Renault engine boss Denis Chevrier has claimed that Kimi’s engine being turned down was not to blame for the lack of pace at Malaysia. “The normal thing would be to increase cooling, reduce the rpm, little things like that,” Chevrier said before explaining that if the Ferrari had been limited to 17,500 rpm, as rumours would have us believe, Raikkonen would have been 2 seconds off the pace.
Even Jean Todt has estimated that Raikkonen’s engine handicap was only about a tenth of a second a lap.
Ferrari have also confirmed that the decision to have Raikkonen stick to the same engine between the first two races of the season may have been a mistake which cost him second place at Sepang. There were no obvious problems with the engine at Malaysia, however the team took precautions just in case which may have prevented Raikkonen from catching and passing Hamilton in the closing stages of the race.
“We did not see any evidence to make us change the engine,” Jean Todt explained. “But we thought it was wiser to take that into consideration and not get the utmost from the engine.”
Meanwhile, Raikkonen will have a fresh new engine for Bahrain. “That makes me feel very optimistic,” the Finn said.