The FIA is now satisfied that Ferrari’s ERS complies with the Formula 1 technical regulations after closer scrutiny at the Monaco Grand Prix, according to race director Charlie Whiting.
Concerns that the team’s unique battery layout could allow it to bypass an FIA sensor and exceed the 120kW limit that can be deployed by the MGU-K led to the governing body analyzing the situation during practice in Monaco. While the topic was raised after a former Ferrari engineer joined Mercedes, Whiting insists the issue was blown out of proportion once it became public knowledge.
“We had some concerns in Baku that were difficult to explain and we worked through it with them,” Whiting said. “There is something in the regulations, Article 2.6, that says it is the duty of the competitor to satisfy the FIA that their car complies at all times, and they were having difficult satisfying us.
“Here, we are now satisfied and that’s how it all went. The matter was exacerbated by unsubstantiated speculation that went through the paddock like wildfire.”
Whiting says the FIA was simply paying close attention to part of the Ferrari in the same way it regularly does with aerodynamic items up and down the grid.
“If we had a hard case, we would have gone to see the stewards but because it is such a more complex matter, it was difficult to understand,” he said.
“It is no different to anything else we do, except it was more complex. It became a bit of an issue after Baku because word got around, but for us it was just a case of scrutineering and checking things – like we do with bodywork and wings – and it was not different to those things, as far as we were concerned.
“It is different in that it took a little longer to get to the bottom of. In the past we have had issues with floors and it can take two or three races to chip away at it. With Ferrari, it is far more complex system than anybody else’s. We saw some things in the data we could not quite explain.
“They are not running anything different here in terms of hardware, although we will probably do that in the future to make it easier. What we have worked out here is a method where we can establish it without having to use an additional sensor but it would be easier if they incorporated that in future designs.”
– Words by Chris Medland