Ferrari PU progress could rival Mercedes and Honda

Jamie Woodhouse
Side view of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz. Spain, February 2022.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, side-on as he drives the F1-75 on full wet tyres. Spain, February 2022.

Ferrari’s gains in the engine department reportedly could bring them level with the Mercedes and Honda power units.

The 2022 campaign is all change in Formula 1 thanks to the new-look challengers, as well as the switch to Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres, but major work has also been going on with the engines that will power these cars.

From this season there will be a freeze on engine development lasting until 2025, which means this is the final chance for the manufacturers to pack every possible bit of performance into the power units.

Since these V6 turbo-hybrid engines were introduced, the era has been largely dominated by Mercedes, although Honda emerged as a true competitor in 2021, powering Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to the Drivers’ Championship.

The Mercedes and Honda power units are expected to remain at the top of the class for 2022 but as per La Gazzetta dello Sport, the word is that Ferrari have been able to match them.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari pit box. Barcelona February 2022.
Charles Leclerc is surrounded by his Ferrari mechanics in his pit box. Barcelona February 2022.

“Rumours speak of major progress on the ICE (internal combustion engine), combined with a super-evolved hybrid part, for a total power output that would now be on a par with Mercedes and Honda,” the report states.

On the engine front, the report added that the Renault engine is still proving to be a weakness for Alpine, that despite the manufacturer prioritising performance over reliability for this new PU.

The team lost some vital track time at the shakedown in Barcelona, with Fernando Alonso bringing his smoking A522 to a stop in the morning session on the third and final day, that proving to be their final action of the test.

It was later confirmed to be a “problem with the hydraulics” as a “minor sealing issue had led to a fire in the back of the car”.

There were no such reliability problems for McLaren, whom La Gazzetta dello Sport say appear to have found the best solution of any team for exploiting the ground-effect aerodynamic philosophy on these 2022 cars.

 

In addition, the report claims Aston Martin were displaying an aerodynamic instability problem in Barcelona, hampering their pace.

Teams have the upcoming official pre-season test in Bahrain from March 10-12 to further develop their challengers, with the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix taking place on March 20.

 

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