Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team is ready to tackle the new proposed Formula 1 ‘qualifying mode’ restrictions which are set to be introduced at the Belgian Grand Prix later this month.

Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the FIA informed teams of its intentions to impose new restrictions on engine manufacturers’ high-performance ‘qualifying modes’.

Since the introduction of the V6 hybrid engines at the start of 2014, Mercedes has led the way in this area with its own high-performance mode being dubbed ‘party mode’.

It’s widely accepted that this change is being introduced to rein in Mercedes and reduce the gap between the reigning world champions and Red Bull - who are unable to match Mercedes over one lap but the gap reduces over a race distance as it is unable to run its high-power modes every lap due to reliability concerns.

Speaking in Friday’s press conference, Wolff said Mercedes would relish the challenge should the restrictions come into place at Spa in two weeks' time.

“I think the primary goal of the FIA was to implement the rule to better understand and better analyse what is going on with the engines, Wolff said. “It’s a very complex method between the combustion engine and all the energy recovery system and I having one mode it becomes more easy for the FIA to really see if everything is in compliance.

“And then on the second point: it has always been the case in Formula 1 that pulling back the leaders, or what supposedly are the leaders, is something that is good for the sport.

“We see it very much as a challenge. We have a good quali mode and we are able to give it a little bit more power in that last session. But if that is not possible anymore because everything needs to be smoothed out over the race then it’s not a deficit for us but on the contrary, we think we can translate it into more performance in the race. That is something that is a great challenge for us that will take on once the rule is implemented.”



Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto believes the proposed restrictions will impact all manufacturers and such technical directives are there to provide clarity, not simply negatively impact a particular team.

“I think what Toto said somehow is reflecting our thoughts as well,” Binotto said. “It’s not the last certainly, it’s even not the first technical directive on power units, showing how complex and difficult is that set of regulations. There have been many TDs which have been issued in the last months on the power unit and I think that all of them have eventually affected all power unit manufacturers. 

“I think that the next one as well will simply affect all the power unit manufacturers. Will it affect one more than the others, I simply can only understand by the time we get the technical directive. We need to see the real, true content of it. Obviously, if you are the best car on track, the status quo would obviously the best solution to move forward. 

“But at the end it’s not a technical directive that will be against one of the other manufacturers. It is simply again that the regulations are so complex that clarifications are required. That’s it.”

 

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