The grid penalty is an early setback for Charles Leclerc's title chances with Ferrari
Paris (AFP) - Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was on Wednesday hit with a 10-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The sanction was meted out by Formula One’s rulers the FIA after Ferrari were forced to change the power unit twice in Leclerc’s car at the season-opening race in Bahrain.
Ferrari then moved to use a third power unit for the race in Saudi Arabia, breaking the rules that only permit two changes in an entire season.
Leclerc, who is already 25 points adrift of double world champion Max Verstappen’s Red Bull after he failed to finish in Bahrain, faces further penalties if more parts need to be changed on his car ahead of Sunday’s race in Jeddah.
Ferrari’s new team principal Fred Vasseur explained what had gone wrong for the scuderia in Bahrain.
“On Sunday, we had two different issues,” he told Formula1.com.
“The first one was on the Sunday morning, when we did the fire up, and the second one was in the race. Unfortunately, it was two times the control unit, the ECU.
“It’s something that we never experienced in the past. I hope now it’s under control, but we have a deep analysis on this.”
The former Alfa Romeo chief, who took over from Matteo Binotti after last year’s reliability-hit campaign, added: “Unfortunately, we’ll have to take the penalty in Jeddah, because we have only a pool of two control units for the season.”
In Bahrain, Leclerc was running a comfortable third when he experienced a loss of power on lap 47 and retired, Verstappen going on to win from Sergio Perez for a Red Bull 1-2.