Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes the speculation surrounding the Scuderia’s power unit in the second part of 2019 was just a ploy used by its rivals to pressure the Italian outfit.
Ferrari’s sudden boost in form after F1’s summer break had its rivals trying to figure out where the Scuderia’s power advantage was coming from.
A query from Red Bull led to scrutiny from the FIA and a to series of technical directives clarifying potential non-compliant tricks, the likes of which could help boost an engine’s power output.
But Binotto contends that the suspicions from Ferrari’s rivals were perhaps feigned and used as a mere ploy to pressure and “distract” the Scuderia.
“I’m not sure they really doubted us,” Binotto told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“They probably used the circumstance to put pressure on us. Pressure distracts. It is part of the game of Formula 1 to unsettle the opponent.
“Our business isn’t just about a sporting and technical competition. Anything that harms the opponent is good to use.”
Intrigue emerged in Austin when Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage suddenly vanished on race day, 24 hours after the release by the FIA of its first technical directive.
Binotto says that Ferrari’s rivals were right about the red cars losing their edge, but for the wrong reasons.
“They drew the wrong conclusions,” said the Swiss engineer.
“We didn’t change the operating conditions of the engines. In order to generate more downforce, the increased the drag. Therefore, we were a bit faster in the corners, but slower on the straights.”
While Binotto was proud of the progress achieved by Ferrari’s engineers on the engine front in 2019, the Scuderia boss said the Scuderia’s unit did not enjoy the 50-horsepower advantage its rivals claimed it had.
“The truth is far from this value,” he added. “We assume a maximum of 20 bhp, which is still a respectable number.
“At a time when the engine performance is converging, 20 bhp are a big advantage which helps you in qualifying and in the race.
“I am proud of this development. I can still remember the first hybrid year in 2014. The gap to Mercedes was huge – it was over 80 bhp!
“We have made tremendous efforts at the factory in Maranello to fill this gap. I have to say that we have done a great job in this field.”
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