F1: Ferrari introducing new power unit four weeks early

Despite heading into the season as favourites – at least according to Mercedes – after the opening four races Ferrari trails its German rivals by 74 points.

While the Silver Arrows have scored four successive 1-2s, the best start to a season for a team in the sport’s history, Ferrari has only managed three appearances on the podium.

Consequently, though the Maranello engine was widely considered the most powerful of the 2019 grid, the Italian team is introducing its new unit four weeks earlier than planned.

“The Spanish GP is traditionally a race where most of the teams bring some updates,” said team boss Mattia Binotto, “therefore we can expect to see a step up in performance from our competitors.

“We are currently behind in the championship and we have to catch up, which we know means that our development work will be the key to this season,” he admitted.

“Having brought a new aerodynamic package to Baku, we will also bring some developments in this area to Barcelona,” he continued. “On top of that, we will have a new power unit that we are introducing ahead of schedule, as the second specification was due to be brought to Canada.

“Shell, in close collaboration with our team, has developed a different formulation of race lubricant that will also be introduced with the new power unit, delivering increased performance. It’s down to a big team effort with everyone pushing hard to make up ground that we have been able to bring these developments forward.”

While the new engine will be welcomed by the team’s drivers, both of whom admit that work was needed if Mercedes was to be taken fully on, it is strategy where the Maranello outfit has really lost out to Mercedes in most of the opening races.