The Ferrari team has been penalized: Charles Leclerc will serve a 10-place grid penalty in Jeddah

A grid penalty will be imposed, according to Team CEO Fred Vasseur at a press conference from Maranello

In an interview organized by Ferrari, team CEO Fred Vasseur confirmed that Charles Leclerc will serve his first penalty of 2023 this Sunday.

After a problem prematurely ended his race in Bahrain a fortnight ago, the Monaco-born driver will need to change his electronic control unit.

Leclerc changed a control unit and battery before the race Bahrain, which left him on the verge of punishment after the race failure.

In both cases, it was a control unit issue, something that had never happened to us before,” Vasseur said.

Thus, Leclerc will lose 10 positions on a grid where he was aiming to repeat last year’s pole position and to compete with the two Red Bulls on the long straights.

With a focus on straight line speed to try to compete with Verstappen, it was considered the best race to assess the SF23’s approach this year.

Ferrari was said to be able to save the changed elements before the Sakhir test, and avoid the penalty. However, now it appears that a third one is being installed in order to prevent a repeat of the Jeddah failure, since a second zero for Leclerc would virtually eliminate him from the title race, as well as further damaging Ferrari’s reputation.

According to rumor in the paddock, the SF-23 is experiencing excessive vibrations, but this is not officially confirmed by the Scuderia.

Since these elements almost never break, not even with last year’s massive ‘porpoising,’ there may be some other associated problem, such as overheating.

The race is on for Carlos Sainz

With these circumstances and the open debate over Leclerc’s leadership, the track conditions in Saudi Arabia suggest Carlos Sainz will be Ferrari’s number one, with a very real chance of taking pole and winning the race.

He finished third last year in Jeddah and will go for it again this weekend. Fernando Alonso is probably the most talked-about driver after his stunning performance in Bahrain, but Sainz is Spain’s best hope of a victory.

Despite not specifying what upgrades are coming to the Ferrari package in the coming weeks, the French director made it clear he expects improvements in every race.

He concluded, “We will bring new developments to Jeddah and Australia.”.


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