FIA racing referee and former F1 driver Mika Salo has revealed confidential information about the FIA’s deal with Ferrari over their controversial 2019 power unit and says Ferrari has been penalized for the entire F1 2020 season.
The FIA reached an agreement with Ferrari in early 2020 after a detailed analysis of their 2019 power unit, but they did not want to reveal what exactly it was about after numerous inquiries they received from other teams over the past season.
Ferrari was in the spotlight in the second half of 2019 due to the suspiciously high power of their power unit in qualifying mode, and Red Bull showed a direct inquiry to the FIA that they suspect Ferrari has found a way to fool the fuel flow sensors.
The FIA subsequently issued several technical directives, and Ferrari was not found guilty, so their power unit was marked as legal. But FIA gave a statement on 28.2.2020. saying they had completed an analysis of Ferrari’s powertrain and reached a private ‘agreement’ with the Italian team.
In a live Twitch broadcast with rally driver Kristian Sohlberg, Salo revealed that Ferrari had to use less fuel than the maximum allowed 100 kg / h for the entire F1 season in 2020, which was a penalty for using too much fuel for most of 2019 when they managed to fool one FIA -in the sensor.
New fuel flow sensor
The FIA has introduced a second fuel flow sensor for the F1 season in 2020, which must never show more than 100 kg / h. If Sal’s claims are true, Ferrari suffered a double blow for 2020 because not only did they lose the 2019 advantage when they injected more fuel but they had to use less fuel than all their rivals because of the FIA penalty.
Collateral victims are also Ferrari customers Haas and Alfa Romeo who also experienced a dramatic drop in competitiveness and fought with Williams for last places. Salo was already in the spotlight last year because he leaked confidential information to a Finnish commentator as an FIA referee- it's about Russian Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton received two five-second penalties for test starts in an inadequate place, and the Finnish commentator announced this penalty before the official announcement of race control.
The fast track of Spa Francorchamps has revealed a dramatic drop in the power of Ferrari’s power unit compared to their rivals from Mercedes, Honda, and Renault, and the Ferrari team is the only one to set a slower time in 2020 than 2019.
The table showing the best weekend times of 2019 (Q1, Q2 or Q3) and the best weekend times of 2020 shows that the two teams improved dramatically in about four seconds - Williams and Toro Rosso Honda, who recorded very bad performances last season