Ferrari’s power surge has stumped their F1 rivals with the Scuderia’s engine upgrade worth around a third of a second – reckoned to be the equivalent of two years of development work.
After qualifying for the German GP, in which Sebastian Vettel secured pole position over Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff revealed the team calculated they had lost half a second along Hockenheim’s straights to the Ferrari.
“If we want to stay in this championship, we have had a severe warning today,” said Wolff.
“They have a great power unit. We were looking good in all types of corners but we are not able to match their straight-line performance.”
Wolff added: “We need to find out how we can improve our power output.”
“It is a worry. If others are capable of achieving that we ought to be able to achieve that.”
For the first time in F1 hybrid’s era, Ferrari rather than Mercedes currently possess F1’s strongest engine – an upgrade which has powered the Scuderia to the top of both championships and propelled customers Sauber and Haas up the field.
“There is a lot of head scratching going on. Ferrari have found something awesome,” 2016 F1 world champion Nico Rosberg told Sky F1 during coverage of qualifying for the German GP.