Formula 1 Racing

Ferrari now has best F1 engine but tyre wear is worse, says Marko

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

In 2022, the Ferrari F1-75 proved the most accelerative car out of low-speed corners but fell back compared to the Honda-powered Red Bull at higher speed.

However, the GPS data from pre-season testing and the first race of the new season in Bahrain suggests that the two teams have now swapped over, with Ferrari topping the speed traps during the grand prix weekend.

During Q3 in Bahrain, both Ferraris carried an extra 1mph down the main straight over Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez and an additional 1.9mph for shorter blast between Turns 10 and 11.  

That has led Marko to conclude that Ferrari now has the best-peforming power unit on the grid, while Mercedes might have slipped to third after its 2014-20 dominance of the 1.6-litre turbo-hybrid era.

Speaking to Autosport/, Marko said: “We don’t have exact power unit figures, but based on various comparisons and information, we generally assume that Ferrari is the most powerful engine.

“Then comes Honda, and then Mercedes is pretty much on a par. Renault brings up the rear.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Despite the supposed power advantage, neither Charles Leclerc nor Carlos Sainz could mount a credible threat for victory in Bahrain as both struggled with extreme rear degradation compared to Red Bull and the Aston Martins.

The Scuderia top brass reckon this a one-off, though, and could be isolated to the particularly extreme ‘cheese grater’-like asphalt in Bahrain.

But Marko reckons Ferrari, which struggled already with degradation in 2022, has “worsened” with its management of the Pirellis compared to Red Bull.

The Austrian said: “We assumed that the teams – I’ll take Ferrari and Mercedes first and foremost – would work on their weaknesses.

“Let’s take Ferrari. Top speed has improved significantly, but tyre wear, the crucial thing, has not improved at all. And I would say it’s almost worsened compared to us.

“For Mercedes, the start is similarly bumpy as it was last year. The only thing is that I don’t think there will be a solution in a hurry.”

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