Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas made light-hearted remarks shrugging off the impact of the FIA’s new Technical Directive, after dominating qualifying in Italy.
It was revealed last month that the FIA was to mandate the use of the same engine modes in qualifying and the race, ostensibly to rein in Mercedes.
Mercedes claimed a comfortable pole position at each of the opening seven rounds but both drivers dismissed the potential impact of the new settings.
They also indicated that the new directive was also likely to make their lives easier in race trim.
Mercedes went on to dominate qualifying at the high-speed Monza circuit on Saturday afternoon, with Hamilton besting Bottas by less than a tenth of a second.
Hamilton’s advantage over the third-placed driver, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, was over eight-tenths of a second.
The previous suspected qualifying advantage had been dubbed ‘party mode’, suggested to have been coined by Hamilton in early 2018, but repeatedly dismissed by him, though the phrase was then reference by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.
Speaking after taking pole position at Monza, Hamilton coyly remarked: “I don’t even think we ever had a party mode, that was something someone else made up.
“Who knows if we even used that mode at Spa anyway…”
Team-mate Bottas, sat alongside in the press conference, also chimed in on the situation.
“I think the car felt good, the engine felt good, and like I said before it should be even better in the race,” he said.
“Not sure how happy Red Bull is now with this engine change…”