Vettel hit by same problem as Grosjean
25 June 2012 – It has been revealed that alternator failure was the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from the lead of Sunday’s European Grand Prix. The problem, diagnosed by engine supplier Renault Sport F1, was the same issue that took out second placed Romain Grosjean while challenging Fernando Alonso for the lead later in the race.
Vettel pulled over on the Lap 34 restart which followed the Safety Car appearance, having previously held a huge leading advantage of over 20 seconds.
“It was a bitterly disappointing race for Sebastian, who had done everything right,” said gutted Team Principal Christian Horner. “He looked to be in comfortable control until unfortunately, during the Safety Car period, we had a suspected issue with the alternator which caused him to retire. We need to get the car back to fully understand the failure which we will work through with Renault, as it looked similar to the one that Grosjean had.”
Renault’s Cyril Dumont admits that the causes of the Vettel and Grosjean retirements are likely to be the same.
“The alternator overheated, stopped supplying electrical power and the engine shut down,” he bluntly explained of Vettel. “We’re not sure exactly why – it could be a number of things – but it’s definitely something we’ll look at when we get back to Viry.”
Vettel’s last retirement from the lead was also an engine issue; coincidentally, that also gifted victory to Alonso, when the Renault unit blew up at the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.