Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Hamilton: Ferrari have ‘lost power’ since FIA issued directive on engines

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari’s straight-line speed is not as strong at this weekend’s race after the FIA clarified an area of the technical regulations.

The sport’s governing body issued a technical directive which informs teams how it intends to interpret an area of the regulations, in this case relating to power unit design. Ferrari’s impressive power unit performance has been a matter of close scrutiny by rival teams and the directive is believed to have been prompted by a query from Red Bull.

“What’s come out this week has been quite interesting to see,” said Hamilton. “Obviously today I think they’ve lost a bit of power. I’m interested to see how that continues and how it reflects in the race tomorrow.”

However Hamilton said he’s “not sure” whether it will be any easier to overtake the Ferraris in the race. “They’re still quite quicker than us generally in the straights.

“Hopefully our car will be strong throughout the race tomorrow. Yesterday’s running was good today was a little bit difficult, hopefully tomorrow’s better.”

Ferrari failed to take pole position for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, but Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said this was not necessarily a consequence of the technical directive.

“Certainly the three teams were much closer together in terms of straight-line performance here in the US,” said Wolff. “But I wouldn’t say this is down to any specific event. It’s just a fact that we’ve won our first pole position since July, since Hockenheim, and we are really in the mix.”

“I think it’s very strong that the FIA issued a TD clarifying the situation with some very clear wording,” he added. “But this is a process that is standard, happened before and part of the role of the governing body.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

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...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

59 comments on “Hamilton: Ferrari have ‘lost power’ since FIA issued directive on engines”

  1. Just like last year when they “lost” power after formal inquiry into PU.

    1. They got that pace back again after they removed some aero upgrades that didn’t correlate with their CFD/wind tunnel results.

      1. @ho3n3r No, no they didn’t.

      2. Last years PU was accelerating the car in middle of straights and that was the reason for protest from teams. After directive from FIA that behaviour vanished which meant there was something illegal with PU and FIA let it slide instead of disqualifying the team. They never got that acceleration in middle of straight back after the aero package removal. This years 3rd PU in quali trim is a beast, the reason for this clarification seems to be that rivals want to exploit the loophole if Ferrari as exploiting it right now.

        Note: I found out yesterday Leclerc lost another PU and he was on older PU for race and only Vettel is still on 3rd PU. (Working for australian client has its disadvantages and like Mexican GP skipping USGP and relying on repeat telecasts.)

        So it would be interesting to see how FIA clarify this to teams.

  2. A ferrari mechanic once placed white powder in a fuel tank. I remember that incident

    1. Was that in Brazil? He was just holding that for a friend, it wasn’t his, he’s never used that stuff before.

      1. Monaco 2007.

    2. Wasn’t that one of the people invovled in the Spygate scandal? As in he got fired because of that and he got invovled in Spygate as revenge.

      1. Nigel Stepney @yaru

      2. @yaru, Nigel Stepney was accused of doing that, though the whole affair was rather vague and I don’t think it was conclusively proven that he was responsible.

        1. He was killed some years later, when he stepped out from his broken-down truck on a motorway in the UK…

  3. Has anyone seen a quantification of this or is it just speculation?

    1. Yes, via GPS measurements from qualifying.

      Marko: “Our top speed deficit to Ferrari was not so bad [in qualifying]. On the long straight, it was three to four tenths. Yesterday we lost twice that. ”


      “In the GPS comparisons shows that Ferrari wins in Austin on all straights together three and a half tenths to the Mercedes and six tenths to the Red Bull Honda. That’s about half of what was measured the previous day. And half of the Ferrari advantage in Suzuka, a circuit similar to the Circuit of the Americas.”

    2. As usual, Hamilton playing mind games. Just like his “Ferrari are using special tricks” comment a year ago. He struggles to guard his mouth sometimes.

      1. Mind games? Ferrari didn’t gain its usual 8 tenths yesterday on the straights, their fastest sector time was only 0.05 faster than that of Mercedes. Is it a coincidence?

        1. Ferrari are running more rear wing than merc or red bull.

    3. See top article today from Keith.

  4. So … are we allowed to know what this “very clear wording” is and how it differs from the old wording?

    1. Well theirs some clues elsewhere around the web and its a directive after RB proposed creating some sort of electrical pulse that would temp increase the fuel. rate.

      1. Of course the info can be found around the Web, but it’s reasonable to expect a motorsport website that has written an article on the subject includes that detail.

        1. They include a link not 3 articles away from this one. This is about Hamilton’s response to it; when asked.

          1. There is no link in the article, which I followed a link to from the site’s Twitter feed. The only link in the article is to a bio-page about Lewis Hamilton, and I’ve already heard of him 😉. I’m not sure what you mean by “three articles away from this one”. I’ve already found the information elsewhere, so all this is somewhat academic.

    2. GtisBetter (@)
      3rd November 2019, 19:01

      I am sure I replied to you, so people could get an idea about what it is, but it has been deleted. Weird.

  5. Awww, did the big bad Ferrari give him trouble?

    1. Come on! You can be a bit more witty and imaginative than that, can’t you?

  6. Meh Lewis, Ferrari had super advantage in Mexico straights yet verstappen took the pole.. just because they don’t have that insane advantage at USA it mean something, could well be they went bit more for cornering speed in their pursuit of balance

    1. Yet to forget to mention Merc’s major disadvantage at higher altitudes. It was Red Bull’s inquiry to Ferrari that led to some sort of regulation and many think Ferrari is no longer as fast on the straights, hence why Bottas was able to outqualify Ferrari.

    2. Mexico is a high df track because of the altitude. Makes sense RBR has been fast there for two years now.

  7. I want to hear more details about this clarification thing, sounds like an interesting story.

    Even if it turns out that Ferrari didn’t adjust it in response to that as Hamilton claims, would love to see details on it.

