Frederic Vasseur reveals why Ferrari were shocked by Charles Leclerc DNF

Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur has revealed why they were shocked by Charles Leclerc's DNF in Bahrain.

Last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was a nightmare for Ferrari, after Charles Leclerc retired from the race with a power unit-related failure, and the Monegasque is now facing a likely grid penalty in Saudi Arabia.

After working so hard on repairing their engine’s reliability issues from last season during the winter break, there was real confidence amongst the Scuderia that power unit failures were a thing of the past, only for one to occur at the first race of the season.

It was somewhat deja vu for Ferrari, who became so used to engine failures last season, ending their title hopes.

It had been reported that the Maranello-based team were entering 2023 with an extremely reliable and competitive power unit, following speculation that they’d discovered an additional 30hp as a result of fixing the issues with their engine.

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Leclerc’s engine failure was certainly a shock to team principal Frederic Vasseur, who admits that the team “never expected” to experience a failure at the first race of the season.

“We never expected to have something like this because it is the first time that we had it,” Vasseur said.

“We didn’t face the same issue at all during the 6,000-7,000km that we did with the engine in testing with the three teams [Alfa Romeo and Haas also run Ferrari power units].

“We also didn’t have the issue on the dyno over the winter.”

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Whilst the failure is clearly an immediate setback, Vasseur is remaining “consistent” with what he’s telling the team.

The Frenchman has continued to inform Ferrari that Leclerc’s retirement and Carlos Sainz’s fourth-place finish “doesn’t matter”, with the season not being “over in Bahrain”.

“It’s never good to start with a DNF and I would have preferred to finish like Red Bull before,” added Vasseur.

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“But now that I want to stay consistent in my position, I told the team before testing in Bahrain that the championship won’t be over in Bahrain. It doesn’t matter about the result.

“It was true for the winter test, it was true for this weekend, but the team experienced the opposite situation in the past.

“The most important thing now is for us to be able to have a clear picture of the situation, where we are failing, and to do a proper analysis on this and come back stronger as soon as possible.”