Ferrari yet to unlock full engine power in F1 car

Charles Leclerc's win for Ferrari at the 2022 Bahrain GP was done with an underpowered engine to improve reliability


Ferrari returned to the top of the tree in Formula 1 after a brilliant one-two finish at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix which saw Charles Leclerc on the top step of the podium, and while the Scuderia were on form, they did so with an engine operating below its potential. 

In the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1, which began in 2014, the Ferrari engine has always been one of the best, though not on the level of Mercedes, and in recent seasons was surpassed the Honda powered Red Bull, but 2022 marked a new era in F1 with new car regulations and limited engine development until 2025.

Now, a report from Italian newspaper the Corriere dello Sport, has indicated that Ferrari used a power unit well below its potential at the Bahrain GP, as they didn’t want to reach the limit and encounter reliability issues before understanding them properly. 

That said, the Scuderia will increase the power over the next few races as they understand the car more, though nothing will change for the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP. Ferrari may wait until Spain before introducing a new power unit once reliability can be guaranteed with a new evolution of the engine. 

Dominant Ferrari engines 

What we did see at the Bahrain GP was three Ferrari engined cars in the top 6 and six in the top 11, something which has cemented the idea in the paddock that the Italian engine is the best on the starting grid. 

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during 2022 Bahrain GP REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“The hybrid is very similar to the one we raced at the end of the season, just a few different sensors for the FIA 2022 requirements,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said at the launch of the 2022 car. 

“The rest, especially the internal combustion engine, I have to say it’s significantly different. We’ve got a new fuel, which is 10 percent ethanol, which changes the combustion a lot, we are all losing more or less 20 horsepower, which means that the combustion itself is quite changed.

“There were a lot of opportunities in development on the power unit and we change it quite a lot, especially in the design on the combustion itself.”

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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