Ferrari engines fill top four places in speed traps in qualifying at Valencia

Sebastian Vettel\'s Ferrari engine powered him to a top speed of 308.4kph

Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari engine powered him to a top speed of 308.4kph

So much for Mercedes giving McLaren a 25 horsepower advantage – the engine doing the business at Valencia this weekend is the Ferrari. Here’s who set the top four maximum speeds in the second sector of the lap at Valencia (where the highest speeds are reached) during qualifying today:

Position Drivers Car Speed
1 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 308.4kph
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 308.2kph
3 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 308kph
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 307.6kph

The same four Ferrari-powered drivers were also quickest through the speed trap in sector one:

Position Drivers Car Speed
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 287.7kph
2 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 287.1kph
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 287kph
4 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 285kph

The Ferrari-powered Force Indias were further up the maximum times sheets than they had been at Hungary as well, with Giancarlo Fisichella 12th at the finishing line and he and team mate Adrian Sutil sharing a 13th each in the other two sectors.

Unlike Ferrari and probably Mercedes, Renault have not been using the opportunities affored by the rules to develop their V8s. As far as Mark Webber is that is a significant part of the reason why the Toro Rosso-Ferraris are now ahead of the Red Bull-Renaults, both of which share very similar chassis:

[Toro Rosso] have been coming and with that sort of horsepower you can’t deal with it. Their drivers are doing a good job – you can’t drive around here doing that sort of time without doing a good job, that’s clear, but they do have a stronger package at the moment.

It seems to be more evidence that, despite the supposed freeze on engine development, some engines are more powerful than others and are being developed more quickly.

With Valencia clearly a track that rewards a strong engine, and Felipe Massa starting from pole position tomorrow, a win for the Brazilian driver looks very likely.

Unless of course he falls victim to another characteristic of the Ferrari engine that has not been so favourable – its unreliability, which cost him a win at Hungary.

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7 comments on Ferrari engines fill top four places in speed traps in qualifying at Valencia

  1. the limit said on 24th August 2008, 3:02

    I had to chuckle at that statistic, following on from the story concerning McLaren and their alledged ‘power’ advantage at the moment. Ferrari can never be written off, and when you see that statistic, who can blame Toro Rosso for buying Ferrari muscle?
    It does, as you rightly point out Keith, that the ‘engine freeze’ is not exactly producing a ‘level
    playing field’. What a surprise!
    As for Massa’s engine this time out, atleast he knows that this is a fresh engine, after his last one flame grilled itself on the start/finish straight in Budapest.
    This track appears to be one where the drivers can make good use of their power plants, though as Hungary taught us, nothing is cast in stone.

  2. Two points. To chuck in the conspiracy theorist spanner, what if McLaren/Mercedes have turned the wick down after this story broke? Not surprising that they’d be gun shy after last season.

    Secondly, isn’t it amazing that the anti-Ferrari/Schumi crew aren’t spouting about this (apparent engine development) everywhere. If Michael Schumacher was still racing for Ferrari, can you imagine the acidic vitriol that would be inundating forums and blogs?! And if he was currently leading the championship, well….

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th August 2008, 10:13

    Toby – I know what you mean about Ferrari but I think a lot of people who read this site are wise to the ways of Formula 1 and they know that any opportunity to develop the cars will always be exploited. I think there was more surprise that Renault were not developing their engine…

  4. M Smith said on 24th August 2008, 11:11

    Yes, it was certainly a surprise when Renault went from the most desired engine in the field to possibly the 5th least powerful engine in the field (maybe even beneath Honda’s powerplant? I find that engine hard to judge since its only in the Honda) in 2 years…

    Thanks for the statistics Keith, yeah so much for Mercedes having the 25bhp advantage.

  5. Historically Renault have always had the engine with least horsepower. They just had clever ways of getting around it, such as 72% V8 engine.

    the Engine freeze hurt them in that way too, the teams have to have a 90% V config now.

    I feel sorry for Force India, having such an old chassis, doing wonderful things with it though!.

  6. i think the torro rossos were just really light

  7. motion said on 24th August 2008, 11:35

    Hey John, and when they were all light together Vettel ran quickest of all the field

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