Ferrari is understood to have made a 10bhp gain with its 2018 Formula 1 engine, despite the increased reliability demands needed for this season.
With drivers limited to just three power units for the 21-race campaign, manufacturers have had to work hard on improving durability and beefing up components to ensure they can last seven full grands prix.
Ferrari had set an original minimum target of matching its 2017 power for the start of this season, but insiders have suggested that it managed to eke out some actual gains for its Melbourne specification 062EVO.
Under the guidance of engine technical chief Corrado Iotti, a specific effort was made to lift performance at slow and medium speeds, where there was greater potential for laptime benefit.
A number of changes have been made, starting with the turbocharger system that is now lighter. It is said to deliver a greater boost with a shorter response time and with a more efficient way of charging the MGU-H.
With the reduction in engine usage this year, another focus has been on ensuring that the second specification power unit delivers a decent performance step, and can properly allow the team to take the fight to Mercedes.
Ferrari is eager to see how the current power unit stacks up against the new Mercedes specification, especially in terms of qualifying modes that decide the grid.
One issue of concern to the team, however, is the fact that the increased weight of 2018 cars, allied to more full-throttle time over a race lap this year, will lead to an increase in fuel consumption – something that could hold it back at tracks like Melbourne.
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