Lewis Hamilton has taken a dig at the FIA’s plans to ban “qualifying modes”, claiming they’re always trying to “slow” Mercedes down.
The FIA have reportedly sent a letter to teams saying these “short-term” power boosts are set to be outlawed, but this could come into effect from 2021 or as early as the Belgian Grand Prix from August 28-30.
Mercedes would stand to be one of those most affected if they lose their “party mode”.
But the news hasn’t come as a surprise to Hamilton, who believes Formula 1 is always trying to slow the dominant Mercedes team down.
“It’s not a surprise, they’re always trying to slow us down,” he said in a press conference before the Spanish Grand Prix.
“But it doesn’t really change a huge amount for us so it’s not a problem.”
Mercedes’ rivals believe that the Silver Arrows would lose a major weapon from their artillery if everyone was without the qualifying modes.
Helmut Marko said in a RTL interview that Mercedes "party mode" is around ~0.7s up to 1s and that it will be very difficult for Max to get pole in Barcelona.
"But there will be TD's and maybe it [Max pole] will happen in Spa."#SpanishGP
— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) August 13, 2020
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has previously pointed out the benefit that Mercedes get from these modes, whilst head of the Red Bull driver programme Helmut Marko said the Mercedes “party mode” is worth 0.7s up to 1s.
Asked if a ban would impact more greatly upon Mercedes than the other teams, Hamilton said: “No.
“The guys at our team have just done such a good job with the engine.
“It’s obviously to slow us down but I don’t think it’s going to get the result that they want. But that’s totally fine if they do it.”
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas reaffirmed that Mercedes are not “panicking” about the news.
“It’s impossible to know with other engine manufacturers how much they can actually gain when they put it all out in qualifying and if we’re actually gaining more or not,” he said.
“We are not panicking about it. If the regulation comes then it’s same for everyone.
“Every team obviously has different modes, how much they’re going to risk in terms of wearing the engine and sometimes when they can – and also same for us – save the engine.
“And also in terms of strategic things in the race for drivers, many times we’re using different kinds of modes whether we are defending or attacking.”
Bottas added that taking away some of these modes would result in less overtaking during races.
“From my side it feels like if it would be the same engine mode for everyone all through the race, there will be less overtaking because everyone’s just running the same modes instead of playing with them and trying to maximise the situation, sometimes using more power, sometimes less,” he explained.
“In the end it will be less things for us to do in our driving. Obviously it’s not up to us but we’ll just take it as it comes.”