Ferrari boss warns reported huge power gain would be cheating

Charles Leclerc retired from two races whilst leading in 2022 due to a power unit failure.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has discussed the Italians’ improved power unit ahead of the forthcoming season, with the Frenchman having warned Mercedes and Red Bull that “we are ready for the season”.

Power unit reliability has been a key area that Ferrari have focused on during the off-season, with the Italians having had one of the fastest, but also most unreliable engines last season.

Their unreliable power unit caused chaos for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with Leclerc having retired from the race lead due to an engine failure in Azerbaijan and Spain.

Sainz also retired in Austria whilst battling Max Verstappen for second, after his power unit quite literally exploded.

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As a result of their reliability issues, the Maranello-based outfit were unable to run their engine at full power, due to fear of another failure.

Whilst performance-based engine upgrades are currently banned due to an engine freeze, reliability developments are allowed ahead of the new season.

With that in mind, Ferrari have solved and fixed the reliability issues with their engine, to the extent where they’ll benefit from an additional 30hp reportedly, due to not having to turn the power unit down.

With the engine in great condition, Vasseur believes the Italians are “in a good place” ahead of the new season, suggesting that they’re quietly confident about 2023.

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“You know the regulation is crystal clear, that the engine is almost frozen that we just can’t change something [other than] for reliability topic,” Vasseur said at the launch of the SF-23.

“Last year it’s not a secret that it was not the best aspect of the engine, but we did a good job at the factory and I think that now we are ready for the season.

“I think that last year that the window for the engine was very small, and let’s see what’s happens this season but I think we are in a good place.”

Ferrari will be hoping to see the full potential of their improved power unit at pre-season testing, which has been reduced from six days to just three.

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It means all the teams will be up against it to gather as much data as possible, with the first round being just two weeks away.

“Three days is a lot in one end and it’s nothing in the other end because we have two drivers, it’s one day and a half each, they did some training but nothing can replace the real car and the realisation they also will have the pressure of the results,” Vasseur explained.

“It means that it will be a completely different game, but I’m sure that they will be already and we will have to cover all the aspects of the car with us, but I think it will be okay.”