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Ferrari unconcerned by engine strife 14 Apr 2010

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010 Ferrari F10 of race retiree Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 4 April 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F10, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10 battle for position. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 4 April 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10 makes a pit stop. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 4 April 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010

While their F10 is certainly a frontrunner, it’s no secret that Ferrari have been plagued by engine troubles since the start of the season. In Bahrain the Italian team changed the V8s on the cars of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa after finding slight reading abnormalities, while at the recent Malaysia race Alonso - and both Ferrari-powered BMW Saubers - were forced to retire after engine failures.

After carrying out extensive analysis back at their Maranello factory, however, Ferrari’s engine and electronics department boss Luca Marmorini is relaxed about reliability and is confident that the engine’s poor record is the result of extraneous circumstances, rather than a symptom of something more serious.

“We have carried out an in-depth study into what happened and the two problems are not related to one another,” explained Marmorini. “In Sepang, Fernando’s engine suffered a structural failure, of a type we never saw during the winter. We believe there was a role played by the unusual way in which the driver had to use the engine during the race, because of the gear selection problems he experienced right from the start. Additionally, there is no connection with the problem the BMW Sauber team experienced on the engine front at the last race, which we believe was down to an issue with electronic sensors.”

Having established the reasons for the various problems at Sepang, Marmorini also revealed that Ferrari plan to reuse the Bahrain engines at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

“Each car has eight engines it can use per driver over the season and we plan our usage strategy around this,” he explained. “As a precaution, we opted not to use the Bahrain race engines in Australia, but they will be used in China, having concluded that they are fit for purpose, despite what happened at the Sakhir circuit.”

Marmorini also declared that he is pleased with the overall progress of the car, even though he believes more can be done to get the most out of the engine.

“I’m happy because I think the Ferrari package is quick, even if it could always be quicker of course,” he concluded. “Having said that, our pace in the race can give cause for satisfaction on the engine and car side, even if we still have much work to do on the engine front to get even more out of it, whilst working within the restrictions of the current regulations.”

The championship leaders will be back on track on Friday, as this weekend’s Shanghai meeting gets underway.