Was 2019 ‘illegal’ engine a blessing for Ferrari?

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc races in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc races in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Ex-F1 driver turned pundit, Marc Surer, has speculated that Ferrari’s suspected illegal engine in 2019 has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

There was a time in 2019 when Ferrari’s PU was clear at the top of the engine power chart, with their straight-line speed superior to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.

But, following accusations of cheating, the FIA and Ferrari came to a ‘private agreement’ at the end of the season after the former placed the Scuderia under investigation.

The full results of that ‘private agreement’ were never made available to the public, but it was clear that whatever sanctions the FIA did put in place had a negative impact on Ferrari’s power. In 2020, they slumped to their worst Constructors’ Championship result in four decades with a P6 finish.

Part of the new arrangement was for Ferrari to help the FIA in researching new fuels, with the switch to E10 fuel ahead of the 2022 season providing one of many challenges facing the teams in this brand new era of Formula 1.

Surer believes that early research could be a factor in why Ferrari have made such a strong start under the new regulations.

“Maybe the conditions Ferrari got from the FIA three years ago have been an advantage for the 2022 engines, which are partly fuelled with E10 petrol,” Surer told F1-Insider.

“It may be that Ferrari was best able to cope with this innovation through early research. One thing is certain: The customer teams from Haas and Alfa Romeo also benefit from the powerful drive.”

While Surer is impressed with Ferrari’s start to the campaign, he stopped short of calling them favourites for the title.

“I think Red Bull still has more capacity,” Surer added.

“And Mercedes should not be written off yet. They will fight back, I’m sure of it.

“I think their whole problem revolves around what they call porpoising. If they can get that bouncing under control, they will be back in contention for wins.”


Ferrari head to Australia with a 40-point lead over Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship and Charles Leclerc is 12 points clear of team-mate Carlos Sainz in the Drivers’. Max Verstappen is third on 25 points.

Was 2019 'illegal' engine a blessing for Ferrari?

Former F1 driver Marc Surer believes the 'illegal' car Ferrari drove for half the season in 2019 has helped them for this season.