ahead of the new season.
“We gave all the teams the opportunity to submit a list of things they would like to change in order to achieve engine parity, because there seemed to be some disparity between engine performance, which was not intended,” said Whiting in an interview for Formula 1's official site.
“Then, with Honda's withdrawal - they appeared to be the ones down on power – the engine manufacturers agreed among themselves that they would not seek any engine parity changes, and they would allow Renault to do something. It's what I would describe as a minor upgrade. It's a one-off thing; it's not an on-going thing. Now, teams have submitted their list; we've agreed to it and that's the end of it until 2012,” he added.
The engine-freeze rule was introduced by the FIA at the end of the 2006 season. However, some of the manufacturers had a short period of time in which they developed their engines and the actual engine-freeze period started when they had already secured an extra 30-to-40 hp of power as compared to the old-spec power plants. Renault and Honda failed to make the necessary adjustments at the time and have spent the last two years trying to make up for the loss of power – which translated into drastic loss of performances.