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2019 F1

Steiner plays down claims about sweet-smelling fuel

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Gunther Steiner has played down claims the secret of Ferrari’s success in 2019 is a sweet-smelling fuel.

Although the Italian team is yet to win a race, rivals including Mercedes and Red Bull-Honda were stunned in Bahrain to see Ferrari so much faster in a straight line.

In the days after, Red Bull’s Christian Horner revealed that he can smell grapefruit coming from the Ferrari garage when the red cars are being refuelled.

Dr Helmut Marko corrected him, saying it smells more like strawberry.

“At the beginning of the season we had a meeting with Ferrari and we were asked what flavour we would like,” Steiner, the boss of Ferrari-powered Haas, joked in Shanghai. “Personally, we went for raspberry.

“Seriously, I have never heard that the fuel smells like fruit,” he insisted. “And I think if there was such a smell in our garage, we would have noticed.”

Haas uses the same engine as Ferrari this year, but less clear is whether the fuel is identical.

“You can see some differences on the GPS,” Steiner said when asked to compare Ferrari and Haas in terms of horsepower.

“Ferrari is very fast, and many claim that it is the engine. But I think it’s necessary to talk about a whole combination of factors, including the level of drag.”

Asked if Haas’ Shell fuel is the same as Ferrari’s, Steiner insisted: “Exactly the same. I really don’t know what’s different about them compared to us.”

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