Ferrari North Europe has officially explained the fault that has caused five of the very earliest examples of its 458 supercar to catch fire.

"When the car is driven to high exhaust temperatures, in hot ambient temperatures, the adhesive used in the wheelarch assemblies can overheat and allow the rear wheel housing heat shields to move around. In extreme cases, the glue can begin to smoke and even catch fire," a Ferrari spokesperson told Autocar.

"It would only be a problem on cars driven very hard, and has only affected a handful of the 1248 458 Italias we've delivered so far – none in the UK,” our source confirmed.

Ferrari claims that the problem has been made to look more serious than it should because of unfortunate timing and innaccurate reporting. A new 458 was written off because of a warehouse fire recently, and others have been crashed, the firm says, causing some areas of the media to suggest the car is 'jinxed'.

Ferrari will recall all of the 458s delivered so far to fit new wheelarch liners, which will be attached more securely. It will also be replacing any cars that have been damaged as a result of the problem. All new 458s built now that Ferrari’s Maranello plant has re-opened after the summer shutdown will be rectified before they leave the factory.See all the latest Ferrari reviews, news and video