Ferrari under suspicion

There is speculation of legality in the paddock, that now Ferrari is back at the top of Formula 1 after many years of failure, the competition is suspicious.

Ferrari is resurrected and the prancing horse is galloping again in Formula 1 with Charles Leclerc leading the world championship after two races ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz. A victory and a second place for the Monegasque underline the renaissance of the red team.

But whenever a team suddenly pulls ahead, doubts arise. Especially among the competition. Currently many are suspicious of the heavily revised and now unhandicapped hybrid power unit in the F1-75.

“I don’t know what kind of engine the Haas have, but I can’t follow them,” former world champion Lewis Hamilton radioed at the Saudi Arabian GP, when he had no chance against the Ferrari powered Kevin Magnussen in ninth place.


Such conspiracy theories usually arise when a team has made a decisive improvement on the previous year. With Ferrari, that is clearly the case.

“Ferrari has by far the best engine now,” Christian Danner told AvD Motor & Sport magazine on SPORT1.

“It was there before, but it was not completely ‘clean’ at that time with Sebastian Vettel. After the change, he was really bad. Now it is suspiciously good again. That’s why there’s speculation in the paddock about how it works.”


After Ferrari pulled away from everyone on the straights in the first half of 2019, the competition suspected that illegal trickery was at work. The FIA’s regulators added various guidelines on the operation of the power unit. Suddenly the advantage disappeared. During the winter break, the FIA launched an investigation. The result was a secret deal between Ferrari and the then FIA president Jean Todt.

In 2020, Vettel and Leclerc had a big handicap in the back of the car, for what many in the paddock felt being Ferrari had exploited more than just a grey area for some years prior. But it is precisely this incident that could now play into the Scuderia’s cards. Because the penalty at the time also included Ferrari’s commitment to support the FIA in research on biofuel.

“The FIA and Ferrari have agreed a number of technical commitments,” the press release said at the time, “to improve the monitoring of all Formula One power units for the forthcoming championship season and to assist the FIA in other regulatory tasks in Formula One and in its research activities on CO2 emissions and synthetic fuels.”


For 2022, the world governing body has increased the proportion of sustainable components in fuel from five to ten per cent. All engine manufacturers had to adapt the combustion chambers of their 1.6-litre V6 turbos to achieve this. Insiders claim that this costs around 20 hp, which Ferrari is said to have made up for long ago.

Ex-Formula 1 team boss Colin Kolles told AvD Motor und Sport Magazin and certainly had an opinion on this saying: “In retrospect, maybe the penalty was no longer a penalty at all. Maybe Ferrari even benefited unintentionally from the joint research with the FIA?”

One thing is certain, Mercedes suffered more from the fuel changeover than Ferrari or Red Bull-Honda. Kolles reveals: “I heard that the engine in Saudi Arabia was 0.5 seconds per lap down.


Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko doesn’t quite believe that: “It’s not that much, but a deficit is definitely there with the engine.”

But are Ferrari and also Red Bull really that good or is Mercedes unusually bad? Experts speculate that the Silver Arrows are missing ex-engine boss Andy Cowell, among others.

The father of the hybrid monster left the Mercedes engine factory in Brixworth in mid-2020. Other top technicians have left for Red Bull in 2021, including Ben Hodgkinson, who worked at Mercedes as head of engine mechanics.


Mercedes team boss Wolff, however, does not want to put the powertrain at the centre of criticism.

“It’s important not to point fingers at individual areas of the car now. We operate as a team and we have deficits that are much bigger than just an engine deficit.”

This could still become a big problem for the former perennial winners as the power units were frozen before the start of the season until the end of 2025 for cost reasons. This means that further developments for performance purposes are unavailable. 



15 responses to “Ferrari under suspicion

  1. I must admit, since the start of winter testing I’ve actually wondered when would the competition come out and call Ferrari cheaters.

    It goes without saying that those ‘cheating wops’ must be up to something. I mean Italians are completely stupid aren’t they, they get too emotional and are the laziest breed in Motorsport, so surely they must be cheating.

    Only the good engineers in Britain and Japan have the ability to build quality F1 clobber.. and if those neanderthal’s from the US of A who can only build sports cars that move in a straight line, or race cars that can only turn left Can build a car faster than the Merc, obviously the cheating eyeties are to blame…

    And don’t get me started on Alfa Romeo.

