Mattia Binotto, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Ferrari denies altering power unit after technical directive and hits back at ‘disappointing comments’

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto hit back after the team’s rivals suggested a recent FIA clarification of the technical rules was the reason for their poor performance at the United States Grand Prix.

He denied any link between the technical directive issued by the FIA, in response to a query raised by Red Bull, and their performance at the Circuit of the Americas, where they failed to reach the podium for the first time in 14 races.

“Honestly we will look through the technical directive,” said Binotto. “We have not done it this weekend in detail.”

Asked whether Ferrari team had altered any part of its power unit or its operation following the directive Binotto said: “Nothing at all.”

The team’s run of six consecutive pole positions ended on Saturday, following which Lewis Hamilton said the team had clearly “lost a bit of power” since the FIA technical directive was issued.

Neither Ferrari finished on the podium. Both drivers struggled at the start of the race and Sebastian Vettel was out in less than 10 laps due to suspension failure.

Max Verstappen made cryptic references to the team’s loss of performance in the post-race press conference. The Red Bull driver said he was “not surprised at all” that Ferrari had not been competitive and suggested “a piece of paper” provided the explanation.

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Binotto said the comments he read about the team’s performance were “disappointing”.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2019
Analysis: Have Ferrari got slower since the FIA’s technical directive on power units?
“I read and I heard a lot of comments this weekend about a technical directive and an impact on our cars,” he said. “I heard comments at the end of the race, which I think are very disappointing.

“As a matter of fact I believe that yesterday we have been very close to the pole position as it has been the last races. Seb could have scored pole yesterday if he hadn’t been too much cautious in one corner.

Charles [Leclerc] had a clear problem in the morning, losing completely FP3, downgrade on the engine fitted to the car. Overall I think that looking at his performance in Q3 and what could have been done without the issue in the morning I’m pretty sure as well that he was potentially in the pole as well.”

Binotto said both drivers suffered “problems with grip on the car in the first stint” but the team’s performance showed “the speed on the straight was not our issue”.

“I think it’s the type of comments which get it wrong and it’s not good for the sport and I think that everybody should be a bit more cautious,” he added.

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10 comments on “Ferrari denies altering power unit after technical directive and hits back at ‘disappointing comments’”

  1. Ok

    Brazil, here we come!

    1. P.S. I meant that the next race will probably sort everything out…

  2. Maybe it did impact them, maybe it didn’t. If it did and their engine is guilty of the accusations, they’d never openly admit it and would deny it anyway.

    Regardless, even they’ve got to admit they were nowhere in this race and looked more like the slow and inconsistent Ferrari we got used to seeing at the start of the year than the one that got multiple pole positions in a row after the break.

    1. Well said @rocketpanda; and also in a way, at least in regards to their chassis, if this was the main cause for their weakness in the race, they know the reason, because otherwise, they clearly haven’t fully solved (understood?) their early season issues yet.

      1. Eh, missed main point: so maybe that would be the good news for them…

  3. Additional load changes of bumpy tracks, rollercoasters are often treated with high downforce, what Ferrari does not have.
    About the engine stuff, I’m in an I don’t know state, but the graphed data in the other article is quite convincing.
    F1’s attitude to not so severe breaches are a bit interesting. For example the Renault’s breake balance case is quite debatable too, if that’d be evaluated so severe, especially if they used that for years as said at i forgot where, then exclusion from the current grand prix is not that much. But things like this cannot be solved without more scrutineering. And how the hell these expensive and complex machines could be more deeply examined? X-ray? Sounds healthy. They just cannot disassemble them too too much often, for this purpose, and even if it’d be possible even the teams need a lot of time to understand the car they created. I just cannot believe that an automated brake balance setting could be kept in secret for years.

  4. Let’s assume Ferrari weren’t doing anything, but speculate on what they could have been ;)

    A lot of coverage of this issue seem to suggest that Ferrari have been using wire proximity to somehow interfere with the signal to the fuel flow sensor and confuse it, producing lower readings. That sounds very hard to do accurately. Based on the wording of the directive, it seems much more likely to me that Ferrari could have been using the wire proximity to detect (via magnetic field changes/induced current) electrical pulses corresponding to the periodic fuel flow measurements. This would allow them to safely increase fuel flow rate in between measurements, and blip it down again when each measurement occurs. Totally speculative, however :)

    1. The FIA were in on whatever Ferrari were doing and had said what Ferrari were doing was legal. I can’t see the FIA giving such a comment if you were to interfere with the signals from the Fuel Flow Meter or to be drawing extra fuel between the fuel flow measurements.

    2. Science fiction much. Makes more sense to have a pre injection chamber so that the pu keeps flowing fuel even when not required and storing the excess on a pre injection chamber. As is cars can surpass the fuel flow for 2 laps and then rebalance it, so this sort of system may also work in reverse.

  5. :D I’ll make my own conclusions. Ferrari were much faster than their race pace in quali again. In the race they were nowhere, despite that they qualified on first and second row. Must be something to do with engine power.

    But if they suck in the remainder of the races (suck as in 5th and 6th) Then i’ll consider it.

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