Leclerc: Ferrari F1 engine legality talk designed to “destabilise”

Formula 1

Charles Leclerc thinks questions about the legality of Ferrari’s Formula 1 engines are an attempt to “destabilise” his team – which he insists is not worried about the situation.

Amid Ferrari’s current F1 power advantage, Autosport revealed that a number of its rivals had written to the FIA seeking clarification about the legality of some of the concepts behind its power unit.

It is understood that these related to its oil intercooler and its energy recovery system, which rivals believe are key to the gains Ferrari has made this season.

But with no official protest having been lodged, Ferrari is comfortable with where things currently stand and Leclerc is far from concerned.

“I think any time a team is in a good moment, obviously everyone is looking at the small things to try and destabilise the team,” he said. “That’s not happening.

“We are very confident inside the team that there is no problem with that, so it doesn’t affect us.”

Red Bull-Honda’s Max Verstappen labelled Ferrari’s current power advantage ‘insane’, and believes that edge will make it unbeatable in this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Despite having won at Mexico City for the past two years, Verstappen thinks his team will not be as strong as it was in the past – and will not be able to fight for victory even if it is comfortably fastest over a single lap.

“From the Ferrari side over the year they gained more and more power,” he said. “I think it’s very hard to beat that to be honest. Even if you have a car half a second faster it’s still almost impossible to beat them in qualifying.

“As you can see with Mercedes, they have the best car compared to them and still in qualifying they are lacking compared to them. It’s insane the speed difference they have.”

Asked if he knew where that power leap had come from, Verstappen said: “No otherwise of course we would have implemented that in our engine.

“We keep pushing from our side to try and gain more power but the deficit is really big.

“When we look to Mercedes and Renault I think we are looking strong, we are not really lacking that much.

“Of course Mercedes normally run more downforce than us but we are close to them, so I guess that’s already a good achievement.”

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