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Ferrari insists Vettel engine change not a mistake

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Ferrari insists Vettel engine change not a mistake
By:
Sep 30, 2017, 12:05 PM

Ferrari suggests the decision to change Sebastian Vettel's engine ahead of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix was not a mistake, despite the German failing to set a time.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
The car of Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in the garage
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H

The Maranello squad decided to replace Vettel's engine after detecting an electrical problem at the end of FP3, claiming it was doing it as a precaution.

Although the team managed to fit the new engine in time for qualifying, a turbo pressure issue meant Vettel was unable to complete a timed lap and will have to start from the back of the grid.

The team fitted a unit that was intended to be used in Japan next weekend, and which featured the fourth V6 and fourth MGU-H, but an older turbo and other parts.

Ferrari indicated that the problem in the FP3 engine could not be rectified at the track, so it had to be changed – and thus it would be wrong to regard the decision as a mistake.

"Obviously we had the issue this morning and we decided to change the engine," said Vettel. "Then I went out, everything was fine, and then during the flying lap in Turn 5 all of a sudden I lost power.

"I was lucky that we got back so we could have a look, but we couldn't fix the problem on track. What happened is that I lost boost pressure, so I had no power basically, but why, we don't know yet."

Ferrari did attempt to send Vettel out in the closing minutes of Q1, but in the end it couldn't fix the issue.

"We tried to prepare everything so we got the tyres on the car, because we knew that roughly two minutes before the end of the session we have to go out. So we fired up and had a check. We tried to find the engine problem when we took the engine cover off.

"We couldn't find anything so we decided to fire up, and see if we can go again. But as soon as the engine is running you have telemetry, and then checked the data, and they could see that the same issue was still there."

Vettel spent time thanking his crew for their effort after getting out of the car and labelled the engine change an "incredible achievement".

"It's very important. They pushed like crazy, they were all full of sweat. Obviously fixing up the car in time was an incredible achievement, and in that situation it was nobody's fault. It's frustrating in a way, but it's not like somebody had the intention to do something went wrong."

The German insisted that he can still get a decent haul of points on Sunday despite a "very bitter" day".

"It's very bitter, but this is motor racing. It's a shame because the car is quick, but that's also a good thing because tomorrow we've got a lot of laps.

"I expect that we'll get back, we have a quick car, meaning get back to the leading group. I can't give you a number, I don't have an expectation in terms of number, but anything can happen."

Vettel has the option to take a fifth turbo, having been stuck on four – with the threat of a penalty looming – for much of the season.

"We're looking at that. It makes sense – let's see what we have and we'll see what we put," he added.

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