After Formula 1 paddock wondered how Ferrari made such a big step in engine power during the season, as did their clients Sauber and Haas, the question now is what exactly has happened that this advantage has disappeared.
For the first time since 2014, everyone in Formula 1 agreed that Mercedes doesn’t have the strongest engine – it was Ferrari that took over, after they have made a great jump in power after the 2018 Canadian GP without the introduction of new power unit components.
Auto Motor und Sport was reporting that teams, including Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault, found that Ferrari found as much as 38 HP in their engine, which was clearly visible in GPS data.
This is the amount that is found under stable rules during two years, which concerned their rivals from Mercedes and Renault.
“They are very fast in the straights whic is very interesting because they do not have a new engine and suddenly they have much more power,” commented Hamilton after free practice sessions on Friday at Hockenheim.
“There is now a lot of head-scratching, Ferrari has found something great,” Nico Rosberg told Sky F1.
Ferrari lost their power advantage
What is intriguing is the fact that GPS data, which has revealed Ferrari’s sudden jump in the summer, has now shown that Ferrari has lost its advantage over their rivals.
Auto Motor und Sport discovered that the GPS data from Singapore and Russia, the last two races, revealed that the SF71H had lost the power advantage of its 062 EVO power unit.
The key difference between the Ferrari power unit and everyone else is that Ferrari uses two batteries as a electrical energy store and since FIA has asked Ferrari to set another sensor, the advantage has disappeared.
This does not mean that Ferrari suddenly has a weak engine, but its advantage disappeared to some extent.
Less power explains Ferrari drop in form?
In the races on Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa and Monza Ferrari had up to half a second advantage over the Mercedes cars, which teams clearly saw in GPS measurements.
It is unclear when the FIA forced Ferrari to set another sensor, but even though the rivals accepted FIA’s explanation that the Ferrari’s engine was legal, they actually pressed very hard behind the scenes to explain the sudden and inexplicable leap during the season.
Despite the fact that Ferrari is still a very powerful engine, very close to the Mercedes (which was already close last season), their rivals are struggling with the question of where did their brutal acceleration out of the corners disappeared.
Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul thinks that Ferrari engine power drop compared to the middle of the season justifies Ferrari’s overall drop in performance in the in the last few races.
“If they have less power, then they can not use the same wing settings [downforce level] as before and have to use less downforce to keep the same straightline speed.”