Amid speculation that some of Ferrari’s rivals may be tampering with lower tyre pressures to gain a competitive advantage, Ferrari’s Jock Clear has dismissed the suspicion.
The Scuderia’s performance in qualifying has lagged recently compared to Mercedes and Red Bull, which has prompted speculation that the two outfits may have found a subtle way around Pirelli’s mandatory tyre pressure limits.
“Lower pressures will give you more grip,” the British engineer explained to German publication Auto Motor und Sport.
“But for one lap in qualifying, it is easier to keep the pressures in the window where you want them.”
“We do not believe the stories that some teams can lower their tyre pressures significantly. Perhaps half a PSI, but not two. We think that’s impossible.
“There’s a lot of talk about smart solutions that get the heat out of the wheels, but they are all illegal. The FIA has confirmed that all the cars are legal and we have no reason to doubt that.”
While Ferrari has yet to bridge the performance gap with Mercedes, Clear insists the relative difference has improved compared to last year.
“The gap to Mercedes is bigger than we had calculated, but it’s smaller than the average of last season and the last race of 2015.
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“That’s the positive side. We are closing the gap to Mercedes, and we are sure that the two performance curves will overlap in the future. The only question is when.”
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