We had anticipated it in the morning when we wrote that the superiority of Red Bull could not be limited only and only to the more deliberate aerodynamic set-up on the RB16Bs. Now we also have tangible proof: the sound level measurements that were carried out in Spielberg during the Styrian GP indicate that Honda has closed the power gap from the Mercedes power unit with the adoption of engine 2.
There was a difference of 16 horsepower in favor of the Star’s power unit in the Baku measurements, but that margin seems to have vanished since the number 2 RA621 H engine went into action at Paul Ricard on the two Red Bulls and AlphaTauri.
The Japanese want to leave F1 leaving their mark and they are succeeding: they have worked on the management of the turbo and on the exploitation of the hybrid system. Interventions that are by no means prohibited, given that the power unit hardware is identical to that of the engine approved at the beginning of the season.
“I don’t know if their superiority is due to the greater power or the low wing – said Lewis Hamilton – the fact is that they are faster than us on the straight. Here we are racing again next week and there will be no time to change the car in three days. They brought updates and we will have to react by working ”.
Adds Toto Wolff: “Honda has brought a new engine to France that is not only strong with Red Bull but also with Gasly and Tsunoda. The regulation says that updates can be authorized to improve reliability, but not performance ”.
The doubt has been insinuated, even if the question has not been posed in peremptory terms: the teams do not need the phonometric tests to detect the powers because they have GPS data, but the question is on the table. By keeping the same parts that make up the engine, is it possible to earn about fifteen horsepower? This is the question that will seek an answer that can be worth a world cup.
According to Mattia Binotto, Ferrari team principal, Red Bull has not increased the power on engine 2: “Let’s see the GPS data and Red Bull has the same power as there was in Bahrain. They probably couldn’t use it all the time and now it seems they have solved the reliability problems and have returned to the values at the beginning of the championship “.
The Ferrari explanation helps to understand the current situation and gives an interesting key to Red Bull’s development work: that it has the best chassis and the most efficient aerodynamics does not question anyone, but Mercedes for the first time since the hybrid formula was launched undergoes a clear superiority of the competition.
Given the development limits dictated by the budget cap and the decision to direct all human and technical resources to the 2022 single-seater, the game of reliability in which Mercedes feels even superior becomes fundamental. Red Bull is squeezing the Honda engine (Pierre Gasly has already arrived at the use of the third MGU-H on his AlphaTauri): will this be the key to the championship?