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F1 | Wolff: "Ferrari engine had 68 hp advantage on Mercedes in 2019"

Boss of Mercedes F1 Team Toto Wolff has revealed that in 2019, Ferrari had “68 hp” advantage over Mercedes during some races of the season. 

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F1 | Wolff: "Ferrari engine had 68 hp advantage on Mercedes in 2019"
Fuente imagen: f1.com

Mercedes has been dominating the F1 scene over the span of the past couple of seasons. They definitely had a strong start during 2019, but arguably it was Ferrari who took over the “strongest car” title after the summer break of that season. Although Ferrari won on the high-power tracks such as Spa and Monza, soon after the performance has vanished, after the FIA has released technical directives relating to engine performance. Till this day the actual details of the private settlement regarding the engine between Ferrari and FIA have not been revealed, which caused a lot of controversies and public criticism from other teams. 

Recently, Toto Wolff spoke out about the visible performance difference between the 2019 Mercedes and Ferrari engines, which he described as “eye opening”. 

As he said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport: “I do not know where the others see their weaknesses or their strengths. I can only judge us. We were so challenged by Ferrari on the engine side last year that we went in new directions to find performance. The cooperation between Brixworth and Brackley was also very strong. The two departments really pulled together and clearly weighted Aero against Power. On the other hand, the ratio of downforce to air resistance is properly balanced in the current car. We have a lot of grip in almost all corners, but we still see smaller weak spots in slow corners.”

He added: “In some races last year, we saw more than 50 kilowatts of power difference (68 hp). For us, the task arose: How much power can we actually extract? And you can only find them in the internal combustion engine. All other areas are limited. We turned over every stone we could find. Not a few horsepower, but more.”

Wolff also spoke out about the Racing Point controversy. The RP20 is very similar to the last years W10 of Mercedes, to the point where people simply call it a “pink Mercedes”. Although Racing Point were able so far to plead their “innocence”, they are constantly being protested by teams such as Renault over the legality of their car. Currently FIA is looking into the brake ducts, which Renault believes RP received designs from Mercedes and copied them, which is forbidden. 

As Wolff said about the entire situation: “This is ingenious reverse engineering, I would say. You have to find a good balance here. On the one hand, you have to allow the small teams to be competitive. We do this by providing Racing Point with a wind tunnel and hardware such as the engine, gearbox and suspensions. On the other hand, we must respect the fact that not all the big teams have or can have such cooperation. For us, this is a real business model. We make good money with Racing Point. So this is a win-win situation.”

He added: “But there are also teams like Renault or McLaren that do not or do not yet have such an alliance. This gives them the impression that they might fall behind because Racing Point has taken this unconventional way of copying another car. Instead of the engineers wanting to reinvent the car themselves, they recreated a Mercedes. This is the problem of many small teams, including those who have access to larger teams. They always want to do everything themselves.”

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