The Mercedes opponents were happy too early… According to information from F1-Insider.com the ban of the party mode will be postponed until further notice. Actually the rule change was already planned for the next race in Spa. Now it is not supposed to take effect before the next race in Monza – and whether the FIA will implement the ban there is not sure either.
Actually, the intention was to ban different engine modes between qualifying and the race already at Spa – in order to be able to control the legal operation of the power units better.
But now this means: On the Ardennes rollercoaster Mercedes is allowed to continue driving with the engine settings in the qualifying for the Belgium GP on 29th August, which, according to measurements of the competition, releases a total of 1022 hp and gives the black arrows a time advantage of up to half a second.
Some rivals also have more horsepower in qualifying, but are nowhere near the Mercedes figures. Honda makes it to 995 hp, Renault to 985 and tail light Ferrari to 980 hp.
Red Bull-Honda had therefore been looking forward to the ban. Head of motorsport Helmut Marko said to F1-Insider.com: “That would be good for us, because then even the pole is possible for us.”
End of domination for Mercedes?
The reason, says the Graz native: “In Barcelona we lost at least half a second on Mercedes in qualifying due to the party mode, in Spa it would have been eight tenths. We’re improving in the chassis area every weekend, getting closer and closer to Mercedes. That’s why I believe that we’ll be on par with Mercedes in Belgium in qualifying as well.”
Marko continues: “This is very important for us because we haven’t given up our big goal yet: We still want to make Max Verstappen the youngest world champion of all time. We know what else is in the car. In 2012 we’ll be 60 points behind Alonso. …with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel.”
Why the party ban has now been moved is not clear. Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff had not publicly resisted the new rule. “If this ‘party mode’ takes a few laps away from us in qualifying, then we can go four or five times higher in the race with more power,” the Austrian warned his rivals.
He even understands the simplification, “so that it’s easier to control”. Wolff: “It’s a very complex method between the combustion engine and the entire energy recovery system, and with a single mode it will be easier for the FIA to really see if everything is in conformity.”
However, the Viennese also admits that Mercedes is supposed to be slowed down by this: “For years we have concentrated on making this specific aspect work, and now you come from the far left and say we don’t want this anymore. But the rule must first be precisely defined. In the end, I think it’s simply a new challenge for us.” But not yet in Spa…
Ralf Bach/Bianca Garloff
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