Fer­rari seek thaw on en­gine freeze

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

An un­der­per­form­ing Scud­e­ria are lead­ing the charge to re­lax re­stric­tions on en­gine de­vel­op­ment – but not ev­ery­one agrees

Fer­rari are push­ing for a re­lax­ation of rules gov­ern­ing F1 en­gine de­vel­op­ment. Team prin­ci­pal Marco Mat­ti­acci has crit­i­cised the stric­tures in­tro­duced with the new turbo hy­brid en­gine for­mula, which for­bid in-sea­son de­vel­op­ment and spec­ify lim­its on up­grades, with in­creas­ing re­stric­tions placed on the ar­eas in which teams can in­tro­duce change.

The is­sue has arisen as a re­sult of Fer­rari’s fail­ure to pro­duce a com­pet­i­tive power unit this sea­son. One of the ideas pro­posed by Fer­rari is to al­low an ex­ten­sion on de­vel­op­ment into the early stages of the sea­son.

“We’ve never worked from tac­ti­cal an­gles say­ing: ‘Let’s do this soft­en­ing of the rules so we can catch Mercedes,’” Mat­ti­acci said. “The start­ing point was that in F1, I can­not wait one year to work on the en­gine. We do not be­lieve this is a magic bul­let. It’s a way to talk about in­no­vat­ing and to keep work­ing on the car.” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he was conicted about the idea. “It’s about dening what we want to do,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously we have a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage but we would take the chal­lenge on. Is it the time to change the rules to change some­thing? Maybe.”

But Wolff also ad­mit­ted he was in favour of rules sta­bil­ity and warned that any re­lax­ation of the en­gine freeze would in­cur a rise in costs.

Mat­ti­acci took a hard­line stance on this at a re­cent team bosses’ meet­ing. He re­sponded to claims that an en­gine freeze would in­crease costs for the strug­gling smaller teams by say­ing that Fer­rari’s en­gines were ef­fec­tively free as they had not re­ceived any money from ei­ther Marus­sia or Sauber this year.

He was ex­ag­ger­at­ing for ef­fect, for while both teams may have fallen be­hind with pay­ments, they have each paid Fer­rari at least some of their en­gine dues this sea­son.

Re­nault, mean­while, have warned that al­low­ing more room for de­vel­op­ment was no guar­an­tee that man­u­fac­tur­ers who are be­hind would nec­es­sar­ily catch Mercedes – who would ob­vi­ously also be free to de­velop their en­gine. Re­nault F1 boss Cyril Abite­boul said he wanted rules that en­sured the en­gines were as close to­gether in per­for­mance as pos­si­ble while keep­ing costs un­der con­trol.

“There is the law of di­min­ish­ing re­turns, which means that after some time Mercedes will be limited, and at that point in time we will be in a po­si­tion to catch up,” said Abite­boul. How­ever, I am not sure how far we are from the phys­i­cal limit of the sys­tem. “De­pend­ing on how far away we are, we may even be in a worse po­si­tion with that ad­di­tional un­freeze than with the cur­rent freeze.”

Re­nault and Fer­rari en­gines are lag­ging be­hind the dom­i­nant Mercedes power units

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