Ferrari’s power unit is the weakest of the current four packages in F1, analysis conducted by Formula1News.co.uk indicates.
We looked at the top speeds achieved at various points of the six tracks raced at so far this season, and made necessary adjustments to account for the level of drag we expected each car to be generating with its set-up at the time.
All the data was taken from dry running in qualifying and the races, as changeable weather conditions and free practice sessions add more hard-to-gauge variables to the equation.
Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the Honda and Renault power units are producing marginally more power than the Ferrari package, while Mercedes’ unit is considerably stronger than the others.
Unsurprisingly, the Silver Arrows’ power margin over the rest of the grid was particularly large in the final session of qualifying, as they utilise an extra high-power mode which they only use for a few laps over the course of a grand prix weekend.
It’s difficult to accurately determine the power output of each power unit using this methodology, but it seems the Honda package is generating slightly stronger than Renault’s power unit.
Ferrari had the strongest power unit last season, but the team had to make adjustments following an FIA investigation into its legality which ended with the two reaching a secret agreement.
While the power deficit certainly accounts for a large chunk of the Ferrari SF1000’s pace disadvantage, it was clear that the car also lacks aerodynamic performance and mechanical grip relative to the Mercedes W11 and the Red Bull RB16 when we compared all three cars’ times in relevant sectors.
The fall in power output has also resulted in customer teams Alfa Romeo and Haas losing out to their midfield rivals this season.