Ferrari believe a “miscombustion on one cylinder” was the cause of Charles Leclerc’s engine problems in Bahrain, not an MGU-H failure.
Leclerc was leading Sunday night’s race at the Bahrain International Circuit when he reported a problem with his engine.
Losing five seconds a lap to those behind, he was quickly caught by Lewis Hamilton before the others Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas also overtook him.
Leclerc would have lost more ground were it not for a late Safety Car neutralising the race.
The Monaco driver, though, was still gutted as his first Formula 1 grand prix win was stolen by car troubles.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 31, 2019
Those troubles, team boss Mattia Binotto said, were the result of a cylinder failure.
“We are checking now the engine so we do not have yet a clear explanation of what happened,” he said. “It is an engine problem.
“We had miscombustion on one cylinder but [the reason is] to be understood.
“The engine will go back to Maranello for careful checks because when something like this happens you need to take your time to do your checks carefully. But the engine was running at the end of the race so it is still able to run.
“We will use it certainly on the Friday in China and we have an entire Friday to assess its behaviour, its functionality and its performance.”
As for the initial assessment that it was an MGU-H problem, Binotto said: “I don’t know where the rumours came from. There was nothing wrong with the MGU-H.
“When something like that happens you try to move on the recovery in terms of any combustion control mapping that you may do, at least you try to change mappings.
“You try to see if there is any way to make it better. That was not the case today so we had to manage the race.
“It has been a brave decision to continue racing in those conditions. But at the end it was a third place that was important so finally probably the right decision.”
Binotto believes Sunday’s problem, despite its huge consequences, will be an easy one to fix.
“It is a single problem that will be easily addressed. It is not related to the way we are using the engine or the mapping or whatever,” he said.
“It has to be a single component failure that we will find out.”