Chiefs from both Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari’s Formula One operations have strongly denied any conflict or friction over the FIA’s technical directive which reduced the level of oil burn permitted in power units and come into force at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The FIA clarified at the end of last month that any engine upgrades introduced between Monza and the end of the 2017 Formula One championship would have to adhere to a new oil consumption limit of 0.9L/100km, reduced from 1.2L/100km.
Mercedes appeared to have got a jump on the Maranello team by introducing its final major power unit update of the season at the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix, meaning it could race under the old allowance until the end of the season. Reports in the Italian press suggested that in this way Mercedes had broken a gentleman’s agreement with Scuderia Ferrari not to introduce any updates until the new limit came into force, but both teams denied there is any friction or significant advantage to be gained.
“We have no conflict. I do not want to comment on this kind of thing.” – Scuderia Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene explained, as reported by nbcsports.com – “Mercedes introduced one engine early. That also has disadvantages during the course of the season, because you have no more development. This is the end of my comment.”
“I think it was completely blown out of proportion.” – Mercedes Formula One boss Toto Wolff added – “Exactly what Maurizio said, the reasons we have introduced it early was in order to bring some performance to the track, with the risk of having to do many races until the end of the season – more races than our direct competitors, number one. Number two, you lack for further development. The longer you wait for the last introduction of engine, the more you can probably add the upgrade. So these are the reasons we brought it and not in order to extract a performance advantage out of the capability of burning more oil. If you ask the FIA you will be quite interested to see what the results are, and they are pretty much all the same. I don’t know where that rumor came, and it was nothing that was ever a problem or discussion among us.” – the executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team concluded.