Ferrari has announced the launch of an investigation into the causes of the breakdown that forced Charles Leclerc to retire in the Bahrain GP of Formula 1 2023: there is a disturbing suspicion that it was a very trivial human error.
Filed the bad debut in the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, in Ferrari they are still dealing with what happened during the Sakhir race. In addition to the disappointing race pace of the SF-23 in Bahrain Grand Prixprobably due to a sensational error in the set-up of the single-seaters of Leclerc and Sainz, are still being analyzed in Maranello the reasons that caused the sudden breakdown of the Monegasque’s car and the consequent retirement while he was in third position behind the two unattainable Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez.
In fact, the Scuderia del Cavallino wants to get to the bottom of the story and see clearly before taking action. It is no coincidence that the team principal Frederic Vasseur announced the launch of an internal investigation to understand what happened to the Monte-Carlo driver’s car during that 41st lap of the first race of the season and if there were any mistakes upstream.
About that the fault concerned the electronics there doesn’t seem to be much doubt. Indeed it seems that the SF-23 has suddenly shut down because the electronic control unit (strangely replaced a few hours before the start of the race together with the battery pack) it went haywire. So now in Ferrari we must understand first of all whether the two control units mounted on Leclerc’s car during the Bahrain GP weekend are reusable (otherwise, in the next race in Jeddah it will be necessary to mount the third unit of the season and therefore serve a penalty of five positions on the starting grid). And the same goes for the batteries used in Sakhir (with the fear that the penalty positions in Jeddah could be as many as ten).
Ferrari has discovered the cause of the bankruptcy in Bahrain: made a disarming mistake
Then, once the power unit has been disassembled piece by piece, we will search the cause of the failure which forced Charles Leclerc to retire in Bahrain. Even here however, according to what is rumored in the corridors of Maranello, it seems that there is already a more accredited hypothesis than all the others: a trivial problem concerning the wiring. Or a mass caused by an exposed or burnt wire that sent the control unit into a tailspin of the electrical system of the SF-23.
The internal investigation underway since Ferrari will therefore serve to determine what damaged, severed or burned that electric cable which would have caused Charles Leclerc to retire, making him lose an almost certain podium (despite the great comeback, in fact, it seems unlikely that the extraordinary Fernando Alonso could have caught up with him and overtaken him in the final race) in the season debut.
In this case, taking into account the fact that all the pieces that go into the car are checked by the quality department and therefore that the cable or the control units were already damaged before the go, there would be only two possible options (and one is really creepy). The first would only be the result of bad luck: the wire could in fact have been totally or partially severed due to strong vibrations that the single-seater suffers on a track like Sakhir or it could have been burnt due to the high temperatures. The second, the most disturbing one, would be instead result of human error: a trivial mistake during assembly of the electrical system of Leclerc’s single-seater.