Honda had been clear over the winter, it is a mistake to expect the same horsepower from 2022 power units in light of using new biofuels made with 10% ethanol. These were the words released to the newspaper Autosport from Yasuaki Asagiat the head of the development of the RA621H, the Honda power unit: “The engine architecture had already been set in 2021 and we had to make corrections because the power and energy for the same weight of an E10 petrol (the acronym that identifies biofuels 2022) they are reduced, because it is the characteristic of alcoholic fuel (i.e. with a percentage of ethanol inside)“. Obviously, the corrections made were not sufficient at the moment to find the correct combination of power and reliability. The performance of the power unit is not discussed, but the reliability is back to pre-2019 levels, when after a three-year nightmare with McLaren the then Toro Rosso was the traveling laboratory of Honda in view of the partnership with Red Bull starting from 2019.
In 2019 it was Ferrari that impressed with the performance of the power unit, performance then drastically reduced in 2020 following the secret agreement between the Scuderia di Maranello and the FIA, notified on the occasion of the conclusion of the 2020 winter tests held in Barcelona. The press release issued by the Federation was the following: “The FIA announces that, after in-depth technical investigations, it has concluded its analysis of the functioning of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 power unit and has reached an agreement with the team. The specifics of the agreement will remain between the parties. The FIA and Scuderia Ferrari have agreed on a series of technical commitments that will improve the monitoring of all Formula 1 power units for the next championship seasons, as well as to assist the FIA in other regulatory tasks in Formula 1 and in its research activities on carbon emissions and sustainable fuels“.
Regarding the agreement between Ferrari and the Federation, the team principal Mattia Binotto in an interview released after Sky Sport F1 had strongly emphasized that the Scuderia di Maranello had never been found irregular following any analysis conducted by the FIA and that of course the number one of Maranello wanted to protect the industrial secret relating to the Ferrari power unit from the prying eyes of the adversaries: “The Federation has never found us irregular. If he had found us irregular he would have disqualified us. the Federation has checked us for many races, at every single GP, to try to understand and ascertain, without ever finding an irregularity. The agreement was to say ‘let’s focus on the future, let’s help us understand the gray areas’. There have been clarifications on these. Secret deal? I would say it’s normal: what should we do, show everyone our engine and our secrets? Nobody has ever done it in F1, we don’t have to start doing it ourselves ”.
The conclusion of the press release of the Federation that we have reported in its entirety evokes the sustainable fuels that made their debut this season which is marking the redemption of the Scuderia di Maranello from all points of view, from the management of the tires to the power of the power unit, even at the moment. sipped so as not to jeopardize the reliability. Marc Surerformer F1 driver, interviewed by the German newspaper F1-insider.com emphasized precisely two aspects by analyzing the strengths of the F1-75 and among these is the excellent work of the partner Shell in terms of fuel: “In Maranello they built a compact car that may not be as fast as the Red Bull, but it is relatively easy to set up in terms of set-up. The RB18, on the other hand, is much more sophisticated (it is no coincidence that Helmut Marko called her a ‘prima donna’). For Ferrari it is easier to express maximum performance, or in any case to get close to it. In addition, the FIA press release in which reference was made to sustainable fuels should not be forgotten. It is likely that Ferrari may have made the most of this regulatory change by focusing on research on biofuels for longer than its rivals ”.