Last week, amidst talk of Ferrari‘s apparent loss of pace in the races after the summer break, particularly in Singapore and Russia, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport suggested it was down to the fitting of an additional sensor in Ferrari‘s energy recovery system, which uniquely features two batteries.
Asked about the claim in Japan, Maurizio Arrivabene appeared more interested in how news of the sensor had got into the public domain.
“Our battery layout is quite complex,” he told Sky Italia, “so we agreed with a request from the FIA to work together with them.
“We had the second sensor,” he admitted, “but it does not change in any case the performance of our car.
“Despite that, I find it strange that everybody knows about the second sensor,” he continued. “I’ve said our battery layout is quite complex, but it’s also the intellectual property of Ferrari. I hope that, as everybody knows about the second sensor, in the future everybody is not going to be informed about our project. That could be a serious matter.”
Speaking in the wake of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, which saw Ferrari lose further ground to Mercedes, Charlie Whiting was adamant that the FIA’s monitoring of Ferrari‘s energy recovery system has played no part in the team’s “tail-off”.
“I am not quite sure why that has happened, this drop in form,” he said. “There was some speculation that it is due to this magic sensor that we made them put on. I am not going to go any further than that, but I will say that from an engine performance perspective we don’t agree with what has been suggested. There is no link at all.”
Referring to Ferrari‘s unease at how news of the additional sensor was made public, Whiting revealed that he had met with Arrivabene to discuss the matter.
“We spoke, and it is clear now,” he said. “I don’t think I should tell you what we discussed, but it is all clear on both sides.”
Asked when the second sensor was fitted, he replied: “If I do that, unfortunately I will be telling you all about Ferrari‘s car and hence I will be telling all the other teams about Ferrari‘s car, and that is not something I can do.”