Ferrari surprised by ‘completely unexpected’ problem in Bahrain
Ferrari test driver Marc Gene admits that the team were surprised by their “completely unexpected” reliability issue in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
It proved to be a difficult day for the Scuderia in Sakhir, with Charles Leclerc forced to retire on Lap 41 when his car lost power, while Carlos Sainz struggled to battle for a podium result and ended the race in P4.
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez clinched a dominant 1-2 finish for Red Bull.
While Ferrari were anticipating possible issues with tyre management – a problem that they have experienced in the past – Gene says that the reliability woes were not on the cards.
Gene explains Ferrari’s issues
“Last year we started [the season] very well and we didn’t finish
very well, so I hope this trend that the winner of the [first] Grand
Prix has never won the championship is the case [this year], although it’s going to be difficult,” Gene told the F1 Nation podcast.
“We’ve improved in some areas. I think the car was fast, we could have had pole position really in Bahrain.
“But [we suffered with] reliability, which was something completely unexpected. Really, we
were not expecting that. And then, of course, the tyre management, which
is something we knew was going to be a hard point for us.”
Changes pre-race were a ‘precaution’
Leclerc’s car was fitted with a new control electronics (CE) and Energy Store (ES) prior to the race, but Gene insists that this was not due to any reliability concerns and was instead a precautionary move.
“It was the batteries we changed, and it looks like the failure [came] from the combustion engine,” Gene explained.
“[We changed the parts because] we saw something, some numbers let’s say. But we are quite sure [the cause of retirement] has nothing to do [with] what we changed.
“It was more like a precaution thing we changed, and we are quite sure that it has nothing to do with what happened to Charles.”