Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari, Monza, 2018

Ferrari concerned by information leak over FIA power unit sensor

2018 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene says the team is concerned how information about the second FIA sensor which has been fitted to its car’s power unit came to light.

Arrivabene confirmed to German television network RTL the existence of the second sensor, which was added at the request of the FIA to monitor how Ferrari’s unique power unit design functions.

“Our battery layout is quite complex,” said Arrivabene. “We agreed with the request from the FIA to work together with them and to facilitate their work we added a second sensor. But it doesn’t change in any case the performance of our car.

“Despite that I think it’s strange that everybody knows about the second sensor. I said that our battery layout is quite complex but it’s also an intellectual property of Ferrari.

“I hope that as everybody knows about the second sensor in future everybody they are not going to be informed about our projects. That could be a serious matter.”

The addition of the second sensor has been seized upon by some as the explanation for why Mercedes has pulled ahead of Ferrari in recent races. But Arrivabene insisted the team has not lost performance on the straights.

“Not at all,” he said. “And we have the data to confirm that.”

“In the straight we were absolutely ahead in Singapore and in Russia we were more or less like Mercedes. Where we lost was in the slow speed corners.”

The addition of the second sensor is “nothing to do with the speed on the straight”, Arrivabene added.

Sebastian Vettel told media yesterday he did not believe the team has lost straight-line performance.

“No, I don’t think so, we were running at full boost,” he said. “Obviously in Russia we were not competitive. But I think we lost more time in the corners than in the straights.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Ferrari concerned by information leak over FIA power unit sensor”

  1. It seems that since they have this second sensor that the Ferrari is not as fast anymore. FIA might be onto something.

    1. @coldfly Their speed trap figures in second practice were pretty much on a par with Mercedes – Hamilton’s was a bit quicker but that looked like it might have been tow-assisted.

      1. georgeboole (@)
        5th October 2018, 11:06

        I don’t trust those speed trap numbers as we never know how much wing or in general how the aero is regulated from teams between races. After all we have seen Honda have decent top speed from the start of the championship but still they are not competitive. I believe it has to do more with power deployment rather than power.
        It still seems that Ferrari have lost their pace recently.
        But I m not an expert!

      2. The speed trap figures are fairly irrelevant overall in the comparison, and in fact could point to the fact that this sensor IS the issue with their pace.

        Yes, through the speed trap, they are much of a muchness with Mercedes. But they were too when they had a lap time pace advantage. Their gains were in certain types of corners and their acceleration out of them, not ultimate speed down straights.

        If both Ferrari and Mercedes, for example, top out at 200mph through a speed trap at the end the straight, it doesn’t mean that they are as quick as each other down the straight. It just means they have the same v-max. The Ferrari could well have got to 200mph a lot earlier and carried that speed down a lot more of the straight (something that was especially visible at Hockenheim), whereas the Mercedes just touches 200mph at the speed trap. The Ferrari has covered the distance faster.

        They don’t have that insane acceleration any more. The car is making a very different sound on acceleration where it used to make a sort of 2 tone humming noise, it doesn’t any more, it rattles.

        They are now losing time in the corners they weren’t before, so aside from losing their acceleration advantage, they’ve also lost a downforce advantage at the exact same time. Why? Easy, they’re running less downforce to counteract the loss in power. Before with the seeming ERS boost/advantage they had, they could overcome a lot of the extra drag and load wing angle on, now they can’t. The car is also suddenly wearing its tyres harder, again, down to more sliding due to a drop in wing levels they are able to run.

    2. Rather Red Bull (and MErcedes) are on to something in that case @coldfly, since the FIA has more or less kept saying how Ferrari were fine, and only investigated after a large push from both these rivals – including making their suspicions public.

      An alternative explanation might be that with Ferrari apparently running the engines as safe as they can to avoid having to fit another unit, that they cannot use the more high powered setting because it would risk damaging it.

    3. I’ve believed all along that Ferrari might be doing something bordering on illegal with their Power Unit, but there’s no real evidence that they’ve lost any performance in the last few races. On the contrary, the W09 has unlocked a hell of a lot of pace since Spa and it’s making the SF71H look like it’s gone backwards.

      1. I don’t understand how you can infer this. What evidence do we have that Mercedes have unlocked all this pace, I don’t get it. It seems more likely Ferrari were doing something with oil burning or similar that’s now been identified.

