‘It’s worrying us’: Binotto admits concern about reliability of Ferrari power unit

It took six races for Ferrari to suffer their first reliability failure of the season when Charles Leclerc retired from the Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has indicated that there are some circumstances that are out of the Scuderia’s control in terms of reliability, so he has worries over the longevity of the Ferrari power units.

Charles Leclerc had been leading the Spanish Grand Prix comfortably before an issue surfaced with his MGU-H, and his race quickly unravelled.

The Scuderia ran some diagnostics back at Maranello after the nightmare race that Carlos Sainz finished fourth after a mistake and, while admitting that there had been a failure, did not believe that it was a “reliability issue.”

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The problem in Barcelona very much came out of the blue, so Binotto never can tell if there will be another, and when it might transpire.

“Reliability is always a concern,” he said in Monaco.

“And when something is happening, it’s never great so it’s worrying us. We are looking at what happened [in Spain]. 

“And sometimes you’ve got straight explanations. It can be caused by external accidents. It can be caused by exceptional, let me say, circumstances, so other ones may be a true worry and concern.”

As for the precise cause of the problem that put the Monegasque out of the race in Montmelo, the 52-year-old cannot add any more to what has already been said.

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“What can I tell you? Not much! We did the analysis. We failed and damaged both the turbo and the MGU-H, so they will not be repaired,” stated Binotto.

“Obviously, we found the root cause; we fix it for Monaco, for the next races, and that’s all the detail I will tell you.”

Leclerc’s non-finish followed three reliability failures this season for the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, costing them valuable points in Bahrain and Australia.

Perez then had another scare in Miami, but was able to bring the car home in fourth, so Binotto quipped that Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner will be slightly more concerned than Ferrari are.

“Reliability has been a key factor so far in the championship because we failed in Spain, and I think for Red Bull as well – they’ve got three DNFs, we’ve got one,” he explained.

“Our customer teams have got some as well so it’s as much a challenge as performance – reliability is certainly a big challenge, and reliability, when you’ve got concerns, it’s never obvious to fix them in a short time. 

“So yes, it is a concern. It doesn’t mean that we are too concerned, I hope Christian is more [concerned] than myself! 

“But let’s do our best job from now to the end of the season and, hopefully, everything will be smooth and clear.”

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Perez took victory in Monaco after a series of strategical errors cost Leclerc the win and sent him down to fourth while Sainz finished second.

Verstappen capitalised on the four-time race winner’s misfortune to finish the race third, and extend his championship lead to nine points, although his Mexican team-mate is now only 15 points behind him in third.