There is an argument brewing in the paddock among the three engine suppliers as the safety of Ferrari’s turbo cover is called into question.
Though this spat is not new, when the issue was initially brought up in front of the FIA, the governing body said it was satisfied with the Ferrari solution.
Mercedes and Renault are not backing down, however, and could threaten to protest the results at the opening race in Australia.
The area of conflict is around the protective covering the Italian marque has around it’s turbo unit, this weighs in at 3kg lighter than those on the Mercedes and Renault unit, as a result they argue the engine would not be safe in the case of a turbo explosion.
It is understood Ferrari have incorporated a fail-safe measure that cuts off the turbo at the first hint of any problem which therefore allows the builders to add a lighter cover.
“Mercedes and Renault are not satisfied that the FIA is satisfied,” said Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt.
“Either Ferrari builds a stronger cover, or there could be a protest (against the results) in Melbourne,” he added.
Another option could be that the other two suppliers incorporate a similar system into their V6 units however with only a week until the homologation deadline set by the FIA there would be not be sufficient time.
“In the paddock it is now rumoured that Ferrari is strengthening the turbo housing to be on the safe side,” Schmidt said.
Certainly the issue of turbo safety was and remains one of the big topics among engineers and technical experts alike because of the huge danger associated with a potential turbo failure, however, as we learn more about the new Ferrari engine and some of the clever features it has, it seems the other suppliers could have been caught out.
While saying it could be a case of sour grapes could be taking it too far given the severity of what could happen if Mercedes and Renault are right, it certainly appears the return to mechanical engine development has played back into Ferrari’s hands.
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