Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul is unsure Formula 1’s decision to restrict engine modes from the Italian Grand Prix will have the intended consequences of hampering Mercedes’ pace.

Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the FIA informed teams that it wants to impose new restrictions on the special engine modes used in qualifying for the Belgian GP onwards, which was later pushed back to this weekend in Italy.

The restriction of engine modes were meant to reign in Mercedes with it currently having a high-power ‘party mode’ which gives it a substantial advantage in qualifying and certain portions of the race.



Mercedes looks to be unaffected so far with it holding nearly a 0.9s gap over the rest of the field in Friday practice.

When asked about the new technical directive for this weekend, Abiteboul expressed his concerns about the unintended consequences it may have.

“The cost of the technology is absolutely insane, Abiteboul said. “Frankly, right now, my biggest concern is given the expectation that we set after Spa to see what we can achieve in Monza, in particular with the qualifying modes that will go away and I’m very concerned that it could have the opposite effect of what people are expecting.”

Toto Wolff believes while Mercedes will be slightly impacted in qualifying trim, it will be able to run higher power for longer in the races, giving it an advantage as a consequence.

“Like Cyril said, there may be an advantage of this TD for us, we will see how much we lose in relative performance to the other teams but we are certainly sure that we will gain a lot of race time on Sundays, because we can simply run the engine much harder,” Wolff said.

“The damage matrix of not running qualifying modes in qualifying allows us to stretch the limit much more in the race and that brings a lot of race time so let’s see what it is, I don’t want to set expectations too high but on Sunday we will have a clearer picture.”

Mattia Binotto thinks Ferrari will be least impacted by the changes and says the engine modes used at Monza, won't necessarily be the same ones used at other venues.  

“Maybe starting from the end, I don’t think it’s more complicated for us. We always run the same engine modes and same specification on our customer teams so whatever we will do for Ferrari will be applied to them. The Technical Directive has certainly affected all power unit manufacturers but maybe not all of them in the same entity. 

“What we did since then is run our proper simulations, understand what was the optimum engine modes that can be used for the entire quali and race distance, knowing that the engine obviously needs to be used for several races. Eventually you will not use the same engine mode at every single race: there are races like in Monza where you may afford a higher performance mode while in other races you may decide to be more protective because it is less sensitive in terms of power.”




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