Ferrari hoping to challenge Mercedes with 30hp boost from new development engine
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari 2015
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Jun 2015   |  12:11 pm GMT  |  165 comments

It has been confirmed that the first wave of development power units, boosted by the use of ‘tokens’ for 2015, is about to come on stream this weekend in Montreal and there is a lot of hope and expectation around Ferrari’s, which uses three of their available 10 tokens. Both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will use the revised power units this weekend.

This will be the third engine both drivers have used this season, out of their allocation of four. The suggestion is that a fourth engine, using further tokens, will be made available for Monza, the Italian Grand Prix, which is clearly an important race for Ferrari.

Canada is also an important race for the team historically; a race to which they have brought significant upgrades in the past. It is even more important today as new Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne was raised in Canada. Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene tried to throw the media off he scent in Monaco, suggesting that there would be nothing special in Canada, but the FIA has sent out a technical communication confirming that Ferrari has a boosted power unit this weekend, as we foreshadowed on this site last week.

Indiscretions in Italy suggest that the revised areas of the Ferrari engine are in the area of combustion, camshafts and pistons, while long term technical partner Shell has provided a new fuel, which contributes to the power boost from the revised package.

Ferrari engine cover

While Honda is also using up some tokens on its engines, it appears that Mercedes is not using any on the new engines it will supply to its works team and to customer teams this weekend.They have fewer tokens to use for the seasons, but clearly the later engines 3 & 4 may well feature performance enhancements for the business end of the championship. By that stage, given that Ferrari is already on engine 3, while Mercedes is on engine 2, the Maranello squad may need to take a tactical engine penalty later in the season – a 10 place grid drop if a fifth engine is needed.

The Monza engine would be on its seventh race in Abu Dhabi, while Mercedes has managed six races on its first engine.

It will be interesting to see how much closer the new Ferrari power unit brings them to the Mercedes cars. The gap in qualifying has been around 7/10ths of a second and there should be around 3/10ths in the power unit upgrade, if the indiscretions on the extent of the update are accurate. The gap in races, however has been less (apart from Spain, where Ferrari struggled with the tyres)

For Canada and Austria, which will both be raced on soft and supersoft tyres, we can expect Ferrari to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes in race conditions.

The Montreal track has the highest fuel consumption of the season due to its stop start nature and the long bassets of open throttle. Renault predicts that “consumption will be some 7% over the permitted maximum, so energy recovery and fuel saving becomes critical to be able to finish the race.”

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Come on Ferrari! Give the fans some excitement this weekend and for the rest of the season


More power. Does that mean, Ferrari will lose their tyre advantage?


I wonder if Seb and Kimi have ever got the chance to watch the 1995 Canada GP on DVD, YouTube or in some other way. The Tifosi went completly insane after Jean Alesi achieved the impossible


Hi James question for you hope you answer. I know not relevant to this topic but please I am trying to find an answer.

What is difference between manor of 2014 vs 2015 that they lapped nearly 1.5 sec slower than last year having same chassis & engine. I also checked time sheets for other teams comparing to last year. Hamilton was 1 sec faster than last year but others were slower than merc gain. I know we have harder tyres than 2014 for Monaco but is there any other contributing factor?

This makes Perez lap time look like no diff from last year as he has 2015 merc PU.

Thanks & I assume there was no diff in track layout or track conditions. Except track was slightly smaller by few mm.

Please if you can give me answer would be amazing



Interesting notes.

However yu have to be careful with this session, as it wasn’t a typical session – this was a 35 minute bast before the rain came, so people were on different programmes, without a low fuel qualifying simulation run.

Barcelona FP2 would be a better comparison


James, what about using current engine on less power demanding circuit like Hungary or Singapore (talking about Ferrari) I didn’t see you mentioning this possiblity.


Well as I understand it you have a ‘race pool’ of 4 engines for the season and you can use them as long as you don’t add a fifth.

I’m off to find Charlie Whiting to confirm that..


We are robbed of wet races that’s for sure.


Mr Charlie Whiting… some of me just think this man isn’t interested in the well being of F1 rather just always covering his own backside when he brings the safety car out in races when its wet and until the track is ready for inters he won’t call the safety car in, pathetic if you ask me, they’re racers being paid millions let them race on wet tyres.


@ B max….that is not quite so. yes, all teams chassis are different and the performance parameters of the PU are also different therefore having the same tyres for each team will discriminate against some and not others. this is the reason why pirelli must not be allowed to continue to dictate what tyre compounds are to be used at each and every race.

hopefully this will be the last year we see this ridiculous rule being applied. the teams should be the final arbiter of what compounds they want to run with their chassis. pirelli are trying to avoid this by throwing up all kinds of stupid arguments such as safety/logistics etc etc etc. all these issues can be resolved with careful planning and foresight.


Why do we keep hearing Ferrari might be cheating fuel-wise when the culprit was reported to be Mercedes?


Where was it reported as Mercedes? I have seen Ferrari mentioned a few times in relation to it. Without a source your assertion fails.


