Charles Leclerc will drop 10 places on the grid at the Brazilian Grand Prix for using a new internal combustion engine.
Ferrari confirmed Leclerc would be taking a grid penalty ahead of this weekend’s race at Interlagos as a result of needed to fit a new engine after a problem during FP3 at the last race at Circuit of The Americas. In communicating the change, the team did not specify which new components would be taken, and therefore how many positions Leclerc would lose.
On Friday morning the FIA confirmed that Leclerc has only taken a new internal combustion engine (ICE) and as this is the fourth new one of the season it carries a grid penalty of 10 places. However, it remains possible that Ferrari could fit other new components later in the weekend that would result in a further grid drop.
Leclerc confirmed on Thursday that the new engine is of the same specification as the previous one, rather than an upgrade with an eye on next season.
“The engine is exactly the same one as the one we’ve had issues with in Austin, so nothing new on that,” Leclerc said. “It will only be a new one because the previous one could not be used anymore.
“We haven’t spoke about it,” he added when asked whether Ferrari considered using an upgraded engine ahead of 2020. “The phone call I had was basically that we are putting in the same engine spec as the one we’ve lost in Austin.”
Leclerc ended a rain-affected first practice session at Interlagos in fourth place, one position behind teammate Sebastian Vettel and 1.1 seconds slower than the fastest time set by Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.