The FIA has rubbished suggestions that Scuderia Ferrari’s recent loss of form against Formula 1 rival Mercedes has anything to do with its monitoring of the Italian team’s power unit. Ferrari’s unique double-battery arrangement was the subject of intrigue at the start of the season, as the FIA was prompted by Mercedes to check that its energy recovery system was not illegal.
The FIA duly added two sensors to the Ferraris to carefully monitor its energy usage, and was satisfied that the Italian outfit was fully compliant with regulations. Ferrari’s recent poor form compared to Mercedes – which has included it appearing to lose its speed advantage in the early phase of straights – has been linked by some to the FIA sensors on the car.
Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting insisted, however, that what has happened at Ferrari has not been affected by anything the governing body has done. Asked by Autosport about the situation, Whiting said: “I am not quite sure why that has happened, this drop in form: “There was some speculation that it is due to this magic sensor that we made them put on. I am not going to go any further than that, but I will say that from an engine performance perspective we don’t agree with what has been suggested. There is no link at all.” – he explained.
Scuderia Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said one of his biggest concerns was that the FIA’s investigations had prompted leaks of privileged information about his team’s system. He said any further release of Ferrari technical matters would, in the future, be treated as a “serious matter”.
Maurizio Arrivabene and Charlie Whiting met on Saturday at Suzuka to discuss the situation, and Whiting said it would be unfair if the FIA explained any further details about what has happened: “We spoke [on Saturday] morning, and it is clear now,” said Charlie Whiting – “I don’t think I should tell you what we discussed, but it is all clear on both sides.”
Pushed on whether he could clarify when the second sensor was added to the Ferraris, Charlie Whiting said: “No. If I do that, unfortunately I will be telling you all about Ferrari’s car and hence I will be telling all the other teams about Ferrari’s car, and that is not something I can do.” – he concluded.