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Piston issue behind Ferrari engine woes 20 Mar 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari 248 F1 on the grid. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, 19 March 2006

Ferrari team principal Jean Todt has revealed that piston problems were the cause of the engine changes that compromised the team’s performance in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

A total of three changes prior to the race - one for Michael Schumacher and two for Felipe Massa - meant that both Ferrari drivers were handicapped by grid penalties, with Schumacher starting 14th and Massa 21st.

"The problem has been around the piston area,” confirmed Todt. “We have a specific failure that comes from the component so it's around that. However, sometimes the final problem is a result of different combinations.”

Ferrari’s decision to swap V8s was, however, vindicated by strong race performances from both drivers, with Massa climbing all the way from the back row to finish fifth, one place in front of his team mate.

“The new engines were of a different specification,” added Todt. “At the moment we are still analysing the problems, before making a final judgement. We need to have very accurate analysis."

Ferrari were not the only team to suffer engine problems in Malaysia, the second hot race in succession under the new V8 regulations. Red Bull’s David Coulthard, Honda’s Rubens Barrichello and Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher all needed changes before the race, while Williams’ Nico Rosberg and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld both retired with engine failures.