Mercedes’ ‘party mode’ could be banned from Spa

Date published: August 13 2020

Mercedes PA

“Party mode” could be the next Mercedes weapon to disappear with FIA considering banning ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings.

Already Mercedes’ dual-axis steering system (DAS) will be banned from 2021, even though the new rules have been delayed until 2022.

And next year all the teams may be set to lose the ‘qualifying mode’ on their engine which gives them that extra boost in the battle to form the grid for race day.

Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault are Formula 1’s engine manufacturers and have spent years developing these short-term performance aids, though the added strain on the engine and increased fuel use that comes with them means they aren’t of much use in the race.

But Racefans.net are reporting that the FIA secretary general for sport Peter Bayer sent out a letter to teams on Wednesday informing them that the sport’s governing body will look to clamp down on these quali modes with new rules for 2021.

The letter reportedly stated that the FIA will look to enforce rules that state teams must use the same engine modes in qualifying and in the race.

These changes would likely be included in the current parc ferme regulations which heavily limit the changes that teams can make between qualifying and the race.

However, a different report from The Race suggests this ban on quali modes could arrive far sooner.

Instead of waiting until 2021, their report states that teams have been told the new rules could be introduced for the Belgian Grand Prix which takes place at Spa from August 28-30.

They say teams may be instructed to use their qualifying modes for a certain percentage of the race, which would bring them down in efficiency since the current modes couldn’t possibly be used for any extended amount of time.

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Mercedes are seen as the leading force in this department, armed with their “party mode”.

Speaking after the British Grand Prix, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “Mercedes over a single lap have pretty awesome pace, you could see between P3 and Q1 and Q3 the amount they are able to step things up is dramatic.

“So, we’re looking just to understand where that performance is coming from.”

Racefans.net say the FIA letter also discussed the Racing Point controversy and the concerns that some teams have about Formula 1 going down the route of ‘copy cars’.

Racing Point have appealed against their 15-point deduction and 400,000 euros fine for using Mercedes-inspired brake ducts, whilst Ferrari and Renault are appealing that the sanctions are too soft.

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