Toto Wolff revealed that FIA representatives including Formula One’s race director Charlie Whiting visited the Mercedes motorhome today, but the Austrian described the meeting as “regular business”.
Mercedes have been the dominant force since 2014 when the double-hybrid power unit was introduced. The Anglo-German team’s performance advantage was mainly down to its seemingly unbeatable power unit, the squad hailed multiple times the efficiency of its hybrid unit. After Ferrari made significant gains in 2017, the Italian team closed that gap on the engine side even more coming into the 2018 championship to erase that deficit completely for the summer races.
Feeling the pressure, the reigning world champion team filed a complaint in May which prompted the FIA to launch a thorough investigation into the legality of the Ferrari power unit. Following a three-week-long scrutiny, the governing body found nothing illegal, but asked the Italian team to make modifications to the hardware and software of its power unit to calm down the rivals.
Ferrari then presented itself in a very commanding way in the Silverstone and Hockenheim qualifying, GPS data showed that the SF71H was gaining huge chunk of times on the long straights. As Mercedes finds it difficult to accept that it lost its huge competitive advantage, it commenced a investigation into how it can regain its power advantage. FIA race director Charlie Whiting and other FIA representatives met Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff in Hockenheim on Saturday to discuss power unit issues.
"It's very important from the mindset you need to have, to say 'What can we do in order to achieve that power output?' rather than looking over and saying, 'it's not legal'. We are in a situation that we are looking at ourselves, how can we achieve that, and if we cannot achieve it, how can somebody else achieve it?" Wolff is quoted as saying by autosport.com.
The former race driver and instructor estimated the power loss to Ferrari at half a second during the German Grand Prix qualifying session.
"We need to find out how we can increase out power output, and not one single second I want to look at Ferrari, I want to look at ourselves, look at Mercedes and say 'is there anything we have missed?'
"If we want to win this championship, or stay in the hunt in this championship, we've got a severe warning today in terms of what we have seen," the Austrian concluded.