FIA to Postpone Qualifying Engine Modes Ban Until Italy GP

Wolff said the rule change could make the Mercedes W11 even more competitive on Sundays.

The FIA will postpone its proposed ban on qualifying engine modes until the Italian Grand Prix, according to reports.

Formula 1 teams were preparing for the ban to come into effect as early as the Belgian Grand Prix later this month, but it is believed the FIA has opted to delay the ban by a week to give F1 constructors more time to adapt.

However, it’s possible that the ban may not be introduced until the start of the 2021 season.

The FIA has said the ban on certain engine modes which allow teams to generate more horsepower from their power unit for a limited period of time in qualifying is designed to make it easier for them to ensure compliance with F1 engine regulations.

However, Mercedes have claimed the proposed in-season rule change is an attempt to make them slower and thus make the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship battles more competitive.

READ: F1 Teams Sign New Concorde Agreement, Commit Until 2025

Commenting on the proposed rule change, Championship leader Lewis Hamilton said, “They’re always trying to slow us down – but it doesn’t really change a huge amount for us, so it’s not a problem.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was quoted by Motosport.com as saying, “It has always been the case in F1 that pulling back the leaders, or what supposedly are the leaders, is something that is good for the sport.”

However, he said the rule change could actually make the Mercedes W11 even more competitive on Sundays.

“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.

“On the contrary, we think we can translate it into more performance in the race. That’s a great challenge for us that we will take on once the rule is implemented.”

Explaining how the ban could help Mercedes, Wolff said:

“If you can avoid damaging your power unit in those few qualifying laps that you have available, in Q3 and then the odd lap in the race, the damage metrics goes down dramatically.

“So five laps of quali mode not being done gives us 25 laps of more performance in the race, and that is something we believe will give us more performance,” he said.

Mercedes have scored 221 points from the first six Grand Prix of the delayed 2020 season, putting them almost 100 points ahead of closest challengers Red Bull Racing.  

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