FIA is set to make a major change to F1 qualifying, which can affect Mercedes and some other teams. According to reports, teams could be restricted from operating their ‘special’ engine modes during qualifying sessions. However, this rule doesn’t come into effect during this week’s Spanish Grand Prix, but may effectively come into play as early as the race in Belgium, on the 30th of August.
The teams tend to use specialized engine modes during the qualifying. The specialized engine modes help the teams to extract more power from the engine, helping them achieve the best possible grid position for the race day.
These full power modes tend to demand the maximum amount of engine battery life and power. Thus, teams operate these high-performance modes only during qualifying sessions, but not during the race.
According to the new rule, FIA could make it necessary for the teams to run their qualifying modes for a certain duration of the race.
However, the highest power modes of these engines cannot be used for more than a few laps, before risking serious damage on the engine. This would mean that teams would have to use different and less-powered engine modes during the qualifying, which can be used during the race as well.
However, this new rule could yet be pushed to 2021, after further discussions.
Mercedes Driver Valtteri Bottas gives insight into the team’s usage of engine modes
According to Mercedes F1 driver, it’s unlikely that the Mercedes would be affected too much due to the rule change. He reveals that the pace the W11 naturally possesses makes it unnecessary to use high powered engine modes during every qualifying session.
He said, “We know that with the quick car we have, we don’t necessarily have to use the highest engine mode in Q1. If we can save the engine, we save it. And towards the end of the quali, we are going to be running full power.”
Mercedes have so far dominated all the qualifying sessions. The silver arrows have locked out the front row in 4 out of 5 races so far. As the season progresses, it won’t be wrong to assume that this domination is only going to increase.
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