      2. Honestly they should’ve just let it be …… Clearly the only reason anyone said something is that they were scared and clearly haven’t been as clever in development with this area …. After all this is also a CONSTRUCTORS Championship ….. The clearly out constructed to the point they’re rivals felt cornered so they had to tell Mom and Dad……

  2. Perhaps Ferrari were doing something fishy with regard to the power delivery in slow corners, something like replicating TC effect… I’m not saying that they were doing this but isn’t traction very dependent on the way the power is delivered “gently” in low engine regime in order to have a good exist speed and be gentle on the tyres at the same time.

    1. Perhaps not more likely.

  3. Exactly what I believed. Ferrari were falling behind in the slow speed corners, something that was once Mercedes’ great weakness. Ferrari have not got their setup right in the past two races.
    And Hamilton is just learning that he needs to do more work with the engineers between races, instead of jetting off somewhere to go have fun.

    1. And Hamilton is just learning that he needs to do more work with the engineers between races, instead of jetting off somewhere to go have fun.

      That has never been true. Anyone who believes this doesn’t know much about F1

      1. That’s true I remember that.
        Perhaps the fact I included jetting, implied he wasn’t working hard.
        But I remember Hamilton’s difficult lady 3 seasons at Mclaren a team he trusted, which have him the false belief that their race strategy will always be in his interest. But he’d be leading the race, pit and end up in 4th or 5th position. Most of his crashes with Massa was because he couldn’t understand why he was ending up there in the first place. Had he been reading the race, he could have overruled some of those pit calls.
        So he was fast and dedicated, but was losing out to detail.

        1. Perhaps the fact I included jetting, implied he wasn’t working hard.

          Or maybe it was the fact you said he should do more work

          1. Perhaps.
            Notwithstanding, I assumed most of us had gone beyond all that, “Hamilton is not working hard or is not intelligent” nonsense.
            My comment is more to the fact that most times a few apparently insignificant details might get overlooked by him and become significant much to late.
            Focus early, work out those car weaknesses early and don’t wait until the last part of the season before you notice something is not working right.

          2. My comment is more to the fact that most times a few apparently insignificant details might get overlooked by him


          3. Seems like you caught OOliver in a spiders web

          4. For instance Mercedes had accepted that they had weak tracks, they could win on those tracks that worked to their advantage. It was well established that Mercedes suffered in the slow corners. Not until Ferrari frightened then at Spa did they realise they could work on their other weaknesses. Then they worked hard for Singapore and cured that. Prior to Ferrari’s frightening pace, they had accepted they could lose some and win others.

    2. You should also listen to James Allison’s comments on how hard Hamilton works off track.

  4. I feel like rumour was started by people who value opinion and speculation more than they do facts. Had SF been cheating, the pace (laptimes) in relation to last year would have been smaller in now than it was in the beginning of the year (obviously considering the tyres, weather etc). I’m no expert though, I could be wrong…

  5. Instead of developing Merc have got the FIA to help them after all this whole era of V6 turbos has to belong to them as payment for their upturn in investment in 2010. Ferrari know this, they will be given their era soon, Red Bull were given their era as well as payment for huge investment when they bought their own team. Renault need to stump up more and they will get a few titles given as well. It all seems a bit WWE.

    1. digitalrurouni
      5th October 2018, 13:49

      LOL. That’s all.

    2. digitalrurouni
      5th October 2018, 13:51

      And you forgot conveniently about the whole suspension thing leading Mercedes to have to redesign the car right before the season? And guess who won!

      1. This is a PU (merc got a 5 year head start) and pirelli (developed to support merc) formula. These are pre paid championships, merc will win until the PU regs change.

    3. At least WWE has an element of fun and brevity to it.

      WWE you don’t always know the result.

      In F1 you know that Bottas will always give up a win to Hammy.


      1. Levity, I mean levity.

      2. digitalrurouni
        5th October 2018, 14:40

        And same thing applies to Vettel and Raikonnen no?

      3. By all means keep it up, ‘anon’ – but I don’t think you’re getting much support – apart from your other online incarnations… ;)

  6. The irony is that if ferrari have been “cheating” this season, the Mercedes car that turned up at Australia wasn’t that bad, but by cheating, Ferrari have pushed Mercedes to develop to the point where they are nearly unbeatable again.

    1. I don’t think Ferrari is cheating. I believe right now, they are not able to use their tyres properly.

      1. I’m undecided as there is no evidence either way, but a consequence of less power is also reducing the downforce to keep straight line speed which in turn ruins tyre management due to sliding more on the corners.

