Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Ferrari engine’s driveability is biggest difference to Mercedes – Bottas

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says the Ferrari power unit he has switched to this year has one significant difference to the Mercedes he drove previously

In brief

Bottas pleased with “smooth” Ferrari power unit

Following his switch to Alfa Romeo, Bottas is driving a Formula 1 car powered by something other than a Mercedes engine for the first time since 2013. He says the Ferrari V6 hybrid turbo engine is much like the Mercedes.

“If I would compare the power to last year’s engine, it feels very similar in terms of the level of power,” he said. “Last year, there was issues with reliability. I think I had eight engines last year. Now I’m up to six this year. So it could be close!”

However there is one notable difference, Bottas added. “The driveability with Ferrari is really smooth. I think that was the biggest difference, the driveability I felt was improved with Ferrari.”

Piastri “chopped off the hand that fed him”

Alpine are fuming over Piastri’s move to McLaren
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says the team had a deal in place for its reserve driver Oscar Piastri to join Williams next year as early as the Miami Grand Prix in May. He strongly criticised the 21-year-old Formula 2 champion over his move to McLaren.

“He chopped off the hand that fed him and played with us because some draft contracts weren’t submitted in time,” Rossi told Auto Motor und Sport.

The team hoped to appoint Piastri in place of Fernando Alonso, after he agreed a deal with Alonso. Rossi added the team was only prepared to offer Alonso a one-pus-one-year contract due to his age. “He drives at an extremely high level,” said Rossi. “For me he is one of the best drivers of all time.

“But he is 41 years old. In two years he will be 43. You can’t plan that far ahead.”

Leclerc “missing something” – Todt

Former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt says the team’s top driver in the championship, Charles Leclerc, is “missing something” in his pursuit of the title. “I hope he has it soon,” Todt added in an interview for La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Asked whether it was the car, Todt restated: “Something is missing.”

Motorsport UK bans Clerk of the Course for 10 years

Motorsport UK confirmed it has suspended the licences of a Clerk of the Course, Derek Stanley, and ordered no further licences should be issued to him for a 10-year period, following complaints over his behaviour towards female officials. The decision was taken following a meeting of the National Court last month.

The court found Stanley had sent several messages, including an ‘upskirting’ video, to a marshal who subsequently raised concerns over his behaviour. The court noted “it became apparent that this situation had arisen before” with other female officials and that he had “given an assurance that it would not happen again” as recently as August 2020.

The court stated “there is nothing to suggest that Stanley’s conduct involved anything other than oral comments and messages,” but added “Motorsport UK has a duty to protect and safeguard all those persons attending an event. Stanley’s behaviour is considered to be unacceptable for a Motorsport UK official.”

“A Clerk of the Course is very much the face and representative of Motorsport UK at any event at which he or she officiates,” it added. “For a male official to behave in such a way as to make female officials with whom he is working at an event feel uncomfortable in his presence is utterly unacceptable. To continue such unwanted attention by sending messages of dubious content is equally reprehensible.”

The court’s full decision can be read in the current edition of Motorsport UK’s Revolution magazine.

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Comment of the day

Has the season so far shown F1 doesn’t need DRS any more? @Ajayrious offers an opinion:

There has long been an obsession both from fans and those inside F1 about the frequency of overtakes. But I feel the quality of overtaking is more important. Too often now a car just breezes by another, the other car barely defending because they know there is no point. (Norris is particular example of this, any time one of the top three teams comes behind him, he basically just waves them through)

I would much rather have less overtakes if it meant that those memorable battles between Leclerc and Verstappen earlier in the season lasted longer than a lap or two. If it wasnt just a foregone conclusion that the car behind would just breeze by on the next DRS zone.

If DRS is to stay then it needs to be open to all to use with skill, both in offence and defence, instead of just a free overtake button.

Join in the poll and debate here:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to David!

On this day in motorsport

While Nigel Mansell won in Portugal, Riccardo Patrese suffered a huge crash in the other Williams today in 1992
  • 30 years ago today Nigel Mansell scored the final victory of his championship-winning season in the Williams-Renault FW14B at Estoril, while team mate Ricciardo Patrese was fortunate to escape injury in a huge aerial crash

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...

