Lewis Hamilton suggested after qualifying for the US GP that Ferrari lost some of the power edge they otherwise had in qualifying, in light of Red Bull’s queries to the FIA about measuring fuel flow.
Ferrari is the fastest car this year on most straights and speed measurement points, no matter on which track, but in Austin all drivers were closer than usual and were covered with only 7.6 km/h at the speed trap 180 meters before Turn 12.
Straightline speed is always a combination of the downforce level used by the car and the engine power, but Ferrari has once again shown their engine power at the starting finish line speed trap (1st and 2nd place), where cars accelerate to approximately 255 km/h and where air resistance still it doesn’t have that much impact.
Red Bull has asked the FIA about three ways to interpret the fuel flow measurement system to provide more flow for short periods, with the FIA declaring all three proposals illegal amid intense rumors of a possible protest against the Ferrari engine.
After the qualifying, Hamilton suggested that it seems that Ferrari had lost some power while Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff didn’t want to jump to such conslusions as there are several factors which affect top speeds.
“What turned out this week is pretty interesting to see,” commented Hamilton.
“Obviously they lost some power today. It will be interesting to keep track of how this will continue and how it will affect the race.”
“They are still faster than us on the straights [3 km/h difference on the main speed trap before the Turn 12]. I hope our car will be strong in the race.”
Wolff refused to connect Ferrari speed loss to Red Bull’s query to the FIA
Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff stressed that all three leading teams are closer on the straights than in recent races, but doesn’t want to link this to Red Bull’s FIA inquiry about fuel flow control.
“Clearly, the three teams are a lot closer in speed on the straights here in the US,” said Wolff.
“But I wouldn’t say it was because of some special event.”
“The fact is, we won our first pole position since July, from Hockenheim, and we were in the game.”
“It is clear that the FIA issued a technical directive to clarify the situation, in very clear words. But it is a standard process, it has happened before, as part of the role of the governing body.”