Giovinazzi had same problem that hit Leclerc in Bahrain
Antonio Giovinazzi's qualifying session in China was stopped by a similar problem to the one that impacted Charles Leclerc's race in Bahrain two weeks ago.
Following Leclerc's failure, which cost him victory at Sakhir, both Ferraris and both Haas entries were fitted with a new specification control electronics unit offered by Ferrari for China.
However, due to time constraints in adapting the cars to a different installation, Alfa Romeo chose not to take the new units for China.
Giovinazzi lost a cylinder at the start of his first flying lap in Q1, and was unable to run again. He will start 19th on the grid with a new example of the older spec, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen will stick with the unit that has already done the first two races.
"Ferrari proposed to us the new spec, and we didn't have time to install it in the car due to the installation," Vasseur told Motorsport.com. "We had the issue today, and we will change it for tomorrow, but we will keep the same spec. For Kimi we won't change the unit for tomorrow.
"We have apologised to Antonio, and it's 100% my fault. I assume 100% of the responsibility because Ferrari proposed to us to change it. It's always easy afterwards to say it could have been better, but we also knew coming to China and doing the new installation was also risky."
Giovinazzi had already lost the whole of FP1 in Shanghai to an engine installation mistake that could not be rectified in time for him to take to the track in the morning session. Vasseur says he's fully behind the Italian, who has endured a difficult start to his first full F1 season.
"It's not an easy one, because if you look back we had an issue in FP2 in Bahrain, and he was not able to do one lap, then we had the issue in FP1 here, again on his car. Then today, it's a bit too much.
"We started the engine, and we did the out lap. He crossed the line, then he caught some guys exiting the pits, and the issue appeared at the end of Turn One on his first lap.
"We are 200% supportive with Antonio. I know what he is able to do, I know what he did before, I saw every single day what he is able to do. It's not obvious so far on the timekeeping, but I'm sure that he will show it as soon as possible."
Giovinazzi himself remains upbeat about his prospects for the race.
"Unfortunately we didn't make a lap," he said. "We did FP2 yesterday so we have some data on race pace. I know tomorrow starting from the last row will be hard. We'll see. It's a track where we can overtake, so we will try our best.
"Our target is still points. Like I said before, it's a track where you can overtake. I think we have a good car on race pace. The race is long, so you never know."
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