Tech F1i - Ferrari and Mercedes unleash the power

'© F1i '

Despite the two-week shut-down of the Formula 1's factories, lots of novelties appeared at the Belgian Grand Prix. The most important innovations werelengine related, with new spec units introduced by Ferrari and Mercedes.


At Spa, Sebastian Vettel's SF71H was equipped with a new internal combustion engine, a new turbo and a new MGU-H. The German driver had therefore reached the allocated quota for the whole season: any subsequent replacement will result in a penalty.

Kimi Räikkönen, for his part, received only a new internal combustion engine, to avoid a demotion on the grid. Drivers from the Maranello's customer teams had access to the spec-3 engine at Hungarian Grand Prix, and are now in the same situation as Vettel (see the table below).

L. HamiltonMercedes (Mercedes)333222
V. BottasMercedes (Mercedes)444333
D. RicciardoRed Bull (Renault)333333
M. VerstappenRed Bull (Renault)333322
S. VettelFerrari (Ferrari)333222
K. RäikkönenFerrari (Ferrari)333222
S. PérezForce India (Mercedes)333222
E. OconForce India (Mercedes)333222
L. StrollWilliams (Mercedes)333222
S. SirotkinWilliams (Mercedes)333222
F. AlonsoMcLaren (Renault)333322
S. VandoorneMcLaren (Renault)444333
B. HartleySTR (Honda)655533
P. GaslySTR (Honda)555433
R. GrosjeanHaas (Ferrari)333222
K. MagnussenHaas (Ferrari)333222
N. HülkenbergRenault (Renault)454333
C. SainzRenault (Renault)444333
M. EricssonSauber (Ferrari)333222
Ch. LeclercSauber (Ferrari)333222

Simultaneously, Shell introduced a new formulation of its fuel, the last of the season after a first evolution appeared in Canada. This mixture pushes the knocking limit, i.e. the risk of uncontrolled fuel explosions, while maintaining the calorific value of fuel. Knocking disturbs the combustion process, which affects performance, and can also damage the inside of the piston (read here our complete file on the techniques of ignition in prechamber of combustion). According to Autosport, this new formula, which is said to be expensive and complex to produce, is currently limited to the factory team.

According to the oil company, the development of fuel and lubricants represents over 20% of the Italian engine's power increase since 2014.