    And yet, all the feeder series to F1 are dominated by Dallara design, where’s Reynard and Ralt? Or the Outfits that dominate F2, Italian isn’t it? I guess that MotoGP teams run by the likes of Brivio and Suppo or the Ducati team With Italian engineers

    I’m Italian, so sue me for my reasoning but since 2014, an Italian engineer has designed better cars than the fabled Newey. Anyone ever heard of Aldo Costa??

    No, no, NOOOOO say the xenophobes, Mercedes only dominated because of the British engineer, Andy Cowell, who built the engine. What you forget is, that engine wasn’t proving that dominant in the customer cars was it?

    It goes back centuries, Newton had an aha moment when an apple fell on his British nugget, Da Vinci had aha moments every time he put pen to paper, and I’ve not even mentioned the Romans..

    Isn’t it about time that credit to other cultures was given, not accusations made…

    • I appreciate you being proud on your country. Thats a good thing. But …speculating about good performance of a competitor is just human. Would be the same as it was any other brand. Also take into account the fact that Ferrari díd indeed something shadey engine-stuff in 2020 and it’s not weird that people get suspicious. Stop making it a cultural / xenophobe thing.

      Oh, and another thing… Dont drag results from the past to the future as proof how good something is, The past is the past. People change. Being great 2000 years ago sais nothing about performance today.

      • Not to sure about the being proud of any country is such a good thing, cemeteries are full of young proud people. On the other hand I don’t think that Ferrari did anything wrong if as rumoured they found a work around the fuel metering. Last year the Merc was visible changing rake during the races and nobody called foul on the aero/ suspension combination that evidently was equivalent to variable aerodynamics. If they banned the Renault’s más damper that was part as of the suspension, as a “variable aerodynamic apendidge” when it wasn’t even in contact with the airflow and it’s function was purely to damp the bouncing and keep the car more stable. I don’t see how Mercedes got away with a rear suspension that flexed to gain an aerodynamic advantage. That said, form his years back in his rally / dakar days we know that Todd his slimey piece of @#€* so you never know what’s really going on. Todd has a strange wading through the gutters and coming out smelling of roses. I’m quoting a world rally champion co pilote from the 90s.

    • Carlo you are bang on, a big part of the problem could be too many sore losers who cannot bear the thoughts of anyone improving for the better.

    • What make,s me laugh no body bothers to scrutinise rebull they have been doing dodgy stuff for years they get away with it by getting people to scrutinise other teams so what if ferrari have a good car makes a change to see a different car in front !!!


  2. Ferrari and Shell have the drive and the knowledge to work with synthetic fuel. And the research that comes from the roadcars they can easy take into F1 and improve. Compare this with Daimler who aims to be only producing electric cars by 2030, and you know why the Mercedes engine has lost power this year.

  3. Hear me out here. Maybe, just maybe Ferrari with shell have a better handle on E10 over the rest of the field and coupled with a 2022 chassis in development much earlier than red bull or mercedes means they set themselves up to be higher up at the start of the season. The notion of Ferrari competing for wins means they’re cheating with engines is tiresome because it never has any technical information to back up accusations but I saw reports way back in September 2021 that Ferrari had gained with general development of the ICE and she’ll had managed to minimise losses from E10. Maybe all the mercedes fanboys throwing accusations should be looking at mercedes hpp and Petronas to understand why they have lost power and brackley to why their car is overweight and poorly balanced. Get your own house in order before you start throwing stones at others

  4. Every time Ferrari does well and is fast Mercedes and Hamilton always whine. He is getting smoked. He is only fast when he has fastest car. He doesn’t now. Maybe he should leave the sport. Its great to see bottas smoke him
    I know Ferrari works hard. To always say that they cheat is just pathetic losers..Go Ferrari.

