Ferrari team boss Fredrric Vasseur has dismissed recent speculation that Ferrari could be set to unleash a power unit package with a 30bph increase on last season’s machinery, branding such claims “a joke”.
Although the current F1 engine manufacturers are no longer permitted to develop improvements to enhance performance since the introduction of an engine freeze was enforced before the start of the 2021 season to neutralise costs ahead of the 2026 regulation change, alterations to reliability can continue to be adapted at the discretion of the FIA.
Ferrari became the power unit manufacturer most hampered by reliability concerns last season, with catastrophic engine failures from the lead for Charles Leclerc in both Azerbaijan and Spain causing the Scuderia to reduce their power output for the remainder of the season.
While a recent report from the Italian site, La Gazzetta dello Sport, suggested that Ferrari’s perennial rivals, Mercedes and Red Bull, have also made reasonable horsepower gains over the winter, it’s been speculated the Italian outfit is the manufacturer who has yielded the biggest advantage.
However, speaking to the media for the first time since his appointment as Ferrari boss, Vasseur has admitted the number that’s been banded around is news to him and subsequently rubbished the circulation of unfounded rumours.
“Regarding the engine, the numbers – I don’t know where those numbers are coming from but it’s just a joke,” Vasseur said.
Despite refusing to be drawn on numerical figures relating to any possible performance advancement on the engine side, Vasseur hasn’t disregarded that there had been promising signs in the progress made to tackle Ferrari’s reliability troubles back at their Maranello base.
But the Frenchman has again kept his cards close to his best and been reluctant to issue any conclusions on the success of their attempts until the car hits the track in pre-season testing.
“We have made some step [on the power unit], but it’s just about reliability.
“I think the performance last year was not an issue at all, but the issue was the reliability, and the first target is to fix it.
“So far it looks okay, but the reality on the track is a different perspective.
“I think that a couple of issues that the team suffered [from], and its not only true for Ferrari in terms of reliability, are also coming from the bouncing and vibration.
“Everybody will have a much better picture in Bahrain.”