Ferrari has disputed the Balance of Performance in the GTE-Pro class ahead of tomorrow’s penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Shanghai.
The pair of AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs, which topped the time charts in Friday’s Free Practice 2, struggled to find pace on Saturday, after what the Italian manufacturer initially claimed was due to an overnight Balance of Performance adjustment.
The FIA clarified that no BoP change was made, but rather a minor atmospheric pressure adjustment to compensate for a change in ambient temperatures to equalize performance between normally aspirated and turbocharged cars.
Ford, meanwhile, dominated qualifying, claiming its second consecutive front row sweep, following a commanding 1-2 run in the last round at Fuji Speedway.
Rumors of Ferrari lodging a protest and possible boycott from the season-ending round in Bahrain made the rounds in the paddock, although it’s understood there were lengthy meetings between representatives from the Italian manufacturer, the FIA and ACO this evening.
Both AF Corse team principal Amato Ferrari and Antonello Coletta, head of Ferrari’s GT racing activities, declined comment when reached by Sportscar365 on the developing situation.
The team’s drivers, however, voiced their displeasure over the alleged gap in performance post-qualifying.
“The big question I want to ask is how the other cars can find 2.5 seconds from yesterday to today,” Gianmaria Bruni told Sportscar365. “We only found three-tenths from my best lap yesterday to my best lap today.”
Bruni and co-driver James Calado qualified fourth in class for Sunday’s race, with a best two-lap average that was nearly one-second slower than the pole-sitting Ford.
“It’s just ridiculous. [We’re in another] class,” Calado told Sportscar365. “It’s annoying when you work hard over the year to find hundreds, tenths in tires or in setup or balance.
“As soon as we put that work down to the ground, they take it off again. There’s nothing we can do. We’re a passenger in the car. We can’t show our true skill.”
Ferrari has been winless in WEC competition since the fourth round of the season at the Nürburgring, although the 488 GTEs received a slight increase in mid-to-high range boost for this weekend.
The latest BoP change, made prior to the weekend, was the ninth adjustment made to the class since the start of the season.
It comes while in an ultra-tight battle for the GT Manufacturers’ Cup, which sees Ferrari with a slim three-point lead over Aston Martin with two rounds to go.