Ross Brawn has revealed that the reason for Rubens Barrichello's pre-qualifying engine change was a cracked block, a highly unusual problem for any team in F1, never mind Ferrari.

The problem occurred despite the fact that the Brazilian did no proper running on Friday morning, in an effort to conserve the car.

"We had a crack in the cylinder block, and it happened at the end of practice," Brawn revealed to Crash.net, "It started using more oil than we expected and, when we checked, it was cracked. It's the first time we've had it."

Brawn doesn't anticipate that there will be problems with the other engines that the team is using in Spain.

"I don't think it's a batch issue, but it's such an unusual problem, we've never seen it before," he continued, "We're not too concerned about it, but we've got to strip the engine down and understand what happened."

Barrichello's ten-place penalty means that, in effect, he drops from his overnight position of ninth to 19th. From there, it would seem likely that Ferrari would put him on an 'all or nothing' strategy, and will probably start the Brazilian with a full tank of fuel in the hope that he can make up ground while his rivals stop early on.

 

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