Ferrari had software problem early in Australian Grand Prix
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, March 28th 2014, 06:47 GMT|
Ferrari's lack of pace early in the Australian Grand Prix was caused by a software glitch outside of its control that left both its drivers without full energy recovery boost.
Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen struggled in the opening laps of the Melbourne season opener as they were unable to use the 120KW of power they have available from their car's MGU-K.
That proved particularly costly for Alonso who, without the boost, lost out to Nico Hulkenberg on lap one and then got stuck behind the Force India throughout the first stint.
Ferrari launched an investigation after the race to find out why the MGU-K was not working, and it found out that the problem was caused by issues with how software provided by F1's organisers interacted with its car.
According to appendix 3 of F1's technical regulations, drivers can only use their MGU-K after the start of the race when their car has reached 100km/h.
The confirmation that the car has reached this speed is registered by a control system that is managed by both FOM and the FIA.
A glitch somewhere in this system meant that the Ferrari cars were never registered as having reached the 100 km/h marker - so their MGU-K never automatically activated.
After two laps without any MGU-K, Alonso and Raikkonen did manage to operate a manual over-ride of the system to deploy the kinetic energy themselves.
But this was still not delivering as much laptime as the system in fully working order would have done.
The system managed to reset itself at the first round of pitstops, however, meaning Alonso and Raikkonen had fully functioning cars for the remainder of the race.
It is not clear how much the early issues cost the team but it was possible that Alonso would have made it on to the podium if he had not been stuck behind Hulkenberg at first.
AUTOSPORT understands that changes have been made to the control box software supplied to Ferrari for Malaysia that should ensure there is no repeat of the Australian GP issues.