Observers at pre-season F1 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya witnessed an unusual sight which caused a stir among Ferrari fans as the SF71-H released plumes of smoke which could be seen in the pit lane.
It was not only the Scuderia’s new car, designed for the 2018 season, which exhibited this problem. Each of the garagistas, a word coined by the legendary Enzo Ferrari in the early days of Formula One, suffered similar issues. As a result the Ferrari-supplied Haas and Sauber teams displayed similar issues.
F1 pundits felt they had an explanation. Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz felt that it had something to do with the design of the vent which is located in the rear of the car by the light housing in the structure which accommodates the oil breather.
Whilst breathers feature on all engines on F1 cars, they are subject to a regulation introduced this season that involves a clampdown on alternative uses of fluids as well as oil. Article 5.1.12 of the regulations states that any breather fluids must leave the car at the back – also, they cannot be recycled and used in the engine.
It states that all power unit breathers must vent to the atmosphere and pass through an opening positioned behind the centre line of the rear axle with exact measurements for the distance to the car centre plane. Significantly, breather fluids cannot enter the power unit.
Observers noted that the cars with Ferrari engines seemed to be releasing greater amounts of oil than their counterparts. It was clear that when Scuderia pilot Sebastian Vettel engaged his engine before exiting his garage, smoke was visible outside. The consensus seemed to be a Ferrari engine just uses more oil than power units in other cars.
This may be a problem, since oil burning is now limited within the course of a race to 1.8 litres.
Fans will get a closer view of the Ferraris and their competitors if they have an F1 Paddock Club pass provided by race package sellers such as https://edgeglobalevents.com/f1-paddock-club/.
The Tifiosi always believe their cars are smoking hot, but fans of other teams will be watching closely to see whether the Milan-based team are pushing the regulations to the limit or falling foul of the new stricter regulations.