Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Ferrari reveals cause of Vettel’s engine failure

2020 F1 season

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Ferrari has discovered the reason for its power unit failure during last week’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya, which it says is “not a cause for concern”.

[f1tv2020testa]Sebastian Vettel came to a stop on the third day of the test, at which point the team had covered around 1,300 kilometres. Team principal Mattia Binotto admitted at the time it was “very early” to have a failure “if you consider the overall mileage so far”.

The power unit was returned to the team’s base at Maranello for inspection, during which the team discovered the failure was caused by a problem in the lubrication system.

“The unit which had the problem last Friday has been stripped and checked in Maranello,” said the team in a statement. “The fault was traced to a non-structural problem with the lubrication system. It’s not a cause for concern and work to correct it is already underway.”

Vettel is due to get back behind the wheel of the car on Thursday morning before handing over to team mate Charles Leclerc in the afternoon. On Thursday Vettel will be back in the cockpit, and Leclerc will conclude the team’s test on Friday.

Ferrari said they will “start working on performance” during the upcoming test “while carrying out qualifying and race simulations” on their new car.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 18 comments on “Ferrari reveals cause of Vettel’s engine failure”

    1. Many years ago, a Ferrari race retirement was ascribed to ‘alternator failure’.

      The alternator had indeed failed – it did so after a connecting rod came through the block and smashed it!

      Engine failure? No, no – alternator failure…

      1. Which isnt a cause for concern, because next time they will do it better, didn`t really matter this time, innit.

        Tbf though, if there`s a time to have an engine failure – it`s now, and hopefully now everyone`s back on high alert and things will smoothen out for the season… amen, yeah. :/

      2. But it was Ferrari that build the first XXI century car : reliable and bullet proof in around year 2000.

      3. @gnosticbrian last year merc did the same, stroll’s fiery ball at montréal was an hydraulic failure.

      4. Also known as an ‘electrical’ problem here in Australia. I have an old friend who raced a Holden Torana Xu-1 at Bathurst in the Bathurst 500 (as it was known back then). During practice the engine blew on the main straight (Conrod Straight). A rod (#3 or 4 from memory) came through the side of the block and took out the distributor (6 cylinder engine). He described it as an electrical problem.

    2. The fault was traced to a non-structural problem with the lubrication system. It’s not a cause for concern and work to correct it is already underway.”

      So Why do hou have to correct is it was non structural ?

    3. What-what, did they say oil-burning system? :D

      Sorry, just trolling, couldn’t resist.

    4. Ferrari said they will “start working on performance” during the upcoming test “while carrying out qualifying and race simulations” on their new car.

      From what I’ve observed, over the past week, Ferrari seem to have been focusing on setup. This week will be about simulating the performance of the car. That’s actually quite sensible from the team. Theyll probably still keep sandbagging but hopefully we will have a slightly better understanding of their performance. But then, I’m just a fan, obviously I don’t have as much info – just a casual observation.

    5. “The fault was traced to a non-structural problem with the lubrication system.”

      “We forgot to put oil in it.”

      1. Or we found another use for that oil ;)

      2. Heh. I read somewhere else that a seal was loose, but still operator error rather than fundamental issue I guess @neilosjames

    6. How come a lubrication problem is not cause for concern?

      It’s is not a sensor. Not a loose cable. Not a broken exhaust pipe. It is one of the most important things to keep the engine running for 7000km!

      Do they really want to calm people down by saying that?

      1. Could’ve been any number of minor issues. Mechanic may have not tightened an oil line properly, there may have been grit in the oil, burst pipe, mis-seated seal. ICE units don’t need to do 7000km, They have 3 through the season… so this unit was well on its way to being retired, while not ideal, I can’t see the need for doom and gloom theories, especially considering both Merc and Red Bull changed engines around the same time…

        1. 7000km may be a little high, but probably not too exaggerated – given that, during a race weekend, the teams will typically run at least the equivalent of one race distance, plus qualifying, they are probably clocking up about 700km during a race weekend. With each engine now having to last about 7-8 races, given the calendar length, you probably need an engine to have about 5000-6000km of engine life to finish the season without penalties.

          I’d agree that it is potentially not disastrous for them to have had that failure, given they would have probably been approaching the point at which you might think of changing the engine, but the timing was inconvenient – I think that Ferrari ended up clocking quite a bit less mileage than they’d hoped – and, whilst not a major setback, does seem to have inconvenienced them.

        2. But Red Bull put that engine back in after they checked it and being used at testday 3. So this is more a sensor detected something so just replace engine so they can check it. (This for Ferrari and Mercedes too)

          MOstly the problem can be something very small like Ross said for now i don’t care much untill we see in test 2 flaming engines :)

    7. A fault with the lubrication system. How ironic.
      What, not enough oil? Wherever could it have gone?

      Watch this space folks…..

    8. As laughable as Williams’ “power spike”… I love these over simplified statements.

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