Actually, the intention was to ban different engine modes between qualifying and the race already at Spa – in order to be able to control the legal operation of the power units better.
The FIA was planning to ban the qualifying mode from the Belgian Grand Prix, but the international motorsport federation now seems to be opting for the same engine mode only from the Italian Grand Prix onwards.
That’s what Racefans says. Because the new rule has been postponed for a week, the teams have extra time to prepare for this major change. The new restriction will be enforced because a new technical directive will be issued.
The qualifiying mode, also called the party mode, will be used by the race team to get extra power and to achieve a faster lap time. This qualifying mode can only be used very minimally, as the power unit is actually asked to perform above it.
Due to the ban on qualifying mode, teams in Formula 1 now have to decide which engine mode they want to drive with for the rest of the Grand Prix weekend. The FIA hopes that this will narrow the gap between Mercedes and the other teams. It remains to be seen whether this will work, however, as it is possible that Lewis Hamiton and Valtteri Bottas will get more power on the Sunday where they are less dominant than during qualifying.
End of domination for Mercedes?
The reason, says the Graz native: “In Barcelona we lost at least half a second on Mercedes in qualifying due to the party mode, in Spa it would have been eight tenths. We’re improving in the chassis area every weekend, getting closer and closer to Mercedes. That’s why I believe that we’ll be on par with Mercedes in Belgium in qualifying as well.”
Marko continues: “This is very important for us because we haven’t given up our big goal yet: We still want to make Max Verstappen the youngest world champion of all time. We know what else is in the car. In 2012 we’ll be 60 points behind Alonso. …with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel.”
Why the party ban has now been moved is not clear. Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff had not publicly resisted the new rule. “If this ‘party mode’ takes a few laps away from us in qualifying, then we can go four or five times higher in the race with more power,” the Austrian warned his rivals.
He even understands the simplification, “so that it’s easier to control”. Wolff: “It’s a very complex method between the combustion engine and the entire energy recovery system, and with a single mode it will be easier for the FIA to really see if everything is in conformity.”
However, the Viennese also admits that Mercedes is supposed to be slowed down by this: “For years we have concentrated on making this specific aspect work, and now you come from the far left and say we don’t want this anymore. But the rule must first be precisely defined. In the end, I think it’s simply a new challenge for us.” But not yet in Spa…
BAN ‘PARTY MODE’ FOR MONZA GP BAN ‘PARTY MODE’ FOR MONZA GP