Toto Wolff sides with Christian Horner on ‘sour taste’ comments, Helmut Marko on why Ferrari deserves the money they get and Mercedes explain engine modes.
The mere fact that a private settlement – initially released in February – is still a hot topic in the world of F1 tells you all you need to know about the significance of the clandestine agreement, which has attracted attention for two major reasons.
The first reason for its notoriety was the clandestine nature of the deal itself, of which rival F1 teams desperately wanted details as they questioned the method used by the FIA and Ferrari to sort out the discrepancy.
The teams, though, would never get the clarification they sought on the matter. This, a fact that still incites some discomfort among rivals in the sport, chief among them Red Bull’s Horner, who detailed a ‘sour taste in the mouth’ as a result of the deal.
“The whole thing has left quite a sour taste,” said Horner to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters and more. “I mean obviously you can draw your own conclusions from Ferrari’s current performance but, yeah there are races that we should have won last year arguably if they had run with an engine that seems to be quite different to what performance that they had last year.”
Ferrari have nonetheless suffered from whatever penalty that may have been bestowed upon them, as they demonstrated catastrophically poor engine performance at Spa. “It’s obviously very tough for them but I think their focus has obviously been in the wrong areas in previous years, which is why they’re obviously seem to be struggling a little with whatever was in that agreement,” said Horner.
“I think you’ve got Mercedes as a clear leader, then I think Honda and Renault are reasonably close depending on on circuits and conditions. And then you’ve got Ferrari obviously at the back of the queue.” Dr. Helmut Marko, meanwhile, felt pained to see Ferrari’s struggles but explained why the F1 team still deserved the money it gets.
“I’m not happy,” said Marko to motorsport-magazin.com. “Ferrari is a myth. When you see that they are struggling to move into Q2, it is painful. I hope that they will get out of this valley as soon as possible. The special bonus for Ferrari is also justified. If you ask people who have no detailed knowledge.
“I can painfully report sponsors where the highest authority has no detailed knowledge – when you name Ferrari or Red Bull, it is clear that Ferrari has the magical attraction. This myth won’t go away anytime soon if this isn’t a successful time,” Marko added.
And while he did not contribute to the conversation of Ferrari’s pace downturn, Mercedes’ Wolff – who has been hot on heels of Mattia Binotto – complained of the nature of the deal. His team, he says, suffered because of pushing to catch Ferrari and for that he seeks a better explanation than the vague one he and others got at the tail end of winter testing.
“You know Ferrari is an iconic brand, and fantastic people that build these cars,” said Wolff. “It’s difficult to say, because I don’t want to put any more oil into this. But we were really stretched so much last year and the year before, that we suffered.
“We lost some people, and this is what… we lost some people in terms of, just being at the end of, just the end of their… how can I say? At the end of their health. And this is why I would probably follow Christian’s comment.”
While Ferrari admits that it lose performance because of the change, others too had the same. It was just that the Italian manufacturer lost it more due to car designed to handle the extra boost and with it gone, the chassis side suffered as well.
One way to get back on Mercedes now is the engine mode, which is not to be used from this weekend onward, where none of the F1 teams have been straight on as to how much they stand to lose. Wolff and his drivers are taking it as a challenge, where they tune it as rival’s method to slow them down.
While the real picture will only be seen on Saturday and Sunday, Mercedes shared a small video to explain what the mode is and how it works – albeit not answering in data as to how much they or any other team stands to lose.
Here’s Helmut Marko on push for engine mode change
Here’s F1 teams after signing Concorde Agreement