At the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan, the discussion about the addition of oil to petrol last weekend took a surprising turn.
Until now, World Champion Mercedes has been at the center of interest, when it came to this topic, suddenly the biggest competitor of silver arrows is suspected, to have used this trick this season: Ferrari. A directive of the World Association created new speculations before the race in Baku.
Review: The topic of oil in petrol came up for the first time at the beginning of the year, because Red Bull Mercedes suspected that this trick would increase the performance of the engine in qualifying. This suspicion never arose, but before the beginning of the season the FIA sent a directive to all teams warning them not to add oil to the petrol.
Actually, the issue was expected to be resolved with the clarification of the FIA in the spring. But before the Baku weekend, there was the second directive already mentioned, which naturally raises the question of why the World Trade Organisation has just taken up the issue once again. The obvious conclusion: The FIA was once again asked by a team for clarification.
Did Mercedes give a hint?
But while in winter it was still the Red Bull team that alerted the association to the issue, this time the cops wash their hands of innocence. Originally we used up the topic, but others then took it up,”explains team leader Christian Horner. Instead, he points to Mercedes himself, albeit somewhat cryptically.
“There is someone who is now on the silver team, who came from the red team, who knew what to look for. Then the FIA has received a hint in this direction,”says Horner. His suggestion is clear: A former Ferrari employee who now works for Mercedes is said to have put the FIA on the case. So have the silver arrows in the matter of the “accused” now become the “accuser” themselves?
“I don’t know who is doing something…”, Toto Wolff gives himself without a clue. He doesn’t think the trick would have much effect anyway. In Formula One, there would be no miracles. The Mercedes team leader declares that you have “great respect” for Ferrari, and plays it down with a wink of an eye: “Usually I always get breakfast at Ferrari on Sunday morning – today I only had one tea.”
Was there an extra oil tank at Ferrari?
“For me there is an analogy to rugby. During the race, they are our opponents, and they do not take prisoners. But after the race we must be able to drink a beer together like rugby players and recognize the performance of the other,”says Wolff. Horner recalls, by the way, that it is not unusual to draw the FIA’s attention to certain things.” This is part of the sport,”he explains.
But regardless of who knocked on the FIA in this matter, it remains open, which is why Ferrari was suspected at all
And here it gets exciting. The Scuderia is said to have used an additional oil tank up to the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. According to “auto motor and sports” Mercedes learned about this part and therefore asked the World Association.
“I understand Ferrari had to take something from the car and that could have been an additional oil tank”, said Martin Brundle, an expert at “Sky Sports F1”, during the Baku weekend. The former Formula One pilot does not directly accuse Ferrari of fraud, but maintains: “A Formula One car does not carry an unnecessary gram of weight if it does not contribute to performance…”
Mercedes in qualifying suddenly again dominant
In other words, if there was this additional tank on the Ferrari, What has not yet been officially confirmed must have had a very clear purpose. In this context, it is also interesting to have a look at the qualification results in Baku. Kimi Reike queens were missing in place three already saturated 1100 seconds to the pole time of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel was slower than fourth even 1248 seconds.
This is interesting because the delay of Ferrari in the whole season was never nearly as great. In Bahrain, Vettel 0478 seconds to the pole-time of Valtteri Bottas- the greater the Ferrari lag in qualification throughout the year was never. In Baku, the distance to Mercedes was suddenly more than twice as wide. A direct impact of the FIA Directive? Not necessarily.
Brundle recalls that Baku was “very specific” as a line, which is why it was “too early” to suspect Ferrari. This is how the upcoming races will probably reveal whether Mercedes has regained his old dominance in qualifying. This would, however, be merely an indication and not proof of this theory. Officially, the oil trick has never been proven with Mercedes or Ferrari.