Carlos Sainz will start the French Grand Prix with at least a 10-place grid penalty as a result of a power unit component change.
The Spaniard has suffered failures in two of the last four grands prix, retiring in Azerbaijan and Austria, with the latter resulting in a spectacular fire. Much like teammate Charles Leclerc — who took a grid penalty in Canada — Sainz was always going to need new power unit components and Ferrari has chosen Paul Ricard to take the penalty.
For now, the only component that Sainz has changed is the control electronics, a move that gives him a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s grand prix. However, it is expected there will be more new components introduced ahead of FP3 — again as Leclerc did in Montreal — that will demote Sainz to the back of the grid.
Following the retirement in Austria, where Sainz was running third and looked set to take second place from Max Verstappen, the Ferrari driver has dropped 75 points behind the championship leader in the standings.
Sainz is the only driver with a grid drop at this stage, with the two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell taking a number of new components from within their permitted allocations.