Charles Leclerc will have a grid penalty at the Brazilian Grand Prix due to a mechanical problem in Austin that resulted in his needing a new power unit.
Ferrari told Leclerc to stop his car on track at the start of FP3 in the United States due to an oil leak, and changed his power unit for an older specification. The team analyzed the power unit that was in the car at the time and determined that is it too damaged to use again, opting instead to fit a new engine at Interlagos that will force Leclerc to take a grid drop.
“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,” said Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto.
“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.”
Sebastian Vettel retired in Austin after a suspension failure, but is looking to Brazil as a chance to fight for victory despite a poor Ferrari performance in the US.
“Racing in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, I think in a nutshell, anything can happen,” Vettel said. “I don’t know why, but there is something about this place and this circuit. Every year, something crazy happens and, if it doesn’t, you can be sure it will the following year.
“This is another track that has suited us well in the past and treated us well over the last couple of years. I remember we had good pace there and Kimi (Raikkonen) was on the podium last year, while two years ago we won the race. I think overall it’s been a good hunting ground for us and hopefully it will be like that again this weekend.”