    1. Expected to find the details here, but no.

    2. @yaru, you can find an explanation for it in the following article.

      Basically, the query revolves around when the fuel flow monitoring system takes flow readings. The meter takes readings at discrete intervals, rather than continuously, so Red Bull’s query was whether it would be legal to have a system that would allow a team to inject additional fuel in the interval between readings, but return the fuel flow to normal levels when the fuel flow reading was taken.

      The response to Red Bull’s query by the FIA was that any such system would be illegal – the fuel flow has to stay below the flow limit at all points, not just at those points in time when the fuel flow can be measured.

  8. He’s such a child sometimes.
    Will he ever grow up?

    Obviously missing the fact Charles is now using an old, tired and possibly even previous generation PU, and that Vettel is still as fast down the straight as demonstrated on the broadcast using their fastest laps.

    1. Oh the irony!

    2. I’m with you Dale . I have no problem with the teams, other drivers, reporters, F1 forums and commentators all speaking on this subject. But who the hell does the 5 x WDC champion think he is answering reporters questions on this. Just because everyone could see and comment on the lack of straight line speed of the Ferrari following the RB clarification doesn’t give Hamilton the right to join in.

      1. Absolutely– Hamilton should have told the reporter who asked him the question “I’m sorry, but the internet fans get annoyed when I answer questions, go away”.

        Hamilton’s a 5 (6) time world champion, with more pole positions than anyone in the history of F1– I think he’s got a right to his opinion and a right to voice it.

      2. Ha! So funny of u. He is racing them, how can’t he give his opinion about it? You are so funny guys, clown would have made better comments!

    3. Yes how dare him give his opinion on the Ferrari straight line speed even though he was asked a question about it by journalist.

      1. Yeah. How dare he. Just wonderful how Hamilton does his political game.

        1. @jureo, except, of course, it was Red Bull who started this off by putting in the technical query to begin with, and Marko has been constantly stirring up criticism of Ferrari since the start of the season, if not before then – so, I presume that you are going to say “how dare Red Bull and Marko play political games” given they have been the ones orchestrating this whole affair?

          1. The difference being than RB got something behind their words.

          2. @rethla Well if he was referring to the rule clarification, then he has something “behind his words” too doesn’t he?

            Either way, he simply states that he finds it “quite interesting” that Ferrari suddenly lost their straight line speed advantage. He can see that either from the car when following them or from the GPS plots. What more does he need to have “behind his words”?

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      3rd November 2019, 11:55

      Uh oh… Someone criticised the blessed one. Take cover!

  9. Facts don’t care about your feelings, Lewis. Vettel was still as fast on the straights as usual, and Leclerc was using a spare PU.

    He really likes his own hype – if anyone beats him, “it must be illegal”.

    1. So where does he say its ‘illegal’?

      1. @riptide
        You dont think this comment has anything to do with FIA clarifying the fuel flow regulations or what?

        1. When you put ” quotation marks” in your comment it means you are “QUOTING” something that was said. Nowhere does Lewis quote anything illegal has been done.
          Just pointing out some basic English.

          1. He doesnt spell out the word illegal but if you know basic english thats exactly what hamilton says.

          2. No. That is “interpretation”. Translation and interpretation are completely different things. You have interpreted something he simply hasnt said.

        2. So just spout a load of lies, conjecture and nonsense; and then get angry with your own fantasy? Don’t let reality get in the way of your agenda.

  10. Isn’t Lewis the one who qualified fifth or did I missed something?

    1. And the connection between him qualifying 5th and saying it was down to him, and this story is?

  11. If this were the hack, then the downside is that you have to start with more fuel to get the advantages later. But they didn’t seem to be hurt on starts or early stints in particular. I thought the best speculation was that they had extra energy recovery from the battery system.

    1. They arent exactly strapped for fuel.

    2. @dmw, if it is mainly only used to give the car a short term performance boost in qualifying, which is where it is most visible, the additional fuel consumption wouldn’t be a major issue.

  12. This is cool, after many years of MB dominance and where ever anyone tried to convince FIA to change something to help the other engine manufacturers, suddenly MB wasn’t so dominant for some races and even other teams had wins and the engine discussions went on hold. Now that Ferrari are catching up there must be something illegal going on.
    This is crazy because all the previous years it was just MB superiority and now its Ferrari cheating.

    1. Maybe thats because Merc have just built an incredibly efficient PU without testing loop holes. There have been many attempts to hold back Merc but none them have worked. That has to be because they simply aren’t breaking any rules? Occams razor theory comes into play here I think.

      1. Im with you but how come everyone hangs on TOTO and the other rumorsayers that something fishing is going on with Ferrari and all the media bite this including this blog and we get endless discussions?
        Ferrari with their design have problems in downforce in low and medium speed corners. They have a very good PU since Shell new fuel and now that they have this type of gain on power they are putting more downforce in the car and they lost some maximum speed. What i say is a logical explanation of Ferrari sudden improvement in tracks where there was RB and MB dominance last year. They still have troubles with their aero philosophy but they had counter fix that a bit.

  13. There was only a few tenths of a second between the top four in qualifying so Ferrari still looked competitive on the Saturday. Since Vettel’s suspension failed it was probably causing his initial poor race pace as he was being overtaken by everyone and he may be experiencing a drop in form but not by that much.

    Leclerc had a seven second pit stop which didn’t help him although finishing 52 seconds behind does suggest something was not right but that could be down to the delayed pit stop putting him in traffic.

    I don’t think that anyone can draw the conclusion from the US Grand Prix that Ferrari might have stopped doing something that they shouldn’t have been doing.

Comments are closed.