The Bahrain GP certainly did not end the way Scuderia Ferrari intended it to. A worrying engine failure hit Charles Leclerc in the late stages of the race, and he could barely save a podium finish. The team in Maranello has clarified the reasons behind the issue, putting an end to the tifosi’s worries.
The engine failure
The team radio exchange between Charles Leclerc and his race engineer during the race made it look like the engine issue hit the MGU-H component. This would have caused a lot of problems back in Maranello. Damage to hybrid elements is usually more worrying than ICE issues.
However, after thorough investigation and data analysis, the Scuderia has revealed that the engine failed elsewhere. Initially only claiming to have had a cylinder failure, the Scuderia later added on to the “diagnosis”. With an official statement released after the race, Ferrari cleared the air.
Following the race, the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow technicians and engineers traced the fault on the car to a short circuit within an injection system control unit. This type of problem had never been seen before on the component in question.
Charles Leclerc ‘s engine safe in China
The technical regulations introduced in 2018 only allow three power units per driver in a full F1 season. Many fans were worried that the engine issue suffered by Charles Leclerc would have meant replacing the current PU with a new one. Switching to the second PU of the season after only two races would have proven costly to the team. The driver would have certainly needed more than three units in the whole season, bringing around grid penalties. Luckily, the team clarified that the engine is perfectly safe for use in the upcoming Chinese GP.
Charles Leclerc will use the same power unit in China that he used for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The unit will be duly fitted on the number 16 car, in which the Monegasque driver had to settle for third place having led the race in style until a few laps from the flag.
Hopes are high. Such an issue is usually unrelated to the actual reliability of the challenger in the long term, and can be classified as pure “bad luck” for the Monegasque. However, Ferrari is still a long way from equalling the SF90’s power with efficiency. The season has only just started.