Leclerc facing at least 10-place drop in Brazil

Mark Scott


Charles Leclerc is already on the back foot for the Brazilian Grand Prix with the Ferrari driver forced to take engine penalties.

Leclerc’s engine went up in smoke during FP3 at the United States Grand Prix, forcing him to use an old power unit from earlier on in the season.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has now confirmed that the damaged PU could not be fixed and so a new current-spec Ferrari unit will be fitted.

However, that means at least a 10-place grid penalty is currently on its way at Interlagos. He could drop to the back if Ferrari decide to introduce more new components.

“We come to the penultimate round of the season after a frustrating race in Austin, where we were unable to deliver the results we felt we could have done,” Binotto said in Ferrari’s Brazil preview.

“On Saturday, we missed out on taking a historic seventh consecutive pole by just one hundredth of a second with Sebastian, although we can take comfort from the fact it showed the raw performance was there.

“On Sunday, Charles’ pace in the first stint was poor although his car performance level was back to normal after the first pit stop. So we will put all this behind us now and look ahead to Brazil and a fresh start.

“Charles will get a new Power Unit there, as his was damaged on Saturday in Austin, which meant he had to use a previously used and less powerful version for the rest of the weekend.

“Fitting a new PU means taking a grid-penalty in Sao Paulo, but we should be back to our normal performance level and show some fighting spirit to finish the season on a high note.

“That will be important in order to confirm we are making progress with our car and to take some of that momentum into the winter work. I know that our drivers and the whole team are fully focused on that.”

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