So your advice is to “Google it”, but then have no time to follow your own advice? I’m guessing it’s altogether taskmaster-ish to ask you to then consider what that does to your position.


Yeaah so suspicious. Or maybe digging up those links or even googling it: not my priority. I asked why this is the case with Mercedes and Ferrari for people who have already heard about it.

Last time I heard the anomaly was in Mercedes cars, but I’m not saying Ferrari have not a similar system going on. But it would be pure speculation then.


I am really sorry that you haven’t heard of this thing called “Google”. Maybe you should google it.


Because the British media and Hamilton fans would never like to admit anything wrong and would rather discredit anything vettel does, just like the media being unusually quiet when more details emerged at Monaco it was Hamilton that was shouting like a kid on the radio for them to change tyres.


Biggest differential to performance are the tires. Next two events are soft and supersoft. Ferrari can make them work very well and have a chance to fight. It is so easy to manipulate with the race. Make it medium and hard and Mercedes is gone.

On a different note it is very unfair when you drive with a Dewar Trophy under you, all it matters is tires.

It is tires formula, not engine formula or aero formula.


It was medium and hard in Malaysia. Yes, high temperatures on a highly abrasive track, etc.

It could be that Ferrari got a good setup in MAL, while Merc didn’t. Lewis missed one of the FP’s, and part of it was rained out. Looks like a good chance of rain on Friday in Montreal.


Since formula was changed from aero to engine-based, and Mercedes don’t want to let the others develop their PUs, I don’t know what we would be doing without tyres making a difference. Moreover they all have the same tyres at each race, it’s not like this is tyre war. So difference isn’t in the tyres, it’s in the chassis (Mercedes vs Ferrari). Still not a tyre formula.


I don’t understand this allowance of in season development. What’s the point if you only have 4 PUs and upgrades can only be applied to unused ones? Furthermore, how do upgrades for reliability and cost work then? Surely if the rule is that PUs don’t have to be used sequentially, then a reliability upgrade can be retro-actively applied to an old engine for use later in the season?

Last year some 50 applications for reliability upgrades were made, yet they must have been applied to all the PUs in the allocation?

Depending on the part though, I guess. This kind of thing really muddies the waters around F1.


Can a team still use the old spec engine once they have upgraded to the new spec or are they taken out of circulation all together?


Williams might be a dark horse here. I’m looking for them and the the Red Bulls / Toro Rossos to go ultra low downforce.


It would be great to see Williams get back up the pointy end. If they get it right they should be able to challenge Ferrari. Without an engine upgrade do they get all the other tweaks Merc will no doubt employ to up performance?


“…energy recovery and fuel saving becomes critical to be able to finish the race.”

Is this racing or sailing? The pinnacle of motorsport alright.


as fangio used to say , the art of motor racing is winning as slowly as possible

so it was ever thus ; you don’t think he knew what he was talking about ? he was so good he didn’t ever have a contract , he could pick whatever team he wanted because they all wanted him

were that the system today only hamilton would be in that position


Since that isn’t the system today, it is all assumption that Hamilton would be in that position…. For last 10 years, there’s been more than one driver in that situation.


I’ve had a revelation – brilliant!

We should further lower the use of fuel to 50 KG per race. The winner will be the guy that can drive the whole race distance on 50 KG’s of fuel, which will obviously mean driving very, very slowly.

Now, there may be cases where car a will run out of fuel in say, Turn 4. Another car will dry up in Turn 6. Some cars will barely make it to the finish line. We’ll root for them, “common, go, go, go; just a few more meters”. Yes, he’s done it, what a brilliant drive. What a great show. In the end, all drivers will walk to the pit lane post race finish together like those brave guys from Expendables.

Now, that’s a show – the pinnacle of shows. 🙂

P.S. Maybe after the cars dry up, the drivers can run to the start finish. That will be another race in an existing race – F1 biathlon – brilliant! 🙂 🙂


Let it go. Put things in to perspective ( the most thermally efficient gasoline powertrains ever produced, with a claimed thermal efficiency of greater than 40% ) – previous were 29% and they still look very fast racing cars – quit a pinnacle to me.


Well if you are actively saving fuel instead of going about your business as usual, that doesn’t actually mean “efficient” does it? It just shows the driver’s and the car’s ability to run with less fuel at lower settings which is not something we care to watch in a racing series….


Cue Ferraris challenging in the race but going out with engine failure. Then a reliability fix=20+hp. Really though, I hope there is a strong challenge from the boys in red this weekend.


That would be a nightmare!


I thought teams were free to use their PUs as they wished, but I just heard “once a developed by tokens PU is used the old one cannot be used”.

Is there any truth to this?


You are suggesting that both Ferrari engines number one and two cannot be used again during the season James? I can’t imagine that Engine no 2 is already busted. I thought that Ferrari used the first engine all the way up to Bahrain, which means the second engine has just two races worth of mileage, one of which is Monaco…


You’ve just got to watch out for that Boussinesq-Basset force, especially in Montreal. I’ve heard it’s brutal…


I don’t understand the fuel saving! What a turn off. This is F1 for goodness sake not Toyota Prius racing! They need to be able to give it 100% all race. Who ever worked out the fuelling allowance for the rules needs a backside kicking. Lift and Coast!! Rubbish! Just total rubbish!!!

