Ferrari leapfrogged not only McLaren but also Red Bull at Silverstone, but the question now is whether the Italian team will maintain its pace in Germany in two weeks.
Fernando Alonso’s winning pace in Britain coincided not only with a new package for the 150 Italia car, but also changeable weather and the fact that the Spaniard did not have to use the hardest compound tyre en route to victory.
But also significant is the fact that Silverstone was the debut of the FIA’s full clampdown on off-throttle exhaust blowing.
Der Spiegel reports that, when unfettered blowing was allowed in Valencia and earlier, Ferrari-powered teams were only able to rev their engines to 50 per cent at the most when the driver was not on the throttle.
And unfortunately for the famous Maranello based team, the regulations will return to Valencia specification at the Nurburgring and beyond.
So will the 150 Italia lose its advantage in Germany?
“I think it would be unfair to say that. I think there will be people who conclude it,” said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
“Ferrari have been pushing this year, pushing hard, they deserved a win.”
Ferrari test driver Marc Gene said that at Silverstone, where the regulations changed multiple times, the improved 2011 car was consistently competitive.
“We were good when we were blowing 50, 20 or 10 per cent,” the Spaniard told El Mundo newspaper. “There are teams who think we benefit the most but it (the better pace) has nothing to do with it.”
Niki Lauda, however, thinks the discussion is moot, given Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel’s huge championship points advantage.
“Sebastian is clearly on course for the championship,” the triple world champion told Germany’s N-TV.