Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Charles Leclerc will lose his job at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after his Ferrari team was forced to fit a different electronically controlled power unit, which resulted in a penalty.
Ferrari replaced Leclerc’s Power Store and Control Electronics in the engine ahead of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix season. Monegasque later retired, battling for a podium finish behind two Red Bulls.
With teams only allowed to use two electronic controls per season without any penalties, moving Leclerc to third in the second race in Jeddah will see him drop at least 10 places this Sunday – and possibly more if they replace any other parts – and increase his chances of taking one more penalty kick at the end of the season.
“We had two different problems on Sunday,” said Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, speaking to several media on Wednesday. “The first time was Sunday morning when we lit the bonfire and the second time was during the race. Unfortunately, it’s twice the control unit, the ECU.
“It’s something we haven’t experienced in the past. Hopefully, this is under control now, but we have an in-depth analysis of this. Unfortunately, in Jeddah, we will have to do a penalty because we only have a team of two control units per season.
After last year’s Baku, Ferrari was forced to run the engines with less power to reduce the risk of breakdowns. However, much of the work has proven difficult over the winter and although they are having problems in Bahrain, Vasseur added that they have no intention of shutting down the power for the upcoming races as a precaution.
Leclerc heads into this weekend’s Saudi Arabian grand prix 25 points clear of championship leader Max Verstappen – and while he is understandably faltering after failing to score in his first match of the season, Vasseur said he is not worried about thoughts and motivations Monegasque.
Vasseur added: “Charles was with us after the tire test on Tuesday and he was at the factory on Wednesday morning. “We gave a speech to the staff where we all stood on stage. Obviously, Charles was motivated, we finished the race in 23rd.
2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Speeding around the Saudi streets
Expect the unexpected. Racing at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit can be described as organized chaos. It is the fastest street lap in the world and of the 23 laps on the F1 calendar, only Monza is faster, with cars reaching an average of 250 km/h.
It has the most corners on the calendar with 27, but only seven of them are braking points and the rest absolutely. There are three DRS zones squeezed into this area, and the slowest of the 27 corners comes at the end of one of these three zones, making it a great overtaking opportunity.
Situated along the magnificent sailing shores of the Red Sea coast, the 6,174km high speed street is reminiscent of Monaco in terms of speed, with 79% of the lap time used.
2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Stat pack
• This will be the third Saudi Grand Prix
• Lando finished both Saudi Grands Prix with the same number of points
• Oscar won two Formula 2 races in Jeddah in one weekend, taking first place in the 2021 Sprint and Highlights Race
• Both riders scored points in the first Saudi GP
• Our fastest Jeddah Corniche Circuit qualifier to date was set by Lando in 2021 with a time of 1.28.180s
• Jeddah Corniche Circuit is the second longest race on the calendar
• The track is the longest street circuit on the calendar