James Clayton

Indeed… fuel saving has been an issue ever since refuelling was banned. The FIA went totally the wrong way… they should have specified a MINIMUM amount of fuel to prevent teams under-filling cars, rather than a MAXIMUM amount which forces even more fuel-saving’ stages….


Even with the relatively cool temperatures expected for this weekend in Montreal, the additional horsepower can’t hurt the performance of the Ferrari relative to the Mercedes. Here’s to hoping that they are closer in pace than they were in Spain.

As to McLaren, even with the reported PU upgrades, I would be very surprised if they are any more competitve on a track that favours horsepower, top speed, low aerodynamic drag and good fuel consumption.. The Hondas have not only been lacking in horsepower/top speed this year, they have also been rather thirsty. Still, just as this is perhaps not an ideal venue for Ferrari to take full advantage of their upgraded package, one can at least hope that there will be signs of some progress that will return greater dividends on other circuits and in other conditions.



You hit on it for McLaren. Their fuel consumption was a lot higher, and Canada for sure is a high-fuel-use circuit. Now I think that was in Monaco where FOM showed those figures, so Monaco might’ve been a special case. Which begs the question, WHY are we not given these fuel use figures after the race?


It seems like token spend will become a bit tactical, especially if they only apply to unused engines. Mercedes seemingly don’t need to spend them to remain competitive, Renault will hold onto theirs until the end of the season – effectively meaning they can redesign the entire PU for next season (this year’s remaining tokens + those for this winter), Ferrari will do something similar though are clearly trying to get the biggest gains in-season, then Honda can make huge changes under the guise of reliability, then up the performance for 2016.

I think, if there’s no homologation before the start of the 2016 season, Merc will just continue winning until a slight 2017 reset.


…and Ferrari are telling everyone about this improvement BEFOREHAND? I know it was long ago but I remember Tyrrell developing an entire CAR without letting anybody know about it ahead of time. So much for a strategic advantage!


To stay in the news, keeping the fans happy, keeping the customer team (sauber) happy, keeping the sposners happy, etc



In the article you said that Shell have a new “Jungle juice” for the PU. I thought that fuel was agreed at the start of the season, and that was it for the season. Or are the “Technical Partners” in this case Shell allowed to keep on developing there “products” during the year (Season)?

Pat Symonds mention at the start of the season that he hoped his fuel supplier had come up with a new – better formula that might give them a few extra horse power or an edge over their rivals.

Shell was the partner at McLaren during the Honda period and now it is Mobil. How much of an input are they having in boosting the power unit in the McLaren?

A while back I asked if you could look into doing an article to explain what each fuel supplier brings to a team, apart from money and fuel. What do they get out of it, this Technical Partnership?

Can the fuel supplier actually make a big difference and if so where and how do they do it?



Am unsure if the fuel supplier can actuaslly add anything nowadays as the rules (if I remember them correctly) state that the fuel used in an F1 car has to be indistinguishable from pump fuel. Then again, I am no expert in making fuel, only burning it.



Ah! That must be why McLaren-Honda are not reliving their glorious days of the past!


These politically correct engine regulations have ruined F1 racing for me!! I think we should demand the change of fuel regulations NOW so engines can run at full revs and no limit on fuel flow or total usage. F1 should not be an economy run! It might generate some hate, but I am not beyond calling for a boycott if things don’t change soon. Or as some might suggest, if I don’t like watching paint dry, turn it off!


Hi Ups61, do you realize on tracks where fuel is not a problem they under fill the cars to gain that extra bit of speed at the start of the race complete with less tire wear? then sit back and cruise along to save engine if needed and poke funny faces in the mirror to pee the guy off behind him.

this has always been part and parcel of F1 saving fuel is the name of the game,

if refueling comes back in, cars will be fueled with the smallest amount of fuel so the driver can beat everyone else off the start,

3 maybe 5 laps latter he has split the field and has come in for more fuel,

i guess you would prefer that to what your seeing now?



Isn’t it possible for Ferrari to use their previous (Engine 1 and 2) engines in a less engine dependent circuits like Hungary, Austria or Singapore? Also, it is possible to mix and match your power unit components for my understanding. Example, 1st IC unit with 3or or 4th Battery Pack or 2nd MGU – K and 5th MGU – H.


Yes and yes.


“long bassets of open throttle” Boussinesq–Basset force? or just a typo..


F1 definitely gone to the dogs when we are discussing long vs short bassets.


OK seen one possible answer that “They can use the old engines ‘as is’ if they run out of mileage on the upgraded ones. Upgrade cannot be applied on engines which have already been used. So Ferrari have two engine allocations to which they can apply their upgrades.”

All very well for engine Manufacturer, but for customers?

This flies in the face of the rule, as I understand it says “Only one specification of an engine can be run by the teams at any one time” or something like that…

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