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Ferrari had no choice on Vettel F1 engine change at Malaysian GP

Ferrari's decision to change Sebastian Vettel's engine ahead of Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying was not a precautionary measure as originally thought

The Maranello squad decided to replace Vettel's engine after detecting an electrical problem at the end of FP3, initially claiming it was doing so as a precaution.

Although the team managed to fit the new engine in time for qualifying, a turbo pressure issue meant Vettel was unable to complete a timed lap in Q1.

The team fitted a unit that was intended to be used in Japan next weekend, and which featured the fourth V6 and fourth MGU-H of Vettel's allocation, but an older turbo and other parts.

Despite the team originally saying the change was precautionary, the team later indicated that the problem with the first engine could not be fixed at the track, so it would be wrong to consider the decision to make the change ahead of qualifying as a mistake.

Vettel added: "We had the issue this morning and we decided to change the engine.

"Then I went out, everything was fine, and then during the flying lap in Turn 5 all of a sudden I lost power.

"I was lucky that we got back so we could have a look, but we couldn't fix the problem on track.

"What happened is that I lost boost pressure, so I had no power basically, but why, we don't know yet."

The team did attempt to send Vettel out in the closing minutes of Q1, but in the end it could not fix the issue.

"We tried to prepare everything so we got the tyres on the car, because we knew that roughly two minutes before the end of the session we have to go out," Vettel added.

"So we fired up and had a check. We tried to find the engine problem when we took the engine cover off.

"We couldn't find anything so we decided to fire up, and see if we can go again.

"But as soon as the engine is running you have telemetry, and then checked the data, and they could see that the same issue was still there."

Vettel insisted that he can still get a decent haul of points on Sunday despite a qualifying day to forget.

"It's very bitter, but this is motor racing," he said.

"It's a shame because the car is quick, but that's also a good thing because tomorrow we've got a lot of laps.

"I expect that we'll get back [to the lead group], we have a quick car.

"I can't give you a number, I don't have an expectation, but anything can happen."

Vettel has the option to take a fifth turbo, having been stuck on four - with the threat of a penalty looming - for much of the season.

"We're looking at that. It makes sense - let's see what we have and we'll see what we put," he added.

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