F1 steward Mika Salo has told fellow Finn Kristian Sohlberg that Ferrari was made to “use less fuel” as part of their punishment from the 2019 “cheating” scandal.
Ferrari courted controversy in 2019 when rivals raised questions about the Scuderia’s much-improved power unit.
Blatantly accused of “cheating” by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the FIA launched an investigation that led to Technical Directives being issued regarding fuel flow and oil burning.
Ferrari’s engine lost power and the Scuderia – as well as its customer teams – suffered as a result.
Months later, prior to the start of the 2020 season, after what the FIA called a “thorough technical investigation”, motorsport’s governing body reached a secret agreement with Ferrari.
As to be expected, Ferrari’s rivals were not happy and to this day want details of the settlement to be revealed.
One part of that may have just been leaked by former driver turned steward Salo.
Speaking to Finnish rally driver Sohlberg during a Twitch stream interview, the question of what went wrong for Ferrari and its customer teams came up.
Last year, all three Ferrari-powered teams struggled to match their 2019 pace, losing the most lap time of all the teams on the grid.
Soymotor quotes Salo as having said: “They suffered from Ferrari’s cheat last year because they had Ferrari engines and were forced to use less fuel, so I think so Alfa Romeo may be in a good position if they can perform at their best in the race this season.”
Sohlberg: “So Ferrari’s getting out a new engine, right?”
Salo: “I don’t know if it’s a new engine but they’re allowed to use it to its full power. They were not allowed last year because of Ferrari.”
Ferrari slumped to sixth in last year’s Constructors’ Championship, the Scuderia failing to win a single grand prix, while Alfa Romeo were eighth and Haas P9.
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur believes Ferrari will “recover” a lot of last year’s lost pace.
“The collaboration with Ferrari is, I think, going very well,” he said at the launch of the C41.
“We had a strong meeting, a long meeting over the winter to cover the points of last year when perhaps we didn’t do the perfect job.
“We are on a good path. I think on their side, they will recover probably a large part of the issue we had last year, and collaboration is getting better and better.”