Charles Leclerc likely to start at the back following engine and gearbox change

Sam Cooper
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc following his retirement from the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard, July 2022.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc following his retirement from the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard, July 2022.

Charles Leclerc will likely start at the back of the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix after taking a new engine, his fifth of the season.

Motorsport.com reports that the Ferrari man has opted to take a new engine and it will be the debut of the upgraded hybrid system. In addition, he will also use a new gearbox for the race in Belgium.

It will be the second time this season that the Ferrari man has started from the back of the grid having last done so in Canada where he went on to finish P5.

It is likely Ferrari chose the race in Spa to take the hit given the overtaking opportunities offered there meaning Leclerc can be confident of salvaging some places back and minimising the amount of points lost between him and Championship leader Max Verstappen.

There is a possibility that the Red Bull driver will also take a new engine potentially setting up a back-of-the-grid fight between him and Leclerc but that has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Returning from the summer break, Leclerc trails Verstappen by 80 points and Ferrari are 97 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship. His team-mate Carlos Sainz will not take a new power unit for the race at Spa.

Despite the blow, Leclerc remains confident that he is still in the title fight. Considering the 80-point gap that separates him and the current World Champion, Leclerc said they would approach the races one by one.

“Well, I think we’ll take it one by one as a team,” he told the media ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

“But for sure we need to try and maximise every opportunity that we have ahead, and I still believe in the championship of course, it’s going to be a very difficult challenge, but I will believe in it until the very end.”

The 24-year-old also said he felt rejuvenated following the summer break having suffered so much heart break in the campaign so far.

“I needed it. I mean the first part of the season has been full of highs or lows. So, loads of emotions and there’s lots of accumulation of emotions, which leads to being tired.

“So, I was quite happy to go on the holidays and I used these three weeks in the best way possible with my family, my friends. And yeah, it was just great.”