After both Ferrari cars were forced to retire from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the reliability of the Ferrari power unit has been drawn into question. Carlos Sainz has to pull into an exit road after a hydraulics issue, and Charles Leclerc, who was at the time in P1, had smoke erupt from his car. He was just able to park the car F1-75 in the pits.
This is the second issue Leclerc has had with his Ferrari powertrain this season, and both while leading a race. But despite Ferrari asking the FIA to allow them to fix the reliability issues, they haven’t been successful.
This comes as Ferrari see themselves close to being penalised for using too many engines. As are Haas and Alfa Romeo who also use engines from Ferrari and saw engine failure during Azerbaijan. Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu were forced to retire, although Ferrari has insisted this isn’t down to them.
Now a journalist from Auto Motor und Sport has revealed that this won’t change anytime soon:
“Because the technology for the combustion engine was frozen at the end of February and the hybrid system has to be homologated at the end of September, it was obvious for Ferrari to first look at the power and performance development,” he wrote.
“They wanted to take care of the reliability later if necessary. The regulations allow for corrections to be made if you can prove to the FIA it’s all about ensuring reliability.
“What is far more worrying is they must now launch a new unit without knowing what caused the recent vulnerabilities and how to respond to them.
“Ferrari had previously requested a reliability repair from the FIA – without resounding success.”
We’re hurting. We know you are too.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) June 13, 2022
He adds that Ferrari won’t be able to get a fix out quickly:
“Modifications to the engine are also long-term projects.
“Even if you think you have a solution today, it won’t be built into the engine tomorrow. First, test bench runs must validate the modification. Then new parts have to be built.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto isn’t one to place blame, but he’s not feeling happy about the situation:
“Reliability is a construction site. You don’t win races without it.”
“I don’t want to blame our technicians. They did an excellent job with the drivetrain if you look back at where we came from. What we did last year with the hybrid system and in the winter made huge leaps in performance with the engine and it looks like we are paying the price now.
“For us, it’s not primarily about bringing a new drive unit. We also have to be clear about how we will deal with it in the short term. Should we shorten the service life of the parts or change the application parameters?”
Fortunately, Ferrari is proud of its engine, believing that it’s the most powerful on the grid.
Schmidt continued: “The unanimous opinion is the Ferrari engine has the most power in the field. Four kilowatts more than Honda, eight more than Mercedes, 12 more than Renault.
“Much more important, however, is the lead in drivability. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff recommends listening to the individual engines during the acceleration phase. None revs up as gently as the Ferrari. This means a much more advantageous gear ratio can also be used.”
He finished, saying they have a “major disadvantage – they are not bulletproof. The higher the mileage, the greater the concern.”