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'Illegal" Ferrari engine still leaves "sour taste", admits Horner

NEWS STORY
31/08/2020

What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months ago, Ferrari headed to Monza feeling mighty pleased with itself and very confident of a home win. And why not?

Having dominated the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, the Maranello outfit headed into its home race quietly confident that not only did it have the legs of the Mercedes but that the team might celebrate its first Monza 1-2 since 2004.

Though Sebastian Vettel blew his chances early in the race, Charles Leclerc did indeed give the tifosi something to celebrate, while the German subsequently made up for things in Singapore.

At which point the technical directives began to be issued and suddenly Ferrari's power advantage was no more.

Whatever the whys and wherefores of 'flow-gate', the fact is that Ferrari's revival was at an end, and as Max Verstappen openly accused the Italian team of cheating further controversy was to follow.

While the FIA launched an investigation of the Ferrari power unit, the sport's governing body and the Italian manufacturer agreed a controversial deal that meant the findings of the investigation would not be made public.

Though there were threats of legal action and all the usual huffing and puffing and posturing, the arrival of the pandemic pushed the row to the sidelines.

While we may not ever learn the truth, the fact is that from the outset this year Ferrari has lacked power, and never was the contrast more obvious than this weekend at Spa, scene of last year's emphatic victory.

A year on, and Red Bull boss, Christian Horner is still smarting from the whole sorry affair, not least over the prize money he feels his team was cheated out of by a team using an 'illegal' engine.

"The whole thing has left quite a sour taste," admitted the Briton, when asked if he found the situation frustrating. "I mean, obviously you can draw your own conclusions from Ferrari's current performance but, yeah, there are races that we should have won last year arguably if they had run with an engine that seems to be quite different to what performance that they had last year."

Looking at the team's current situation, he admitted: "It's obviously very tough for them, but I think their focus has obviously been in the wrong areas in previous years, which is why they're obviously struggling a little with whatever was in that agreement.

"You've got Mercedes as a clear leader, then I think Honda and Renault are reasonably close depending on circuits and conditions. And then you've got Ferrari obviously at the back of the queue."

Finishing 13th and 14th on Sunday, Ferrari now heads to Monza and then on to Mugello, the Tuscany track it owns and where it will 'celebrate' its 1,000th Formula One World Championship start.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spa, here.

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1. Posted by Analeta, 02/09/2020 0:55 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 02/09/2020 7:10)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

2. Posted by @R1Racing71, 31/08/2020 15:42

"Horner has a point.
While it's unlikely that the Red Bull top brass would miss a few quid, we should remember that the prize money filters down to the employees of the team, which at the very least would mean hundreds and possibly even thousands of pounds worth of bonuses would have been missed.
I know I'd be bloody p****ed off if my pay slip was light due to the cheating competition as I'm sure anyone else would be too."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Haddock, 31/08/2020 15:36

"Looking forward to Ferrari's miraculous return to form at Monza, and the FIA's predictable lack of curiosity :-("

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Wokingchap, 31/08/2020 14:11

"Blatant cheats that probably didn't need to force the F1A too much with Todt at the helm, to keep the whole illegal engine episode secret.
F1 would be better off without them."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by cav, 31/08/2020 12:38 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 02/09/2020 7:10)

"Why is "illegal" in inverted comma's? This would mean that illegal cannot directly be attributed to Ferrari & its engine last year. The fact that it is in inverted comma's indicates that this has not been proven...or established and prevents anyone using this term from prosecution for slander or other. Also, no fines were issued by the FIA...not like what has happened to Racing Point this year for copying a complete competitors car.... Strange that Simon Lazenby (head of Sky Sports F1) beats this boring drum about the Ferrari Engine at every GP...when no evidence has come out regarding the illegality of that engine. A loophole in the rules maybe... Binotto categorically denied (when interviewed recently by Rachel Brookes-and she had no evidence to dispute this) that the 2019 Ferrari engine was illegal. Why not tell it as it is...the factories in Northern Italy were forced to close during Covid 19 which struck Italy hard & long before the rest of Europe...straight after testing in Barcelona. Mercedes, Renault & Honda went back to their bases to bring updates to their engines and cars based on the results of this testing. When the Ferrari factory was able to open and upgrade the power unit, the FIA rules in the interim had frozen all updates OTHER than for reliability. Why is this not stated by these "expert" commentators. No inverted comma's needed as its FACT."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 31/08/2020 10:12

"Just to put something out there, could the FIA have penalised Ferrari for all or part of this season, making them run with restricted engine power for the illegal activities of last season, in return for the secret deal done, they do appear to slow for just a fuel flow correction. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Editor, 31/08/2020 9:49

"@ Redphyve

As we've said before: Red Bull gives you whinge"

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8. Posted by Redphyve, 31/08/2020 9:37

"I like Horner but....the incessant WHINGING....and WHINING.....
"

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9. Posted by Melonfarmer, 31/08/2020 8:58

"Surely watching Ferrari being utterly humiliated is enough? Does anyone remember that Schumacher was disqualified from the 1997 Championship even though he kept his wins? Neither Ferrari nor Red Bull *need* the prize money."

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