Ferrari's initial analysis of Charles Leclerc's sudden loss of power in the Bahrain Grand Prix points to a cylinder miscombustion issue as the source of the performance drop.
Leclerc was comfortably leading Sunday's race, head and shoulders above the opposition, when he reported a problem with his power unit just over ten laps from the checkered flag.
The young Monegasque rapidly lost ground but salvaged a third-place finish, thanks only to the timely deployment of the Safety Car in the remaining three laps of the race.
"We are checking now the engine so we do not have yet a clear explanation of what happened," said Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto.
"It is an engine problem. We had miscombustion on one cylinder but [the reason is] to be understood.
"The engine will go back to Maranello for careful checks because when something like this happens you need to take your time to do your checks carefully.
"But the engine was running at the end of the race so it is still able to run.
"We will use it certainly on the Friday in China and we have an entire Friday to assess its behaviour, its functionality and its performance."
As Leclerc's hopes of conquering his maiden Grand Prix win vanished like a mirage in the Bahrain desert, commentators pointed to an MGU-H failure as the reason for the SF90's drop in power.
"I don’t know where the rumours came from, there was nothing wrong with the MGU-H," said Binotto.
"When something like that happens you try to move on the recovery in terms of any combustion control mapping that you may do, at least you try to change mappings.
"You try to see if there is any way to make it better. That was not the case today so we had to manage the race.
"It has been a brave decision to continue racing in those conditions. But at the end it was a third place that was important so finally probably the right decision."
It was but a meager consolation, but amid his distress, Leclerc tagged on an extra championship point for fastest lap at Sakhir, a feat that may have its importance at the end of the season.