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Domenicali: standardised ECU still holds secrets 02 Apr 2008

A standard F1 ECU.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2008 (L to R): Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari Manager of F1 Operations, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 19 October 2007

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes that the move to a standardised engine control unit (ECU) for 2008 has played a key role in the team’s reliability issues in the first two races.

Engine woes saw both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa retire at the season opener in Australia, while Ferrari-powered teams Toro Rosso and Force India also experienced their fair share of issues both in Melbourne and Malaysia.

This year all teams are required to use the new ECU - supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems (part of the McLaren Group, but independent of the Formula One team) - and Domenicali suggested that Ferrari are not alone in struggling to get to grips with the change.

“As far as we are concerned, Melbourne saw us experience serious reliability problems, but not because we arrived unprepared,” he told Formula1.com. “It was rather the case that this year, everyone with the exception of one team had to deal with a new parameter, the MES central control unit, which still has to reveal all its secrets, especially in terms of the way its operation affects the overall functionality of the car.”

Domenicali admitted he was not satisfied with the world champions’ haul of 11 points from a possible 36, but insisted everyone at Ferrari must carry their share of the blame - and play a role in turning things around.

“This is the responsibility of the team as a whole, its manager, engineers, mechanics and, of course, the drivers: all of us have to improve our performance to reach the standard to which we aspire,” he added.