        1. Coincidences are too much to ignore…
          + last year, oil burn banned/capped, Ferrari performance disappeared!
          + this year one extra sensor put on the double battery of Ferrari, now Ferrari which was able to set up cars perfectly whole year suddenly messed it all up and unlearned everything or rosberg’s mechanic joined them and pump 0.5 psi less air to their rear right wheel? they were literally 3-4 tenth ahead of merc in quali most season, suddenly 0.5-0.7 sec behind couple of races….

          + coincidences are deciding the championship now is it really ?
          and why they make their concern public now? it just makes it more obviously leaned towards them that sensor thing is related…

          1. You’re right. That’s a massive list of coincidences. Too big to ignore, definitely.

  7. That is a photo of an anguished soul!

    1. @shimks I was going to ask when it was taken, certainly not cheery.

      1. Even when he smiles he doesn’t look cheery… :)

  8. Very strange that instead of nearly half a second quicker than Mercedes they are now in deficit…Its not about top speed as some have mentioned….as most cars are on the rev limiter around the speed traps, and you gear the top speed of the car to what you want it to be in relation to the circuit….but they were able earlier in the season to put the power down and pull away quicker than the mercs by not a huge amount but enough….and haven’t seen the smoke on start up recently either…although it may still be there….Its a better plot than Sherlock Holmes..
    It may help them with results if the team were a little more professional…they make some terrible race decisions and are missing a “Ross Brawn”…..the leak could probably have come from the team themselves

    1. I hardly think any car’s on the rev limiter in the speed traps, otherwise they would not get anything from DRS + a tow and it would be quite hard to overtake.

      1. My recollection is you very seldom see anyone hit the rev limiter these days. The only gear you might hit the rev limiter on is 8th gear because there’s no 9th gear. F1 is fuel flow restricted, to there comes a point where using higher RPMs comes at the cost of a leaner fuel to air mix, which is already lean in comparison to a normal road car anyway. Every other gear has another gear above it, so the gear change is done on the cross over of power between the two gears, which is about 11,500 RPM.

    2. I thought (and I could be wrong) that the gear sets are fixed throughout the season not changed to suit each track

  9. Ferrari were never that great.

    Mercedes and Hammy shot themselves in the foot early in the season. Mercedes have been quickest since Melbourne. They and their driver made a lot of mistakes and and underperformed early on.

    Ferrrari have only been geniunely quickest at Baku, Hockenheim and Spa.

    1. Hammy was really bad at the beginning of the season. But , FIA gave Mercedes remedy, whole R&D from Ferrari, and Mercedes gained everything at 0 cost.
      They started with new measures in Singapore.

      Bad politics.

    2. Ferrrari have only been geniunely quickest at Baku, Hockenheim and Spa.

      And Bahrain, China, Canada, Hungary and Monza. Tough times for the Tifosi indeed!

      1. dont believe every buzzing anonny baloony stories/excuses… these disrespectful spec of dusts always full of rubbish and insults…

      2. Bottas should have won Bahrain. Mercedes were quicker.

        Mercedes would have won China if not for the safety car. Mercedes were quicker. Qualifying pace does not mean you are the best car.

        Canada was marginal. Bottas wasn’t far behind Vettel, and we all know that Bottas is vastly inferior to Vettel.

        Hungary the Mercedes qualified 1-2 and won comfortably. Bottas’s race was sabotaged in order to ruin Vettel’s race and help Hammy win.

        Monza was a commanding win by Mercedes.

        1. Wrong wrong and wrong again

  10. As a Sf fan, I see the Ferrari lost the pace, I don’t know if they were cheating or not but the ice bag on the camera, the additional button for vettel steering wheel,… Etc seems like comuflage to something is not proper, now with the leak of second sensor that means that Ferrari was forced to do that instead of being accused if illegal changes to their cars which mean a whole scandal of scudreia. Another thing that Sv starts to talk normally away from fighting spirit, his body language and face expressions shows he had the pace before he made mistakes in Germany and Italy then with second sensor the pace had gone and back to normal behavior like 2017 season. He is completely certain that he will never win any pole and/or first or second podium unless something went wrong with ham or bottas!!!! If he make it 100% zero mistake he will got podium. Now he is competing with redbull!!! He can’t think he may win Hamilton again this season. What a shame, what a loss

  11. If ferrari was doing something illegal that would explain the stupid mistakes by Vettel because of added pressure of being uncovered as a team.

  12. They are losing speed in corners now because they have to run slightly lower downforce as they have lost power because of the second sensor monitoring.

    They have been caught red handed.

  13. Ancient adage.
    “There’s no smoke without a fire”!

  14. It’s not the top speed that is important. It’s how they were using the battery. That is what scarb pointed out. I think there was some illegal stuff going on in that car.

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