Looking beyond the power unit issue that led to Charles Leclerc’s DNF in the Spanish Grand Prix, the glass remains half full for Scuderia Ferrari. Until the engine blackout, the Ferrari driver had done everything he needed to do: keep Max Verstappen at the start, manage the tires in the best possible way and build a solid gap in front.
Charles Leclerc on average 3 tenths per lap faster than Max Verstappen
After the setup changes, speaking in a low voice, the Maranello technicians were convinced that Charles’s pace could be out of reach for the Red Bulls in the first phase of the race and more generally with the Soft compound. Regardless of Max’s mistake and DRS issues, the Ferrari F1-75 with Charles at the wheel couldn’t be more effective than this.
Max’s error affected the gap analysis of the Dutch champion. However, according to the post-race simulations, Charles Leclerc had a margin of 3 tenths in his pocket in terms of race pace, and not only with the soft ones. “Charles was comfortably in the lead and had an excellent race pace,” confirmed Mattia Binotto after the race. Red Bull seems to have a different view, but they are comparing the data with damaged F1-75 of Carlos Sainz. “In the race we were faster than the Ferrari cars and we were also significantly better in terms of tire wear.” Helmut Marko said. More conservative was instead Christian Horner who speaks of a second part of the race that could have given “a very interesting fight”.
Ferrari was comfortably in command until the failure of the power unit, which arrived and was disassembled in Maranello, where the first important analyzes have already been carried out. Will the PU be reused? Mattia Binotto was vague after the race: “I have no idea but very difficult if you stop like this. However, perhaps there will be only a couple of components that we will no longer be able to use. We will see after the analyzes “. In fact, it was feared that the MGU-H and the turbocharger would be damaged, something that the Italian team has actually confirmed: the two macro components have been damaged and cannot be repaired.
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However, the failure is not due to a design error or a reliability issue, according to the Maranello team. It all started with an abnormal overheating of the MGU-H motor generator which, fortunately, sent the entire power unit into protection mode, as explained by Giuliano Duchessa and Piergiuseppe Donadoni for formu1a.uno. This made it possible not to damage the second internal combustion engine and the second MGU-K motor generator which can therefore be reused while the turbocharger, directly connected to the MGU-H, was affected.