Lewis Hamilton has called the FIA’s decision to ban qualifying engine modes “not a surprise”, and says it is obviously aimed at slowing Mercedes.
Teams use various engine modes throughout a race weekend, but often have special ‘qualifying modes’, which turn the engine up to the absolute maximum for a couple of laps, but these modes cannot be run for long periods of time and therefore aren’t run during a race.
Mercedes have such a qualifying advantage when they turn their power unit up that some have suggested the move, which is set to come into effect after this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, is solely aimed at slowing them down to close the pack up, a claim Hamilton backs.
“It’s not a surprise, 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,” said the Briton on Thursday.
“The guys at our team have just done such a good job with the engine.
“It’s obviously to slow us down but I don’t think it’s going to get the result that they want. But that’s totally fine if they do it.”
The FIA claims the ban is because such engine modes make it “extremely difficult for the FIA to monitor compliance with all the PU-related regulations and provisions in selected critical moments of the event”.
It also suggests Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which states that a driver must drive the car alone and unaided, could be breached, although it’s not exactly clear how that rule applies.