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47 comments on “Ferrari engine’s driveability is biggest difference to Mercedes – Bottas”

  1. If the hand is feeding you rubbish, then isn’t it worth being chopped off?

    He says it himself, only willing to appoint Piastri after the Alonso deal fell through, otherwise? They had nothing…

    1. Not to mention that they hadn’t even bothered to put him in the car for FP1 in 1/2 of the season. If they though he was such a talent you’d think they would have been very keen to send him out in FP1 early this season.

      The fact that they didn’t suggests that they were only “sort of” interested, really only wanted Alonso and pretty much ignored him until Alonso bailed.

      1. @dbradock Alpine had a programme that involved Piastri being given multiple private tests in advance of his FP1 debut – he tested for them for 2 days in Austin in April, had another 2 day private test session in Losail in May and took part in another private test in July in Austria, with the plan being that he would then have his FP1 debut in the Belgian GP, before taking part in a “young driver” test for Alpine at the Hungaroring in late September.
        As testing programmes go, it’s quite a bit more extensive than some other teams – including, as it happens, the team he has moved to (even though it is meant to be mandatory, McLaren still haven’t committed to a “young driver” test for a driver this season).

        To some extent, why would Alpine need to rush to give Piastri an FP1 session when they had the option of evaluating Piastri’s performance over multiple days in private tests?

    2. The more apt analogy would be the hand that was promising to feed him but then did not feed him and just kept on promising that the food was coming at some point in the future.

      Then the neighbor saw this kid starving outside and offered him to come inside for a nice meal.

      And now the kid is demonized because he dared to not starve forever.

      1. Alpine’s biggest mistake in this whole situation was signing the most mediocre driver of all time in a long contract. Ocon was destroyed by Ricciardo, was outscored by an axing Alonso on his return, and looks to be significantly slower than him in 2022 as well. Ocon should have been the one in single year contracts, and the ideal situation for them in 2023 would be a highly experienced and capable World champion in one seat, and a really promising rookie talent in the other car. Instead they got stuck with Ocon in one seat and decided to offer Alonso a not so ideal situation.

        It’ almost like the hand fed the wrong mouths and then got bitten.

        1. @Todfod – they are not really stuck with Ocon. What they could’ve done is sack Ocon, sign Alonso and Piastri. And then start looking for a new driver who would come in two years time to replace Alonso. But then again, we’re talking about Alpine and Laurent.

        2. the most mediocre driver of all time

          You used to be more subtle @todfod.
          Ocon is far from the being the most mediocre driver of all time. Even if he were to be the slowest driver of the grid (which he is not), that’s still far from the most mediocre driver of all time.

          1. @x303

            I did mention the word mediocre for a reason. I didn’t say he’s the slowest or the fastest, or that any part of his racing is exciting. He’s not got phenomenal pace, outstanding consistency, mega racecraft or the ability to pull one out of the bag. He’s not a terrible driver, but there’s nothing about him that makes him stand out from any of his competitors. For me, he’ll probably finish every year’s ranking between #10 at best and #13 at worst. Which makes it the exact definition of ‘mediocre’ .

            There have been drivers like him in the past.. and I’ve never seen a team jumping the gun to secure a long contract with them.

        3. Most mediocre is an interesting turn of phrase.

          Does that mean that of every F1 driver past and present, he represents the exact average in skill?

    3. You read at the level of a 4yr old.
      There was a Williams deal in place, but your little primadonna thought himself too good for a Williams seat.
      False bravado since he achieved his F3 and F2 success with Alpine money and backing.
      He’s going to be out of F1 soon though. No designer can work around a head that big, nor a chip on a shoulder that size.

  2. Leclerc just doesn’t have it. Only way you can make up for it is with a fast car and Ferrari doesn’t have the management for that. Except for the Todt years, Ferrari have been in this situation for 45 years now.

    1. Maybe it is (just) because he is being measured against two exceptional drivers.

    2. I think if Charles would drive for Red Bull he would still remove his mistakes or make them less destructive and finish anyway. It’s not only the car it’s also making less errors then your opponents.

      1. One could argue that Leclerc is only making this many mistakes because he’s having to push so hard to make up for the mistakes that Ferrari is making.

        For example, Max is driving at 70% knowing that the car is good enough. Charles is having to drive at 110% to keep up, and inevitably crashes.

