Ferrari to Ask FIA Permission for Engine Changes?

Ferrari have the biggest engine-related problems than any other team in the F1 roster this season, including the ones using the new Cosworth units. While the initial problems experienced by Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso (the latter's engine actually broke down in Sepang) in the first 4 rounds of the 2010 season have been played down by the Scuderia, some German media reports suggest otherwise.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Ferrari have finally identified the problem with their 2.4 litre V8s this season, and it's not pretty. It seems that the reason why Ferrari's engines wear out so quickly is because of the pneumatic valves.

Too much air is escaping from the engine during the races, and because of the new regulations there is not enough time during the single pitstop to replenish the 2.4 litre V8s,” said the report from the German publication, as quoted by the GMM news agency.

Under the circumstances, Alonso and Massa may lose some valuable grid positions in the late races of the season, as using an extra engine (to the 8 units per season allowed by the FIA) enforces a 10-place grid penalty for the first race in which it is fitted into the car. However, Ferrari already seems to have a back-up plan, as they are now considering asking the FIA to to make changes to their powerplants on grounds of reliability.

According to the same publication, the ruling body may allow the Italians to proceed to working on their engines if they provide enough evidence to sustain their reliability claims. The FIA would therefore exempt Ferrari from the engine freeze policy in the series, but they will not allow them to work on the engines that Massa and Alonso already used so far.

From the two drivers, the Spaniard is obviously in the most trouble in terms of engine allocation so far, as he has already used 3 out of 8 engines after only 4 rounds. The 2010 Formula One calendar contains 19 races.
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