Ferrari's top speed reduction "clear" in Austin - Honda

Honda Formula 1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says it is "clear" Ferrari had a reduced speed advantage at the United States Grand Prix but is cautious of drawing premature conclusions.

Ferrari's top speed reduction "clear" in Austin - Honda

Ferrari was at a loss to explain its lack of race pace last weekend, but defended itself aggressively as some – including Red Bull driver Max Verstappen – suggested its reduced qualifying performance was a result of an FIA technical directive regarding fuel-flow legalities.

Charles Leclerc was running an older-spec, high-mileage Ferrari engine in qualifying and the race and team boss Mattia Binotto said a set-up experiment had also reduced its top speed.

Read Also:

Whatever the reason, Tanabe told Motorsport.com that the performance of the Ferrari on the straights was not as mighty compared to Red Bull-Honda as before.

"We cannot separate the chassis drag and the engine performance," said Tanabe. "When we look at only speed, the gap between Ferrari and ours is closer than in previous races.

"That's clear. [But] we don't know if that came from only the engine or the chassis. Their race pace was not as strong as previous races. It means the package was different or not sufficient for this track.

"I don't know. But we see the difference in top speed."

The controversy around the technical directive was a result of an enquiry from Red Bull to the FIA about fuel-flow sensor systems and possible ways of subverting the rules to get a power boost.

Red Bull had written to the FIA requesting clarification over fuel-flow meter signal filtering, and been told that three scenarios it had outlined would not be legal, which meant all teams were notified in the form of a technical directive.

The likes of Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton linked to Ferrari's drop in performance to the FIA's response, but Tanabe warned against drawing conclusions from one isolated race.

"We need to have data from Brazil and Abu Dhabi," said Tanabe. "Then we will find out something. Otherwise we cannot tell only from this race."

Read Also:

Verstappen qualified third at the Circuit of the Americas and finished there after a late yellow flag stopped him attacking the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

It completed a strong North American double-header for Red Bull and Honda, as Verstappen had qualified fastest in Mexico but had his race ruined by an early incident with Hamilton and then a puncture.

Tanabe was surprised by the extent of the Red Bull-Honda's performance in Mexico, and admitted in the US that "again, I didn't expect such a [close] qualifying time and Max on the second row".

"The gap between the top runners got closer before the summer break and then Ferrari improved a lot after the summer," said Tanabe.

"Now, it's getting closer, all three teams. But I don't know about the rest of the season.

"Brazil, and Abu Dhabi, we will see the performance of the package and our competitiveness against Mercedes and Ferrari."

shares
comments
Explained: Why Verstappen accused Ferrari team of “cheating”

Previous article

Explained: Why Verstappen accused Ferrari team of “cheating”

Next article

How "demons" showcased Hamilton's humanity in F1 2019

How "demons" showcased Hamilton's humanity in F1 2019
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Prime

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021