    3. Indeed. Ferrari has to produce a car which is 0.3s quicker than Red Bull for Leclerc to even have a chance of fighting against Max. Otherwise you have a situation like this year, with Ferrari being quicker by few tenths, but it’s still Max who’s absolutely dominating, because he’s the best driver in the history.

      1. because he’s the best driver in the history.

        In your opinion. This has only come about because ORBR now have no real competition.

        ORBR will dominate because teams are not able to do the development work with the cost cap.

        The engines are now frozen for performance upgrades so no improvement gains can be found there either.

        1. History will show I’m right, but it’s obvious already. Schumacher in his dominant 2002 and 2004 Ferrari had poor weekends, being beaten by Rubens and other competitors. Hamilton in his dominant 2014-2020 Mercedes had a lot of awful weekends, made absurd mistakes and lost to his team mates several times. Meanwhile Max these last 2 seasons, in cars that were at best equal to Mercedes/Ferrari (not even close to rocketships Schumacher and Hamildon had), finished 30 out of 38 races either 1st or 2nd, had reliability problems or accidents caused by Mercedes drivers in other 7 and only once, ONCE! was beaten by Perez in Monaco of all places, where you simply can’t overtake. That’s another level and why he’s the best driver in history.

          It’s not a Red Bull domination, it’s Max Verstappen domination. Max is only 25, so every possible record will be absolutely shattered by him. Liberty must be profusely sweating just thinking about what’s to come. I’m sure at some point they will have to somehow slow Red Bull down, so other drivers may have a chance to fight for something more than 1 or 2 wins in a season.

      2. This is just not true. Max is dominating because he has the best car. Did you not see the article yesterday about the upgrades to the Red Bull and how it’s weight was reduced. It’s a combination of this change and the well documented issues Ferrari have had which is now making Max appear so dominant.

        Ferrari probably did have the best car package at the start of 2022 but they a. squandered their advantage and b. Not upgraded their car to such good effect.

        I think Max and Charles are pretty evenly matched overall. Certainly pace-wise. Max is probably more reliable and makes less mistakes with or without pressure.

        Best driver of all time might be a bit of an exaggeration at this stage!

        1. Max is dominating because he has the best car.

          I have a question for you: can you tell me how many times Barrichello/Bottas finished right behind Schumacher/Hamilton on pure pace and now do the same for Perez last 2 years. Warning: the answer may shock you enough to rethink your opinion about Max having the best car.

          As for Leclerc being a match for Max… Well, how many times did he finish in either 1st or 2nd, which is what you should do as apparently equally good driver? 6 times, so what was Leclerc doing in remaining 8 races? Because if you can’t beat Max, as evenly matched driver you have to finish 2nd behind. Even Hamilton managed to do so 16 times last year.

          1. I remember bottas and barrichello ended up in front of their team mate more often than that, and as for leclerc, he had reliability issues and terrible strategy, apart from a couple of mistakes I can’t think of a race he wasn’t at least 2nd on pace.

      3. because he’s the best driver in the history.

        Why do people bother writing things like this?
        Let’s hope he can back up this claim by racing with Williams, Haas or Sauber in the near future.
        When he’s in an indisputably slow car and still winning, then maybe it’ll have some truth in it.

        1. Because it’s true and you will share the same opinion in few years, just wait. But meanwhile please don’t use this rhetoric. “Put Schumacher in a Minardi, we’ll see if he still wins!” was as silly as your wish of seeing Max in a midfield team. Guess what – he wouldn’t be able to win, unless he finds himself in a situation like Ocon or Gasly. Giving Max 2022 Mercedes though, I’m 100% he would already win a race or 2.

          1. And which 2 races would he of won?

          2. So it’s not the driver, it’s the car – is that what you are saying….?
            You’ll be waiting at least an eternity to hear me say that any driver is the best at anything.

            My wish of seeing the most highly lauded F1 drivers in slower cars is real, BTW. If they really are better than the others, then they should be proving it without a mechanical advantage.
            THAT would be worth watching – both on a sporting level and an entertainment one.

      4. @armchairexpert
        Max is currently operating at a highest level than the rest of the grid, no question about that. Though you have to remember that he is in the best all around team probably in the history of F1. RBR are on par with Mercedes in the hybrid era, the Ferrari of Todt/Brawn, the Mclaren and the Brabham of the 80s…

        The team has one of the best designers of all time, the best pit crew, the best engineers, the best strategists, the best team principle (alongside Toto) a capable second driver and a company like Honda with stratospheric resources that delivered a masterpiece of a PU. The sole purpose of the team is to serve Max Verstappen and let’s not forget how he reacts when things aren’t going his way. It’s easier to deliver in such an environment than for example the all around chaos Ferrari.

