Ferrari has confirmed Charles Leclerc’s loss of engine power at the Bahrain Grand Prix was a caused by a cylinder failure.

  • Ferrari suffered a nightmare Bahrain Grand Prix after an engine issue cost Charles Leclerc victory and Sebastian Vettel spun out of podium contention while battling with Lewis Hamilton.

  • Engine trouble might have cost him a maiden F1 win, but Charles Leclerc proved at the Bahrain Grand Prix that Ferrari has two drivers equally capable of winning the 2019 drivers’ championship.

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Leclerc was cruelly denied a deserved first F1 victory when he encountered the issue in the closing stages of the race, allowing Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to pass him. Leclerc’s place on the podium was only secured by a fortunately-timed Safety Car three laps from the finish which prevented him tumbling down the order any further.

Ferrari will take the engine back to its factory in Maranello, Italy for further investigations, but hope it can be used during free practice ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

“It is an engine problem,” team boss Mattia Binotto said. “We had miscombustion on one cylinder but [the reason is yet] 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.”

Lars Baron/Getty Images

Initial radio message between Leclerc and Ferrari at the time suggested the issue was related to the MGU-H, which converts heat energy from exhaust gases into energy that can be used later in the lap, but team boss Binotto has denied this.

“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 probably the right decision.”

Hamilton’s lucky Bahrain win should set off alarm bells to rivals “We are checking the engine now 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 yet] 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.”

Motor Sports News

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