No connection between Alonso and Sauber’s engine problems, say Ferrari

Ferrari have said there is no connection between Fernando Alonso’s Malaysian Grand Prix engine blow-out and the Sauber team’s engine-related difficulties.

Engine head honcho Luca Marmorini told the Ferrari website that Sauber, who are of course using Ferrari powerplants this season, had experienced quite different issues to Alonso.

“We have carried out an in-depth study into what happened and the two problems are not related to one another,” Marmorini said.

“In Sepang, Fernando’s engine suffered a structural failure, of a type we had never seen during the winter.”

He went on to attribute the Spaniard’s engine failure to the gearbox trouble he had had since early in the race.

“We believe there was a role played by the unusual way in which the driver had to use the engine during the race, because of the gear selection problems he experienced right from the start. Additionally, there is no connection with the problem the Sauber team experienced on the engine front at the last race, which we believe was down to an issue with electronic sensors.

“Each car has eight engines it can use per driver over the season and we plan our useage strategy around this. As a precaution, we opted not to use the Bahrain race engines in Australia, but they will be used in China, having concluded that they are fit for purpose, despite what happened at the Sakhir circuit.”

Marmorini said that the team was unable to see what its true performance was like, as the three races to date were anomalous.

“Unfortunately, I would say that so far, it is impossible to have a clear picture of how this side of the package is working, as there has not been a single race weekend not affected by the weather,” Marmorini said. “In wet conditions, fuel consumption is a bit harder to control and becomes a less important factor.

“It’s fair to say we have done a good job so far, based on work carried out last winter, but we continue to work on this aspect of engine behaviour to improve still further. Once we have a race weekend that is completely dry, we will get a clearer picture of where we stand.”