Grand prix

Power gap to F1 rivals “not so dramatic” after engine upgrade 

The Italian outfit has been working hard to improve its engine and claw back its deficit to the likes of Mercedes and Honda after being affected by a technical directive in 2019. 

Ferrari introduced a significant engine upgrade – featuring a revised hybrid system – on Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz’s cars at recent events in Russia and Turkey and has subsequently enjoyed a noticeable power boost.

It helped the team score a double points finish at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, with Leclerc finishing a strong fourth place, some 20 seconds clear of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo

“The power is always available through the straightline, so you get the benefit from it at the start of the straightline and as well at the end,” Binotto explained after the race in Austin

“I think the way we can quantify that, if we look at this weekend, we’re running maximum downforce, but we’re somehow almost matching the speed of the others.

“If you consider last year, it is certainly a really big step forwards. We still know that there is a gap to the best engine today, but we believe that gap is not so dramatic.”

Ferrari’s updated engine has helped it reduce the gap to McLaren in the battle over third place in the constructors’ championship to just 3.5 points and given the team renewed belief heading into the final five races of the season. 

“Generally speaking, in the overall balance of the lap we have been clearly faster this weekend,” Binotto said. 

“I think on the paper it was not a circuit which was suiting obviously our car. That’s why I’m pleased with the progress I’ve seen in the last races.

“Certainly the help of the power unit both for qualifying and the race, and that gives me some confidence for the next races.

“Mexico, normally you are running there maximum downforce, power unit track sensitivity is less important. 

“So now the power unit is [better] – we know there is still a gap to Mercedes – so overall I look forward to the Mexican track compared to what has been in Austin.”

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