Following Charles LecLerc’s engine failure while romping to victory at the Spanish GP, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto confirmed the engine would be sent back to Maranello and be examined to discover the cause of the problem.
Yesterday Ferrari released a statement which confirmed “Having examined the PU from Leclerc’s car, we found the turbo and MGU-H are damaged and cannot be repaired.”
It was the next paragraph which caused smirks and sarcastic comments across social media together with accusations of ‘gibberish’.
“However, having fully analysed the failure and its cause, we are satisfied it did not occur through a design fault or reliability issue with these two components or any other elements of the PU,” the team insisted.
Yet on closer examination Ferrari were in fact sending out a coded message to their competitors and the FIA alike.
Each team can ‘upgrade’ the design of it’s power unit twice following it’s approval before the start of the season.
LeClerc has received an upgraded power unit already.
Team mate Carlos Sainz was unlucky because his second PU was required before the upgrade was available, which will account for some of the performance difference between the Ferrari drivers.
So the team are in effect saying they won’t be using their second PU ‘upgrade’ token to fix the issues with LeClercs engine, though he will require some precious new component tokens to be used to replace thos which cannot bone repaired.
It’s a long season and if Ferrari were forced to use their final engine ‘upgrade’ token they would be significantly disadvantaged towards the back end of the campaign.