Ferrari has admitted that it is investigating the possibility that Kimi Raikkonen's retirement from Sunday's European Grand Prix in Valencia was caused by a similar problem to that which ended Felipe Massa's dominance at the Hungaroring three weeks ago.
Although the Scuderia arrived in Spain hoping that it would not suffer a repeat of the Brazilian's failure - which denied him victory just three laps from home after he had led from the first corner - Raikkonen was sidelined by his own engine gremlins with a dozen laps still to run, and sources at Maranello have since confirmed that a con rod was to blame, as it was with Massa.
With no respite after their long weekend in the Americas Cup city, Ferrari had its race engineers in meetings with factory-based colleagues on Monday, carrying out a heavier-than-usual post-race debrief, during which key points of Sunday's performance were re-examined.
To underline the seriousness of the discussions, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo played his own part, before heading off to another meeting with the Scuderia's senior management to discuss all aspects of the situation the team currently finds itself in with six races still to run in 2008.
Initial analysis of Raikkonen's engine, which also arrived back in Maranello on Monday morning, revealed that the breakage had been caused by a con rod, but further checks were being carried out to confirm suspicions that it could have been related to the issue that sidelined Massa.
The team's engineers were aware that the 056 engine fitted to the world champion's car was 'at risk', as the unit was on its second race under current F1 rules, and was fitted with con rods that were from the same batch used on Massa's engine in Hungary. However, changing the engine would have seen the Finn start even further down the order than the disappointing fourth position he found himself in on Saturday afternoon. On a circuit that duly provided few overtaking opportunities, that was not considered to be a realistic option. Massa was able to fit a fresh engine after his Budapest failure.
"Unfortunately, like the last time in Hungary for Felipe, there was no indication at all," team principal Stefano Domenicali said of the failure, "We saw the smoke on the main straight once again, and we are now disassembling the engine to understand what is the real problem, so I cannot give you an answer straight away as to what it was because the guys are still working on the engine. But there was no warning at all."
Ferrari will be back on track today [Tuesday] in an effort to find and cure the problem ahead of next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, with occasional test driver Andrea Bertolini giving the F2008 its first outing at Monza as the Scuderia uses the second of four 'joker' days available to teams as part of the current testing regulations. Massa will take over from the Italian on Wednesday and Thursday, with Raikkonen bringing what is expected to be an intensive session to a close.