Ferrari will use Charles Leclerc’s engine during practice in China as part of its investigations into what went wrong in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Leclerc had opened up a comfortable lead over Lewis Hamilton and looked set to take a maiden grand prix victory on Sunday when he radioed his team to report a problem with his power unit. The 21-year-old started losing time to the tune of around five seconds per lap, and limped home in third place. Team principal Mattia Binotto said the cause of the problem remains unknown, but that the power unit will be subjected to a thorough investigation.
“I have no answer for you,” Binotto said. “We are checking the engine now, so we do not have a clear explanation yet [for] what happened. It is an engine problem, we had miscombustion on one cylinder, but it is yet to be understood.
“We do not know the source of the problem and the engine will be back in Maranello for careful checks, because when something such happens you need to take your time to do all your checks carefully.
“But the engine was running at the end of the race, so it is still able to run, and we will use it certainly on Friday in China when we will have an entire Friday to assess its behavior, functionality and its performance.”
While the cause of Leclerc’s problem remains to be determined, Binotto is confident Ferrari will not have to run its power unit in a different way as he believes there was an obvious single issue.
“I think what happened – even if we don’t have a clear understanding now and we are looking into it – it is a single problem that will be easily addressed, so it is not related to how we were using the engine or the mapping or whatever. If it [was] a single component failure, we will find out.
“It was not a mechanical problem with the engine, otherwise we wouldn’t have finished the race. It was an external component which may have effected it, but we do not have a clear explanation now as we are inspecting the engine. Hopefully we’ll find it immediately, otherwise we will take our time to check it all.”