  5. Sure cheaters….like the Brits at the 4×100 relay at the Olympics .. isn’t?

  6. Mercedes was strong because engineers like Aldo Costa, James Allison and others join this team and they there was a good job. But at Ferrari join Rory Byrne, the best all time, they have the tunnel and simulation, working hard 24/7 and here are the results. Maybe FIA should start an investigation to see if something is wrong there. But this had to be in the preseason. Why novebody saiz Red Bull is cheating, they have a big gap in front of Mercedes? Only Ferrari is cheating…

  7. Again everything is starts from a British driver just because he is not at the front. Why there was no talking about Merc engine when the hybrid era started. They start building they car before anyone like now Ferrari. Benefit is obvious in both situation. But is a bit hars to say they cheating just because a British driver who has got slow car is complaining.

  8. What utter BOLLOCKS U AND HAMMY COME WITH Ferrari spent the last 3 years developing the car as the rules were originally meant to be implemented LAST YEAR but due to covid that didn’t happen and whilst hammy yhe cry baby bitch and rebbull were competing for a championship ferrari were developing cars. Stop spouting false shite because ur illegitimate lovechild is being fucked over. Hammy fucked up as Russell was able to pass the haas without any issues. Perhaps u should look atthe fact he’s a mediocre driver and has been shown up by his junior team mate as being.fuxking useless hahahahaha

  9. The obvious answer is Mercedes were in a title battle, produced an engine that was suddenly up to 30km/h faster on the straight in Brazil WITHOUT DRS that nobody questioned for the final few races, going all in for a desperate attempt to win both championships, and used all their engine tokens.

    Ferrari did nothing to the engine last season, put a few of last year’s improvement tokens into the hybrid recovery system as the only part carried forward directly to this season, and the hybrid system alone put them on a par with Honda for the last few races of the season, despite an estimated 80hp deficit at the beginning of the year in the engine itself.

    Ferrari now, with a hybrid package race tested for 6 races last year, can run that at full beans no problem, while everybody else (particularly McLaren) are suffering overheating of the batteries on the new Mercedes and Honda systems, and are therefore running in lower battery modes most of the weekend. Renault/Alpine were behind Ferrari anyway even when their engine was tanked by the FIA, and Honda have had failure after failure, so the lower overall engine mode is an obvious answer.

    You’re locked into 1 engine mode and it must therefore be reliable enough to complete the race, not just fast in qualifying, so the engineers are being cautious at other teams, while Ferrari simply don’t need too as it’s proven tech. There’s also a rumour Ferrari have more to come in terms of boost pressure on the new turbo, but again that will come as the reliability is proven, and again they still had extra tokens last year left over to work on the combustion engine, which needed to change drastically to avoid a 20hp reduction in power that all the engine manufacturers reported using E10 in last year’s engine as a test mule. Mercedes essentially only had this seasons tokens to do everything, which meant they had to forego improvements somewhere.

    So, as widely reported over the past 18 months, Ferrari’s engineers have used their development tokens cleverly for at least 2 years knowing there’s an engine freeze for several years after the engines were homologated in February 2022. So they’re now guaranteed a level of competitiveness throughout the first phase of the new rules, until the freeze ends.

    Meanwhile, Mercedes chased that 1 more title for Lewis, and will now come unstuck for several years – unless of course Toto can persuade the FIA to change it’s mind on the rules. Which of course, he’s typically been successful in doing and was probably part of their planning for the new era.

    It may have worked, right up until he told the FIA to effectively block Porsche or Audi joining F1 in October last year by making it impossible to develop their engines – ironically through an engine freeze. Then he brought a team of lawyers to sue the FIA. Then all of a sudden decisions went against him for the first time in a decade. And then he sued them again.

    Can’t think why the new owners that want 26 competitive cars and as many manufacturers as possible on the grid, would start to ignore the spoilt brat…

    Add to this, Mercedes were making noises from around July last year wanting to tweak the new rules, as they already had issues with the new car they had discovered that far back. Then senior engineers started jumping ship to Red Bull, Aston Martin, Alpine and Ferrari. Then the budget cap came in. Then they won the constructors, which cuts their wind tunnel time considerably, so optimising aerodynamic performance in terms of drag and downforce became tricky – hence the porpoising being by far the worst on their car, and the drastic attempt to reduce drag with their side pods.

    It all adds up that they were always likely to be a team in decline for the new set of rules. Just as has happened to Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, Renault etc at various times in the past couple of decades. Shit happens.

  10. “don’t know what kind of engine the “they” have…”

    A bit rich coming from Sore Lew given the machine he has used for the last 7 seasons.

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