Did fuel flow clampdown hurt Ferrari more than Mercedes?
Some believe that, notwithstanding the big package of upgrades brought by Ferrari to Barcelona, it was actually the ‘fuel flow story’ that had the biggest impact in Spain.
Auto Motor und Sport reports that Mercedes may have provoked the new FIA clampdown by deliberately triggering a spike in its fuel flow in qualifying.
Indeed, shortly after qualifying, head of the F1 Technical Department Charlie Whiting warned “we will be carrying out careful physical inspections of all fuel systems in use” amid speculation that Ferrari has been the team benefiting the most from a trick fuel system.
It was said Ferrari was getting a big power boost out of slow corners prior to the warning, but in Barcelona’s final sector, Sebastian Vettel was notably slower than the silver cars, but Ferrari denied the reports regarding its fuel system.
Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ team chairman, added more fuel to the fire on Friday when he told RTL, “There are rumours that some teams have an extra tank, and once it fills up it to the right amount can be used in the race.”
As for Lauda’s claims of an extra tank, the F1 legend and triple world champion added: “These are all rumours, but what is certainly true is that from now on it no longer happens.”
Last year Red Bull were victims of Flowgate when Daniel Ricciardo, in his first race for the team and also the first race of the new V6 turbo era, was disqualified from second place in the Australian Grand Prix because of fuel flow irregularities.
This season the matter came to light again after China where the FIA suspected that some teams and manufacturers were finding their way around the 100kg per hour rule by increasing fuel flow in areas other than the actual meter.
The spotlight shone most brightly on Mercedes and Ferrari, given the obvious step both engine manufacturers made between seasons.