Ferrari engine issue ‘not a cause for concern’

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel PA

Sebastian Vettel PA

Ferrari have put Friday’s engine failure down to a “non-structural problem” related to the “lubrication system” of the SF1000’s power unit.

After two days of trouble-free running, Sebastian Vettel ground to a halt two hours into the morning’s session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The German was quickly out of his SF1000 and peering at the rear of the car, even dropping to his haunches to get a better look.

At the time Ferrari said it was an engine issue, put a fresh one in the SF1000 and sent Vettel back out in the afternoon.

The power unit has since been sent to Maranello to be looked over with Ferrari revealing the cause of Friday’s breakdown.

The team said: “The unit which had the problem last Friday has been stripped and checked in Maranello.

“The fault was traced to a non-structural problem with the lubrication system.

“It’s not a cause for concern and work to correct it is already underway.”

Aside from Friday’s troubles, the opening pre-season test did not go according to plan for Ferrari.

Not only was the team eighth in terms of laps completed with 354 to Mercedes’ 494 but Vettel and Charles Leclerc were down in 14th and 16th places respectively on the overall timesheet.

Vettel’s best time, a 1:18.154, was 2.422s slower than Valtteri Bottas’ pace-setting time.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto admits he is concerned.

“Looking at the delta pace and eventually what we may assess in terms of fuel load, which you never know in terms of engine modes, etc – looking at the picture relative to ourselves, I think we are not as fast as they are,” he said.

“I’m not as optimistic as last year. The others are faster than us at the moment I believe.

“How much faster I think it’s really difficult to judge.

“We will go through all the data in the next days. But I don’t think we are as fast as them at the moment.

“Do we have any concerns? Certainly yes, when you are not as fast as you would like to be.”

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