Charles LeClerc is set to begin this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix with a grid penalty after Ferrari confirmed that he would have a new powertrain. 

He needed a fresh one after suffering engine failure during the US Grand Prix.  That took him over the permitted number of parts every season.

His engine failed during the final practice session in Austin, so he had to use an older engine for the weekend.

The penalty will mean the Monegasque driver will drop ten grid places for the second last race of the season.

The news is definitely a blow to LeClerc as he currently is in third place in the driver standings and only 14 points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. He is another five points in front of his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

So the grid penalty on the upcoming GP places him in a precarious position as it allows Vettel and Verstappen the opportunity to close the distance.

Ferrari was not immediately able to reveal the engine element that was replaced for LeClerc, which earned him the penalty.

Ferrari was beaten to pole position in Austin by Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes, while Verstappen came in third. 

It brought an end to a six consecutive pole position run. They were otherwise uncompetitive during the Austin Grand Prix as LeClerc finished fourth, and Vettel did not finish.

Rivals claim Scuderia’s performance drop was related to the regulation classification given over the weekend concerning the use of the engine hybrid system. It was an accusation that Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has categorically denied.

Binotto stated that the US Grand Prix had been frustrating because the team was unable to deliver the results they expected.

Despite the grid drop, LeClerc will be looking to bounce back in Sao Paulo. There are two races remaining, and he will be looking to cement his third-place position from the clutches of Verstappen and Vettel.

Binotto described Brazil as a fresh start, adding that the fitment of a new power unit would mean taking the grid penalty in Sao Paulo though they would be back to their performance level and have some fighting spirit to end the season on a high note.

It would also confirm if the team is making progress with their car and that momentum would be transferred into their winter work.

LeClerc’s teammate Vettel stated Interlagos is a track that has suited Ferrari in the past, so he is confident about Ferrari’s performance in the weekend.

charles-4341624_640 (1) Charles LeClerc Photo: Pixabay