Ever since the dawn of the ERS hybrid ‘Power Unit’ era starting in 2014, F1 fans have been used to hearing how Mercedes power is by far the best, eclipsing Ferrari, Renault and most certainly Honda.
But now, could 2018 finally see the tables turning, with Ferrari producing more horses than everyone else?
Well it very much seems to be the case, perhaps Silverstone being a tipping point of the team from Italy in terms of engine power, nosing ahead of Mercedes.
Ferrari hinted at it’s improved second spec power unit on Friday, usually being very conservative and not wishing to reveal it’s true pace in practice, instead we saw Ferrari turn up their power early in a bid to understand the car in the unusually hot temperatures in England.
The evidence of last weekend suggests that Ferrari is now running its spec 2 engine much more aggressively than when it was introduced earlier in the season.
In qualifying there was little to chose between Mercedes and Ferrari, and what further proof of the engine power available than seeing Sauber moving up the midfield at the rate they are.
During the race itself, and to the delight of F1 fans, we saw both Mercedes and Ferrari battling it out for the top positions with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo just holding onto group.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner couldn’t help but have moan lamenting his poorly performing Renault PU compared to the ‘insane’ Ferrari power advantage.
“We were just hugely exposed [on Sunday], in both defence and attack,” said Horner.
“You could see at the restart with Kimi: it was a bit like Mexico 2015 the amount of additional power,” Horner said. “We ran our qualifying mode at the restart versus Kimi’s and you can see the difference.
“You could see how hard Max was having to work to keep Kimi behind him, their overspeed at the restart was insane,” he said. “And at the second restart he had a moment at Stowe yet was still all over Max into turns 2 and 3.”
Verstappen concurred with the party line, saying:
“If you’re missing 70 to 80 horsepower you know you’re going to struggle,” Verstappen said. “On the straight it looked like we were in a different series.”
“I don’t know exactly the amount but if you lose more than a second on the straight then you know it’s a lot.”
How are Ferrari extracting so much more power?
2016 world champion Nico Rosberg believes that Ferrari now has the upper hand on engine power in 2018.
“I know from an insider source why Ferrari is so strong,” Rosberg told Germany’s Bild newspaper this week.
“They have found more power from their engine. The turbo has been upgraded and more recharging is happening for additional power,”
“It’s a small advantage at this time but Ferrari has done a good job.”
Today on Rosberg’s Youtube ‘Vlog’, the former Mercedes champion elaborates explaining:
“Ferrari found some extra horsepower from the engine in the turbo, so just before you get into the engine, that’s where a lot of electricity being re-charged in that space with the turbo-charge and it’s really for free…”
It must also be mentioned that Nico Rosberg has an angle on ‘free energy’ when it comes to electric vehicles. The German promotes Tesla and openly admits that electric vehicles is a passion for him, and the future for humanity.
It’s very likely that this content from Rosberg doesn’t come free for Tesla.