Not good news for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari fans as the 4-time champion will be handed a 5-place grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
Vettel is already on his third engine of the season this weekend with an improved power unit having spent development tokens heading into this weekend. Stopping 30 minutes into Free Practice two of the Russian GP weekend didn’t bode well and as it turns out, it will not help matters for the race.
Ferrari had big expectations for race wins this season as they felt they had closed the gap to Mercedes and many pundits believe they actually have but they just haven’t had the best luck in the first three races of the 2016 to prove it.
They engine issues have been a bit of a problem and the Chinese Grand Prix saw the teammates clash in turn run spoiling both driver’s races.
We said at the time that the engine niggles they were experiencing during winter testing were also experienced by their customers as well and this could be a knock-on effect during the season…perhaps we were right on that account as Ferrari’s woes seem self inflicted so far this year.
It’s a real testament to just how mind numbingly complicated these new power units are and what a job Mercedes has done in getting the reliability as bullet-proof as they have. Ferrari had to press the limits if they had any hope of catching Mercedes and perhaps in doing so, they have designed an engine that is really on the edge and perhaps a little fragile.