Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is down to four power units for the remaining 19 races this year, following his smoky retirement on the parade lap in Bahrain.
Earlier, the Ferrari media insider Leo Turrini said the problem had been traced to an injector, but he now clarifies that the fault was actually caused by “a bug on the electronic mapping”.
That is good news for the Maranello team, as the fix will presumably be easier.
“It was an electronic problem rather than the failure of a mechanical part,” agreed a report in La Repubblica newspaper.
The report explained that the electronic glitch occurred in a certain gear at precise revs “causing a sort of blackout that affected the engine” so badly that it was damaged “irreparably”.
“In China, Seb switches to power unit two”, Turrini wrote in a follow-up post on his Quotidiano blog.
Meanwhile, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Ferrari is working on an innovative system for its F1 ‘power unit’ called HCCI that would help the team track down Mercedes’ power advantage, particularly in qualifying.
Whether it will come quick enough for Sebastian Vettel’s 2016 title challenge is unclear, but F1 legend Gerhard Berger said the German will not lose his cool.
“Seb will not lose his patience,” the former F1 driver told Sport Bild.
“He did not think he would have such a good first year, so I assume that he was ready to say the world championship would take three years.”
But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said alarmingly this week that he thinks Mercedes’ current advantage is so great that Ferrari will not win a title by 2020.
Vettel replied: “My contract is not even that long, so that’s the first thing I need to sort out! Apart from that, by then I will already be an old man.
“So yes, I am confident,” he smiled when asked if he can win the title soon.