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Fuel problem cost Vettel Bahrain win?

Ron Dennis speculates that Sebastian Vettel's problem in Bahrain wasn't a spark-plug failure, but a fuel issue.
Ron Dennis believes that the real reason Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel missed out in Bahrain two weeks ago could be fuel related.

Vettel looked odds on to take the F1 2010 season opener, until he suddenly lost power on lap 34, and was then overhauled by the Ferrari's of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. He eventually limped home in fourth.

The issue was initially blamed on a cracked exhaust, before the Milton Keynes-based outfit later said it was actually due to a spark-plug failure.

"We have analysed the problem and it should not happen again," Vettel told German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Former McLaren F1 boss Dennis, though, isn't convinced and has told Cologne newspaper Express that it may be due to the fact the RB6's fuel tank is too small or fuel consumption was greater than expected.

"The lap times dropped so rapidly that one can imagine the electronic control unit (ECU) switching to a conservative programme to save fuel. The problem with the Red Bull could be design. It could be the fuel tank is too small, or the fuel consumption is higher than they expected," he confirmed.




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Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB 6

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JET - Unregistered

March 23, 2010 12:39 PM

Also The leading Vettel flexed the Renault V8 far harder than Mark Webber. He was 35 seconds ahead of him after 20 odd laps! So direct correlation is not possible in terms of fuel consumption. So it is not beyond the realms of possibily that Red Bull may have missed a couple of litres of fuel. The ECU noted the consumption was too high and shut down one cylinder. As Ron Dennis has said, "thats what our ECU is DESIGNED TO DO" and he should know because his company designed it! I wouldnt bank on a Renault "spark plug" story, especially when its the first race of a non refuelling rules season. Perhaps Im wrong, but Dennis usually has a point when he comes out to say things like this.

Duncan Snowden - Unregistered

March 23, 2010 2:45 PM

Sure, it's speculation. But it's certainly plausible. Adam, Newey's known for packaging very close to the limit. In the past we've seen it lead to cooling issues on his cars. A miscalculation on tank size - or rather, a gamble on a marginal tank on the understanding that the engine will be efficient enough to make it, driven carefully - isn't at all impossible. On the contrary, it's exactly the sort of thing he might well do. All the teams will, naturally, have made the tank as small as they dare, in the interests of weight saving, centre of gravity, aero, etc. - and Newey's always the most daring when it comes to stuff like that. The more I think about Ron's theory, the more sense it makes.



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