Mercedes: Red Bull have benefitted from limits on engine modes

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Red Bull have moved closer to Mercedes thanks to the limits on engine modes, trackside engineering chief Andrew Shovlin claims.

Back at Monza, Formula 1 restricted drivers to just a single power setting across both qualifying and the race in what the FIA said was a move to help police the engine regulations.

At the seven races beforehand, and indeed throughout the hybrid era, however, Mercedes have been known for having what became known as a 'party mode', which gave the drivers a significant increase in power over a short period.

Without that now at their disposal, Red Bull have gradually closed the gap on a Saturday, with Max Verstappen just over two-tenths slower than Valtteri Bottas' pole time at the Eifel Grand Prix.

“Red Bull are closer to us,” Shovlin told the F1 Nation podcast after the Nurburgring weekend.

Also Read:

"In qualifying, Lewis and Max both did their best times in Q2, and if you look at everyone’s best times, it’s very, very close at the front.

"I think Valtteri just put together a brilliant lap when it actually counted. They’ve been closing on us over the course of the year.”

While Mercedes have confirmed one reason for that is the decision to stop bringing upgrades to their W11 car, the engineering chief did highlight the limit on their engine advantage.

“Definitely the changes in the engine modes to stop the qualifying modes have brought them a step closer,” he added. “I think they are developing quicker than we are at the moment and we’ve seen that progressively.

“But to be honest, we’ve seen that in most of the recent years. They tend to not start as strongly as we do, but I can’t really think of a year recently where they’ve not been with us by the end.

“If we see that trend continue then the remaining races are going to get tougher and it will be harder to try and keep getting the cars on pole on Saturday and winning on a Sunday.”