        Leclerc has demonstrated that he is the only driver that can give Verstappen a run for his money. I know it is a national sport for Max’s fan–boys to denigrate the opposition. Where was Verstappen in terms of challenging for the WDC before last year ? Do you think that he could have challenged for the WDC this year if he was driving for Ferrari ?

        I’m a huge Max fan btw :)

        1. Absolutely @tifoso1989. I think if Charles was in a RB and Max in a Ferrari it would probably be quite a lot close than it is but Charles would still be ahead. Basically because he is more or less on a par with Max given the right opportunity. I did actually say above that Max makes less mistakes than Charles.

          It’s also very simplistic to say that Charles should always finish second to Max. There are so many variables which might affect this.

          Maybe try thinking a little more objectively @armchairexpert. Not everything is black and white.

          1. @phil-f1-21
            The current Ferrari team is dysfunctional to say the least. The entire racing operations that include pitstops, strategy, reactivity to unpredictable issues, race weekend preparation… are chaotic. The team principle and the top management are biased towards Sainz who is not delivering and are against giving Leclerc a clear n°1 driver status. Sainz’s father is using his power inside the team to influence the engineers as he is omnipresent within the team.

            The comparison between Max and Charles is unfair because Max is having arguably the best team behind him while Charles is getting damaged by Ferrari unintentionally by their incompetence and sometimes intentionally by Binotto’s consistent refusal to ask Sainz to move out of the way when he was slowing him down. Remember in Silverstone and after getting damaged by the strategy, Leclerc was publicly reprimanded by Binotto after the race.

            We can have a hell of a fight and a clear picture between Max and Charles if the latter was driving a competitive Mercedes.

  3. Quite simply, Piastri’s choices were:

    – Williams for 2023 and 2024 then Alpine from 2025
    – McLaren from 2023

    If I was advising him, I would prefer he learnt his trade at a less high-pressure environment like Williams, but if he thinks he’s ready and is willing to back himself, then good on him. He and his management team aren’t daft, they know the McLaren is a peaky car and Norris is the team leader, but he is willing to potentially risk being number 2 at McLaren with a chance to prove himself than sit around fighting for 16th for 2 years. Alpine gave him the choice by not honouring their promises, and Piastri made the brave call and I respect that. If the carrot for 2025 was a drive for Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull, then it would be worth the wait. Alpine? Not so much.

    1. I actually agree with his choice, if he thinks to be the next verstappen etc. he’s not afraid of norris and he will get a competitive midfield car 2 years earlier, the wait could’ve been frustrating.

  4. I still cannot stand DRS and still feel that it’s hurt more races than its helped.

    However since it’s clear it’s here to stay they really should look at changing the way it’s used and just use it like a P2P system.

    Just give drivers a set number of uses over a race distance and let them use it wherever they want.

    It puts it more in the hands of the drivers, Creates an extra element of strategy and racecraft. Drivers would need to have to think about when/where to use it and how often. Plus it could help with the DRS trains if every driver in a train isn’t using it every lap.

    Right now with DRS there isn’t much driver input, We know when/where/how they will use it and since they can use it every lap when within 1 second there’s not really any strategy to it’s use. You get within 1 second,Get to the activation line and press the button knowing the car ahead won’t have it.

    I’d just prefer that P2P style dynamic where you can’t just use it every lap, Where you have to think more abhout when/where you use it and where it can be used to defend as well as attack.

    1. @stefmeister, I’d be okay with limiting DRS use in races the way you suggest, i.e., set amount of times for each driver, but wherever, no.
      DRS use indeed was unlimited in testing, FP, & QLF sessions in the system’s first two seasons but rightly got limited to activation zones at all times for 2013.
      Given the unnecessary danger element involved, going back on this move would only contradict the safety intention, & therefore, reallowing free use would be unworthy.

