Carlos Sainz hit with five-place penalty for Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz with his hand to his head. Austin October 2022

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz with his hand to his head. Austin October 2022

Carlos Sainz will start the Sao Paulo Grand Prix five places back from where he finishes in the sprint after having a new internal combustion engine fitted, his sixth of the season.

The penalty will be applied to the grand prix rather than Saturday’s sprint, which means he will start the shorter ‘race’ wherever he qualifies on Friday.

The FIA said Sainz was in breach of Article 28.2 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations having used his sixth ICE of the season so far.

The regulations dictate the first breach of the allocated amount, i.e the fifth ICE, means a 10-place penalty while every breach after that is five, hence Sainz’s penalty in Brazil.

It is not the first time this season the Ferrari man has been hit with a grid penalty having changed his control electronics for the third time at the French Grand Prix. In the same race, Sainz took a new energy store, MGU-K and gearbox which meant he started at the back of the grid.

Despite the penalty, Sainz remains in with a chance of winning the sprint as he will not have to serve his drop until Sunday’s race. The Ferrari man finished P4 in the first practice session.

Ferrari will be hoping their man can make his way up the field as they remain locked in a battle for P2 with Mercedes. Speaking on Thursday, Sainz said the extra wind tunnel time was not enough to tempt Ferrari into settling for P3.

“I think we would take P2,” he said in the pre-Sao Paulo Grand Prix press conference when asked about whether Ferrari would prefer second or third.

“In these kind of things, I think they should prioritise position in the championship.

“If not, we wouldn’t be fighting for positions in the championship. No, I think the competition is the number one priority and finishing ahead of your competition should always be more satisfying than finishing one position behind and then not getting the wind tunnel or the money.

“So I hope the rules are also designed that your main motivation is to finish ahead. If not, I wouldn’t understand it.”

Ferrari showed better pace in FP1 following their disappointing outing at the Mexican Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc was within 0.004 seconds of leader Sergio Perez and said on Thursday he felt the team were “more in line” with the performance pre-Mexico.

“I feel like we’ll be back a bit more in line with the performance we’ve had before Mexico because Mexico was really difficult for us,” said Leclerc. “Hopefully, we can be fighting more at the front.

“We’ll be back to normal here. Mexico was, again, very high altitude, we struggled a bit more there, but I’m confident we will come back to normal here.”