Sainz to get upgraded Ferrari engine this year, Haas and Alfa Romeo must wait

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Ferrari expect to give the second example of their upgraded power unit to Carlos Sainz Jnr within the coming races.

Charles Leclerc was chosen as the first driver to run the new hardware at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

However Ferrari is unlikely to roll out the upgrade to its customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo before the end of the season.

The team’s racing director Laurent Mekies explained how they will decide when to introduce the upgrade on Sainz’s car.

“The difference in performance is never going to be huge because it’s all about adding these small steps,” he said. “The sporting penalty is significant. We are also fighting for every single point for the constructors’ championship so we are trying to evaluate when it is reasonable to do it from performance versus penalty point of view.

“Of course, you should not do it too late because the more you wait, the less you will have benefits from the switch. So I think in the next couple of races we will probably make the call.”

Formula 1 teams will be able to introduce further power unit upgrades next season, after which the specifications will be frozen. Mekies said Ferrari was eager to introduce the upgrade before the end of this year to assess its development direction for 2022.

“The main target with this power unit is above all to work for next year,” he said. “So the big push from the company to try to bring this new hybrid system as early as now, is to make sure that we can confirm that all the processes, all the direction of development that we have for next year’s PU is confirmed with the race track feedback.

“It’s one thing to have the simulation, it’s one thing to have the dyno tests, it’s much better if we can have on-track confirmation so that’s why we are doing it.”

However Haas team principal Guenther Steiner doesn’t expect the upgrade to be provided to his team or fellow Ferrari users Alfa Romeo this year.

“It is for 2022, the changes they made,” said Steiner. “For us this year it doesn’t make sense to put it in any more.

“I think it would also be logistically not possible to do for them because if they give it to us, they need to give it to Alfa Romeo, as well and I think they cannot do that.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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3 comments on “Sainz to get upgraded Ferrari engine this year, Haas and Alfa Romeo must wait”

  1. As I understand the rules though, if the Haas or Alfa teams need to replace an engine and cannot go back to any already in the pool, then they would have to get the new spec, since it isn’t allowed to give customers older spec once you introduce a new spec, right?

    They are not planning to do so (cost most likely being the reason), but a few too many crashes might make it happen

    1. @bascb I have heard of that rule being announced. It was originally going to come into force with the rest of the (delayed) 2021 regs, but I don’t know whether this rule also got delayed or actually did come into force this season

    2. Presumably they are delayed if the team principals thrmsves think they won’t get it.

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