Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test

Reports Ferrari engine has gained 30bhp are a “joke” – Vasseur

2023 F1 season

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New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has rubbished claims the team has gained 30bhp from its power unit during the off-season.

A development freeze was introduced for F1 power units at the beginning of last seasons. Teams are only allowed to make changes to their engines and hybrid systems in order to address reliability problems.

Ferrari encountered some reliability problems during the 2022 season. Vasseur’s predecessor Mattia Binotto confirmed at the end of last year the team “had to slightly lower the power” as a result.

Italian media reports two weeks ago claimed Ferrari’s reliability fixes will allow them to extract up to 30bhp more from their 066/7 engine. However Vasseur dismissed those claims.

“Regarding the engine, the numbers, I don’t know where the numbers are coming from, but it’s just a joke that we made some step,” said Vasseur. “It’s just about reliability.”

Ferrari lost potential wins due to power unit failures in the Spanish and Azerbaijan grands prix.

“I think the performance last year of the engine was not an issue at all,” Vasseur continued. “The issue was the reliability and the first target is to fix it.

“So far it looks okay but the reality of the track is a different aspect. I think that a couple of issues that the team suffered, and it’s not just true for Ferrari, but in terms of reliability are also coming from the track operation, bouncing and vibration. And I believe we’ll have a much better picture in Bahrain in a bit more than two weeks’ time.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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14 comments on “Reports Ferrari engine has gained 30bhp are a “joke” – Vasseur”

  1. Well if the reliability is fixed, they won’t have to turn down the engine.
    Is this not a performance gain (on the turned down engine)?

    1. @dmeehan Relative to turned down, yes, but only this rather than an actual gain via development.

      1. Depends on your definition of reliable power really. An extreme example would be the 80s grenade qualy engines (I believe Renault were big on these) whose job it was to reliably last roughly 5-10km at full chat before either going pop or making it back to the pits at walking pace.
        You do make a good point, but in this instance I should think the changes will probably be rather tiny in the big scheme of things, more a matter of getting the engine to its notional “real power” day in day out than looking for a large step.
        That said any time this situation crops up like it did a few years back with the token regs I think it would be laughable for any engine maker to claim that at no point did they look to make some sort of power gain, infinitesimal or otherwise.

        Semi unrelated: is there any somewhat trustworthy source that keeps track of PU output over the years? I understand it’s quite taboo info (for anyone interested, just look up the massive mess that was Prost GP with the Peugeot engine and the fallout from that legal issue) but I do recall articles about the Merc pu allegedly making ~1000hp in 2015 or so..

      2. If the couldn’t potentially use the engine at it’s full power due to reliability problems, but those problems are now fixed and they can, surely that’s an increase to the power of the engine?

        It’s relatively simple to extract more power from a turbo charged engine (fuel flow limits aside). When I had my 2l TDI, a bit of playing with remapping software could have got me well over double the power on the Dyno. It would have blown up after very little use, and the damage caused by that Dyno run would have significantly reduced the life of the engine, but it could be done. Should I say my engine puts out that much power, when I chose not to destroy the engine by making it that high?

  2. He can play the media game or he is honest.

  3. “It’s just a joke that we made some step” #NoContext :D

    1. In reality Ferrari would be focused on fixing the reliability issues that plagued them in 2022.. no doubt they would be hoping that improved reliability means they can run their engines at full beans, and not have to protect the engines. That would give them a performance boost, he just can’t say it.

      1. In reality, reliability want the biggest problem they had last year. If their cars were bullet proof, they’d still have thrown out all away with terrible strategy calls. If they don’t fix that, they are not going to win even if they have the fastest and most reliable car on the grid.

  4. Engine freeze rules are stupid, they were done to protect Red Bull, clearly they’re no longer needed now that Honda are staying so they should be removed.

    1. couple of years back you had the token system, so according to you that was to protect Mercedes?

      1. That was to limit spending on development by forcing changes to the engines in steps rather than a continual innovation throughout the year. That wasn’t an engine freeze at all and no PU manufacturer had any ability to lock in any advantage over that period so no it didn’t protect Mercedes.

        This engine freeze was brought in under false pretenses that Honda would be leaving the sport and hence Red Bull would not be able to develop their engine until the new engine regulations kicked in. Honda are now not leaving the sport and there was no need to freeze the engines after all.

        If it turns our Mercedes/Ferrari run their engines at a higher power output this year and have the most powerful engine then would you be happy if they were untouchable for 2 more years due to a freeze that is not required?

  5. Completely agreed. In fact, those of a suspicious mind might question whether Honda’s decision to leave was genuine or post of a tactic to bring in such a freeze…

    1. Intended as a reply to @slowmo above

    2. @drmouse It is indeed all a very suspicious set of circumstances and had it been any other engine manufacturer but Honda I would have probably thought it likely. The only reason I think it is less likely with Honda is that they really do seem to be that clueless in terms of managing their place in F1.

      They seemed happy to leave, up until they won a WDC and realised the loss they would suffer from not being associated with that success. As such I can understand why they did a uturn and came back despite it looking silly on their part.

      I think it’s just unlikely that Red Bull had the ability to strategise that position from Honda although I do absolutely believe they probably knew about the uturn earlier than most of us and pushed the freeze knowing full well that might even get Honda onboard to stay. Regardless of that though, the engine freeze rules stink as they were put in place to benefit 2 teams directly imo.

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