F1 News: Ferrari to Use Bahrain Engines in China, McLaren Stops Trick Suspension Development


What Happens When Teams make Some Changes

12:02am EST — While Ferrari brings partially used engines to China, McLaren has announced that it has stopped development on it’s trick suspension response to the rumored suspension of Red Bull.

Ferrari to Re-Use Bahrain Practice Engines in China:
As the teams travel back to the Far East for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, it turns out that Ferrari will be bringing an used engine with them.  After the failure of Fernando Alonso’s Malaysian GP engine just over a week ago, a failure “of a type we had never seen during the winter,” said Luca Marmorini, Ferrari engine and electronics chief, in an article on the team’s website Tuesday,  Alonso and teammate Felipe Massa will use the engines they changed in Bahrain for the Chinese GP, since the ambient conditions in China will be far cooler than those experienced in the desert heat of Bahrain.
Previously put aside in Bahrain for an overheating issue and not used for either Australia or Malaysia, the use of these engines mean that Ferrari will still have only used three engines for their drivers, rather than leaving them with even fewer of the eight total engines allowed per driver for the season.  Marmorini continued, “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.”  He also stressed that Alonso’s engine failure and the failure of the Sauber-used Ferrari engines were not related, “We believe there was a role played by the unusual way in which the driver [Alonso in Malyasia] 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 Sauber team experienced on the engine front at the last race, which we believe was down to an issue with electronic sensors.”
Also mentioned in the article is that Ferrari will bring aero updates to China, as will many if not all of the teams.  Whether using engines that have already experienced an overheating problem is wise is a question for  much wiser minds than mine, though one would assume that such minds are employed by Ferrari.  Hopefully, the cooler conditions will not tax these engines and the engineers will take a look at the sky as well as the radar in a possibly wet qualifying session and race.

McLaren Stops Suspension Development After FIA Clarification:
According to McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe in an Autosport article, “Basically, we had a system we were working on, and we’ve now suspended that.”  He also noted (presumably referencing the rumored Red Bull suspension, which has been denied by the Red Bull team), “We were aware over the last few months of a different approach to it [the suspension system]; an approach which historically we hadn’t thought to be the typical interpretation [of the regulations], and we were reacting to that.”  Since McLaren as a team was vocal about their view that Red Bull seemed to have a suspension that would change ride height between qualifying and the race, they were obviously hoping that the team would either be told that their new interpretation was illegal or that if it were legal, McLaren would develop a system that would allow them to replicate the fantastic pace of the Red Bull during qualifying.  While the FIA clarified that no changes to the suspension can be made under parc ferme conditions, there has been no indication that Red Bull will be punished or that they are using such a system.

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