Leclerc hit with 10-PLACE grid penalty ahead of Saudi Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc hit with 10-PLACE grid penalty ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix… after replacing control electronics that forced the Ferrari’s retirement in Bahrain

  • Ferrari used both of their allotted two control units on opening weekend
  • Despite replacing the unit before the race, Leclerc had to retire early in Bahrain
  • Team principal Fred Vasseur played down rumours of high profile departures 

Ferrari’s star driver Charles Leclerc will pick up a 10-place grid penalty going into qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

The Monegasque’s team principal Fred Vasseur confirmed that the driver had exceeded his allocation of power unit control electronics following adjustments to his SF-23. 

Leclerc was forced into retirement in the season opener in Bahrain on March 5 after his car ground to a halt due to loss of power. 

The Ferrari’s control electronics were at fault, despite being replaced as late as the morning before the race. 

As per the FIA, drivers are allowed two control units to last the entire season. 

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari got the worst possible start to the season after a power failure led to early retirement at the Bahrain Grand Prix (pictured)

The 25-year-old will face a hefty penalty ahead of race weekend due to power unit issues

Vasseur explained on Wednesday that Ferrari had ‘never experienced’ similar problems in past seasons. 

‘Unfortunately, it was two times the control electronics box and it’s something that we never experienced in the past,’ the Ferrari boss clarified. 

‘I hope that now we have it under control. We have deep analysis on this. 

‘Unfortunately, we’ll have to take the penalty in Jeddah, because we only have a pool of two control electronics for the season.’

Ferrari will look to improve on last year’s second and third place finishes in Jeddah this weekend, on a track which could lend itself to the SF-23’s straight-line speed. 

Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz fared better in the first race of the Formula One season, but missed out on a podium position, finishing behind his compatriot Fernando Alonso in his nippy Aston Martin who came third. 

Red Bull’s one-two finish for team-mates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez is expected to set the tone in Jeddah, and possibly the rest of the season. 

The Italian team will have been disquieted by the return of old problems after the scuderia struggled with engine consistency for most of the 2022 season.   

Ferrari were extremely disappointed with how Leclerc’s SF-23 fared in Bahrain’s season opener

The Monegasque cut a dejected figure as he returned to the pits ahead his retirement

Fred Vasseur (left) took over from Mattia Binotto, who oversaw a tumultuos tenure at Ferrari

Vasseur’s appointment in the wake of the dismissal of former team principal Mattia Binotto was supposed to reignite the team’s title hopes as they hunt for their first world championship since 2009. 

Binotto’s departure was not the only change at the top of the scuderia, with senior engineer and aerodynamics expert David Sanchez leaving Maranello after a decade at the historic outfit. 

Vasseur was quick to play down additional high profile departures, however, saying that Ferrari was a ‘solid group’.  

‘We are building up a team for the future also, and the link is good. So no, I don’t think that key people will leave the team,” he added.

Source: Read Full Article