Scuderia Ferrari’s chief technical officer Mattia Binotto has revealed the cause behind the team’s double engine failure during the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix race weekend which came as “completely unexpected” after not showing up during dyno testing. German driver Sebastian Vettel saw his qualifying at Sepang ended prematurely by an engine issue which forced him to start the Malaysia race from last place, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen suffered an identical issue with his car during his sighting lap to the starting grid and was forced to miss the start of the race.
The Maranello team has run thorough analysis into the cause of the double engine failure and Mattia Binotto says it was a problem with the inlet manifold on the compressor to the cylinder heads on both cars which was triggered by a defective part. Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne says changes to the team’s quality department will be enforced to avoid future issues, which Mattia Binotto has confirmed during a press conference held in Japan, while explaining the failure only occurred in Malaysia despite the team getting through the entire season, testing and dyno testing without the issue appearing:
“The problem we got was completely unexpected and a problem that we didn’t experience on the dyno or at the track for the entire season. There were some quality issue with the parts. We failed with an inlet manifold on the engine from the compressor to the cylinder heads and it happened twice because we had the same problem with Seb in qualifying and Kimi in the race. It happened twice in the entire season both in Malaysia so some boundary conditions have affected the overall reliability which we are analysing but it is something we still need to better understand. You can never be fully confident of having solved the problems that we’ve got.” – Mattia Binotto explained, as reported by the Italian media on Friday.
Scuderia Ferrari’s chief technical officer has also confirmed Sergio Marchionne’s comments about the changes to Ferrari’s quality parts department and hopes the future steps will avoid similar failures: “I think that to improve your performance you need to improve your car package overall but you need to also improve your organisation. We are considering something which is planned to improve the quality department. It is as simple as that. Our quality department will be reinforced, that is the part of the organisation our chairman was speaking of.” – Mattia Binotto concluded.
Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet on Friday practice in Japan two-tenths ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes in FP1 after the second session was a washout.