Sauber Drivers Hit by Spark Problems

Sauber have vowed to get to the bottom of the spark coil problems that hindered their drivers in the Hungarian Grand Prix before the season resumes in Turkey

Sauber Drivers Hit by Spark Problems

Felipe Massa could manage no better than 14th after losing time in the pits with the problems, while Jacques Villeneuve retired late in the race with suspected fire damage as a result of the issue.

Initial inspection of the coils appears to point to a temperature related issue, caused by the heat in Hungary, meaning a solution needs to be put in place before Turkey where it is expected to be just as hot.

Technical director Willy Rampf said: "We suffered spark coil problems on both cars this afternoon, Felipe and Jacques each losing power and experiencing small under bonnet fires during their pit stops when there was no airflow over the cars. The temperatures beneath the engine covers were very high.

"In Felipe's case we changed the coils and he resumed the race after a delay; in Jacques' we think that the fire damaged other components and led to his subsequent retirement. We will check the data to determine the cause when we get back to Hinwil and to find a solution for the next race in Istanbul, which will be even hotter."

Villeneuve claimed that the problems he and Massa suffered almost certainly cost the team the chance of scoring valuable championship points.

"It was a hot, disappointing race, particularly as we will now have bad qualifying starting positions in Turkey," said the former World Champion. "We tried to make the finish to improve that situation, but unfortunately I was unable to make it home.

"I had the same problem as Felipe, losing power because of an overheating spark coil, but otherwise the car was strong today.

"Our strategy was good and it looked quite promising that we could challenge for points at one stage. Now the summer break will help everyone in the team, and we will try again in Turkey."

Massa added: "To begin with things were okay. I made a great start and was running comfortably in the top 10, but three laps before my second scheduled pit stop the car went on to what felt to me like eight cylinders - like I was testing for next year!

"When I was called into the pits on lap 43 there was a small fire but that was okay. My crew put it out very quickly. What caused the delay was having a set of new spark coils fitted.

"After that I went back out and the car was okay again, but I had lost far too much time to achieve anything meaningful. A shame, because once again the race balance was good."

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