Lewis Hamilton Suspects, "Ferrari Has Caught Up With The Engine"

 Ferrari presents itself strongly for the second weekend in a row - Lewis Hamilton suspects significant improvements to the engine

Lewis Hamilton

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc celebrated their second pole position in a row at the Formula 1 weekend in Baku. As in Monaco, Scuderia benefited from an accident in Q3 - in Monaco, it was Leclerc himself - but the upward trend in the jumping horse from Italy is unmistakable.

Lewis Hamilton is delighted that, alongside Mercedes and Red Bull, a third team can now fight for the top spots, but is puzzling over how Ferrari managed to do that. "They made a fantastic step. I don't fully understand. I think they always had a very good car, but they were behind in terms of performance," he says.

For him, the solution can only lie in one aspect: "I assume you have made a really good step with the engine because you are now at eye level with everyone else." But how big is the share of the power unit in the upswing of the Ferraris?

Ferrari had no chance in 2020

Last year, Ferrari was hopelessly inferior on the drive side. How exactly this was related to the FIA's specifications was never officially communicated. However, it is more than just a rumor that Ferrari was not fully available as a kind of sanction after the FIA ​​had investigated the legality of the power unit the year before.

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This was followed by a message at the beginning of 2020 that an agreement had been reached with Ferrari. This indirectly admitted that the 2019 Ferrari engine did not fully comply with the regulations. Such assumptions were already made in the course of the 2019 season when the engine lost power according to some technical guidelines. The lack of transparency, in this case, resulted in sharp criticism from the other teams.

This season, Ferrari is again significantly more competitive on the drive side, but it is not exactly clear whether this is due to actual developments or simply the end of the rumored FIA sanctions. However, Ferrari itself does not believe that it is already fully competitive with the engine.

Sainz: Can make up for the disadvantage on the straight

Carlos Sainz, for example, attributes the strong performance in Monaco and Baku to the track characteristics. "We generate a lot of grip in the slow corners, mechanical and aerodynamic," says the Spaniard. That was a huge advantage in Monaco, and almost all corners in Baku are also rather slow.

Since the car generates a lot of grip in terms of its characteristics, Ferrari can compensate for the disadvantage on the two-kilometer straight in Baku by making set-up adjustments.

"That allows us to drive fewer rear wings to compensate for the straights, but still be strong in the slow corners," he says. Ferrari still has weaknesses in medium-fast and fast corners, but there are neither in Monaco nor in Baku. It was not expected that Ferrari would be so competitive in Baku.

Experts suspect a deficit of 15 to 20 hp

Another indication that Ferrari is not quite at eye level with the competition when it comes to the engine is provided by the statements of Mick Schumacher, whose Haas is also powered by a Ferrari unit.

"I do believe that we still have a deficit on the straights, the straights are particularly long here, so we lose twice here," said the 22-year-old after qualifying. With the inferior Haas, however, every available downforce is required, which is noticeable on the straights.

Experts recently suspected that Ferrari still lacked between 15 and 20 hp in the combustion engine, but the electric motor should already be the most powerful in the field. Team boss Mattia Binotto said that by 2022 at the latest, when the engine regulations are frozen, he expects all manufacturers to be more or less at the same level.

(Image Source - Google l Image by - Formula1.com)

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