      1. Free use throughout a lap length except for Monaco’s Portier-chicane portion & Spa’s La Source-Eau Rouge straight.

    2. @stefmeister I very much agree that they should at least be experimenting with the way DRS is used. Whether it’s an Indycar style push to pass system, or disabling it entirely in certain races or points of the track that don’t need it (e.g. Kemmel straight), I don’t understand why they have never shown any appetite in trying to improve the DRS format. We see so many races where DRS trains form and become a stalemate, but I guess F1 management doesn’t care as long as the front runners are able to make their way past if they ever find themselves behind.

      I’m pretty sure experimenting with the DRS format would be a lot more popular with the fans than sprint races have been, so I don’t even think it would be a hard sell from that point of view. I think they are just so terrified of having one processional race where overtaking is difficult/impossible that they refuse to even consider it.

  5. Alpine just keep making things worse for themselves. Move on!

  6. A Deal before the July 4 Mclaren signing? I doubt.

    I like Zhou’s helmet design for the upcoming event.

    Regarding COTD, once again, easy-looking passes are & have mostly occurred only on Kemmel straight, so far from too often. Yet many people seemingly still mistake this aspect these days.
    Besides, being open to all would make the whole DRS existence pointless since the effect would be akin to not having it in the first place.

  7. Reading the full interview (and previous interviews of Szafnauer) it seems that Alpine is not learning from these episodes.
    They clearly made mistakes (big ones) in both the Alonso negotiations and the Piastri situation. But from the interview it seems they only blame others (mostly ‘lack of loyalty’), even though it’s crystal clear which mistakes they made.

  8. This should be a reply to Paulo above.

  9. “He chopped off the hand that fed him and played with us because some draft contracts weren’t submitted in time,” Rossi told Auto Motor und Sport.

    It’s this type of melodramatic behavior that is the keyproblem at Renault.
    You would see the same when Abiteboul was still running the team.
    Condescending, patronizing, and downright lies, and then they wonder why noone wants to work for or with Renault.

  10. @keithcollantine can we get the updated Predictions Championship standings?

  11. Alpine really have lost the plot… just let it go! The value of their F1 brand must have plummeted and they’re at the “bad press is better than no press” phase of their existence. Seems like a good time to sell up and there’s buyers with deep pockets lurking.

    Bet another year at AlphaTauri for Gasly is looking more and more appealing right now.

  12. The longer they rant about THEIR failure with Piastri (and Alonso) the less sympathy they get from me. Must be one of the biggest driver market c— ups of all time.

  13. The Piastri saga will be remembered for a long time as a demonstration of managerial incompetence and conceit. A case study in how to lose valuable human assets to competitors.

    Why Rossi has not been sacked is beyond comprehension.

  14. No Rossi, you didn’t have a deal in place, what you had was a proposal that you were leaving till the last minute until you decided what was best for Alpine. It’s not a surprise when a driver looked at his options and decided to take an offer that looked better for him. Also, investing a couple of years of sponsorship doesn’t entitle you to a drivers loyalty unless you’ve stipulated that as part of a prior agreement.

    The entire debacle is making them look more amateurish the more they keep whining about it. They had their chance to prove their case they were wronged to the contracts board and they had nothing. At some point I wonder if there is a case for Piastri to start legal proceedings for slander given the smear campaign they’ve run for months now against him due to their bitterness. Someone at Liberty needs to give Rossi a call and tell them to shut up.

  15. Jean Todt is still salty about Elkann rejecting his offer to return as a senior advisor. While I recognize that Todt could have helped a lot this year since Ferrari’ main issues are of managerial nature and the lack of leadership. The technical departments (chassis, aero, simulation, PU…) have delivered this year. Though Todt has been doing politics and pushing his own green agenda that nearly destroyed F1.

    In his presidency of the FIA he never gave Ferrari any favour so that people wouldn’t question his integrity. It’s the exact opposite, he was firm denying them any request whenever they lobbied. Now the team has sorted out his technical issues, he wants to return as senior advisor so Ferrari can give him even more visibility to push his political agenda as a UN ambassador.

    Another thing is which become really annoying lately that he and his entourage cannot stop reminding the entire world about the Halo after every incident and how he forced its introduction which was probably the only useful thing he has done in 12 years as a president of the sport. Max Mosley on the other hand introduced numerous safety improvements and doesn’t get the credit he deserves for obvious reasons…

  16. Design your own Aero for the current Formula 1. The Airshaper public design challenge is now online and available.

    I think I have my November free time figured out…

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