Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Ferrari intends to avoid engine penalties despite early upgrade

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Ferrari intends to avoid incurring power unit penalties for Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc despite changing their engines earlier than planned, says team principal Mattia Binotto.

The team is running its ‘spec two’ power unit for the first time at the fifth race of the season. Each driver is allowed three engines for the 21-race championship, meaning each unit typically needs to cover seven races.

However Binotto stressed it is “not the plan” for the team to use more than three engines per driver. “The early introduction does not mean that we cannot still use P1 in some races, that can be an option,” he explained. “But we are not hoping to have four engines per season per driver.”

The team originally intended to debut its new engine specification at the Canadian Grand Prix in four weeks’ time. Binotto said its introduction, and other upgrades, had been brought forward in response to their poor showing in the Australian Grand Prix.

“Obviously when you are planning such a change in your schedule or planning you need to do it a few weeks ago. It’s not something we decided last week.

“Having started the season in Melbourne we recognised that somehow we may have been late on our performance compared to our competitors. We tried simply to push on all the main items where we were already planning developments and we were simply looking for opportunities and anticipating some of the problems.

“We did it already with an aero package in Baku which was somehow introduced earlier.

“We did it here as well for the power unit. You simply achieve that by trying maybe sometimes to shortcut or to intensify the activity. I have to say that the people back at Maranello, we intensified our activities and we are working still very hard. That’s what we need to do at the moment.”

Ferrari and Leclerc are on their second of three engines, their second of two sets of control electronics, and their original MGU-H, MGU-K, turbocharger and energy store.

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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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9 comments on “Ferrari intends to avoid engine penalties despite early upgrade”

  1. So, taken at face value, Binotto’s words (and the fact the updates so far seemed to work) mean that perhaps Ferrari has become better at keeping up the development->on track improvements, which can only be good.

    1. @Bosyber – Though taking his words at face value also indicate 2 more troubling things.

      1) –

      “Having started the season in Melbourne we recognised that somehow we may have been late on our performance compared to our competitors.”

      This would mean that Ferrari started behind Mercedes, or at least that Mercedes out-developed them early on in the season or in the time period before Australia.

      2) – That even with pulling development schedules to the left (i.e. releasing updates earlier than planned) they are still not yet closing down Mercedes lead. Admittedly that may change, perhaps even this weekend.

      Hopefully Ferrari continue to develop both quickly and effectively and make the season more competitive. I’m just not quite there yet with my optimism.

      1. Indeed @hobo, I left out saying ‘maybe Ferrari, like much of the expert F1 media, crowned them(selves) King of Winter, and as has happened before, they were wrong’ – I do think that Ferrari is a bit prone to believe their own hype, and potentially fell for it this year again.

  2. However Binotto stressed it is “not the plan” for the team to use more than three engines per driver.

    So they’re going to run spec 2 (i.e. what’s in use now) of their control electronics until the end of the season? Hm, interesting.

  3. Despite the season being 21 races, Ferrari will only be in contention to win a championship in 16 of them, which drops it to 5 races per engine (then it doesn’t matter).

  4. @emu55 can’t get your math

    1. tbh neither can i

  5. They already swapped out their Control Electronics following the fix to LeClerc’s issue, right?

    1. @optimaximal – true, and that’s the though at the back of my mind. 3 PUs is a convenient shorthand, but some components are limited to only two, hence my comment above – about running the rest of the season on the same CE.

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