Formula 1


Ferrari have reacted to complaints about their battery energy release

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Following the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona two weeks ago, teams up and down the pit lane, well those not using Ferrari engines, alleged that Scuderia Ferrari were bending the rules. 

The nub of the allegation was that the Maranello-based team had developed a means by which they could deploy an enhanced energy output from the battery to boost power during qualifying.

The technical trickery effectively bypassed monitors that ensures teams can't use more than the permitted four megajoules of energy.

However, rival teams believed Ferrari had been able to use and additional 20 horsepower.

In qualification, that is the difference between first on the grid, or third. 

Tobi Gruner, who writes for German motorsport online publication German Motor und Sport, posted today: "Following allegations of illegal energy release from the battery, Ferrari is using a new software at Monaco that should make any misuse impossible. Protest by rival teams after the race unlikely."

His colleague in a piece this week suggested that the dispute is still rumbling along. The FIA revealed that Ferrari's energy management system was beyond all doubt. However, the Italian team had to submit new software mapping to FIA Technical Scrutineers, which appears to have subsequently ruled out any abuse of the rules.   

Unlike all other teams on the grid, Ferrari splits its energy storage system in half, which therefore creates two outputs. This is not a technical violation of FIA rules, as long as the Ferrari system does not exceed four megajoules per lap, and a maximum of 120 kilowatts of power is not fed back into the system.

Following the Grand Prix in Baku, Mercedes highlighted how, under certain circumstances, the sensors monitoring power harvest and output could be bypassed. Rival teams suggested that the 20hp power boost equated to three-tenths of a second per lap.

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Practice

While there have been legitimate doubts cast about the Ferrari system, after the wrangling and technical appeasement by the Italian team, it still remains unclear as to whether Ferrari's F1 battery was capable of delivering more than the allowed power output.

FIA technical experts are still yet to understand the data let alone conclude a definitive finding.

Perhaps taking the lead in this hazy environment, Ferrari moved to eliminate doubts by introducing new software thereby falling back into line with other teams on the grid. This move has more than likely removed any risk of a protest at Monaco, as the time to register a formal complaint has now passed.  

There are only two remaining ways in which a challenge to Ferrari may be made; either FIA President Jean Todt commissions the FIA International Court to investigate, or another team asks the president to do so.

Cynics may then suggest that Todt, a former Ferrari team principal, would be reluctant to tackle his former team, especially as they are already threatening (again) to withdraw from what they perceive to be a heavily regulated and restricted F1.

So, business as usual in F1.

Sebastian Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen
Formula 1

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