Leclerc hindered by power unit issues in FP2

Jamie Woodhouse
Mechanics work on the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. England, July 2022.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari pit box as mechanics work on the car. England, July 2022.

Charles Leclerc revealed problems with his Ferrari power unit made for a disrupted Friday at Silverstone.

The opening session of the British Grand Prix race weekend featured limited running as heavy rain showers soaked parts of the track, which meant there was plenty of FP2 action as the drivers looked to make up for lost time.

Leclerc was not quite in his usual lofty heights in the standings though, managing to finish only P5 in the session, 0.462s slower than his team-mate Carlos Sainz who set the pace.

Speaking to reporters after FP2, Leclerc said: “Tricky day. The first session we didn’t get much data from, just because of the weather and very few laps.

“And in FP2 we had quite a bit of problems on my side, so hopefully tomorrow we can have a bit of a cleaner day and have things going our way.”

When pushed to reveal what those problems were, Leclerc explained they were related to the power unit, which on several occasions already this season has cost him golden opportunities for victory.

He is confident, though, they can be resolved through set-up changes.

“I don’t know if there was a radio message on the coverage but overall, just some power unit [problems],” he revealed.

“Things that were making it very difficult to drive, but it’s fine. I mean, it’s small, it’s set-up more than problems, so we will modify for tomorrow.”

Leclerc was unable to make a step forward when switching from the medium to soft tyres, in contrast to Sainz.

Asked if those power unit issues accounted for that, Leclerc said: “Yeah, with the soft it was very tricky again for some reason. It didn’t feel as good as on the mediums.

“Again, we’ve had those small issues that weren’t easy also to manage. But overall, I think the performance is in the car. So this is positive and hopefully again tomorrow we can put everything together and have a good day.”

Sainz was not surprised to be at the front of the standings on Friday, saying he expects the Ferrari F1-75 to be competitive at every track as he now eyes another close scrap with Red Bull to build on his tussle with Max Verstappen in Canada.

“I think we are expecting to be competitive at every circuit this year because the car is certainly a very competitive car,” he said. “As is the Red Bull, so I think we all knew coming into this weekend it would be a tight battle and again, it looks like it’s the same here.”

Sainz took to the team radio during Friday practice to point out how bumpy the ride was in his Ferrari, the Spaniard later explaining that of all the tracks visited so far in this new generation of cars, Silverstone is proving to be the biggest challenge yet.

“It’s not easy, it’s probably one of the most challenging circuits we have been to with these cars,” he claimed.

“The way the cars behave in high-speed corners is certainly a very big challenge with the weight, with the ride and everything, but we are trying out there to get used to it to tune up the car balance and the set-up to make it a bit easier to have a bit of an easier life.”