Reportase.one – Ferrari confirmed that their flagship driver, Charles Leclerc will be penalized at the Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix in Jeddah this weekend, following a power unit electronic component replacement that has exceeded his per-season allocation.
The Italian factory team replaced the battery and electronic controls on Leclerc’s engine prior to the start of the 2023 F1 opener in Bahrain two weeks ago.
The Monaco racer then had to lose the podium due to technical problems ahead of the finish.
F1 regulations allow teams to use two electronic control components per season without being penalized, however Leclerc will use the third component for the Jeddah race so he will be penalized at least 10 starting positions.
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“We found the cause of the problem that stopped Leclerc at Sakhir and will use the third CU (control unit) in his car, which means we will receive a penalty,” said Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur as quoted from the team’s official website, Wednesday (15/3/ 2023).
“The Saudi Arabian track is very different from Bahrain in terms of layout and surface, and top speed is very important here. I am sure that we can have a better weekend here.”
After last year’s Azerbaijan GP, Ferrari was forced to reduce their engine power to minimize the risk of damage.
However, following the breakdown of Leclerc’s car in Bahrain, Ferrari was again plagued by reliability problems as rival Red Bull dominated by finishing 1-2 in the season’s opening race.
Ferrari also missed out on a podium opportunity after Carlos Sainz was overtaken by Fernando Alonso to take the podium on behalf of Aston Martin, who have caught the eye with their speed potential since pre-season testing.
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However, Vasseur emphasized that his team would not reduce their engine power this season.
The second race of the season takes place at the Jeddah Corniche circuit, which is touted as the fastest road circuit in the world.
With 27 corners, the most of any circuit on the calendar, as well as a length of 6.1km, Jeddah is the longest road circuit in F1.
Leclerc last year finished second in Jeddah as well as taking additional points from the fastest lap with Sainz completing the podium behind Max Verstappen of the Red Bull team who won last year.
Ferrari will harness the power of the SF-23 which excels in the straight for this weekend’s race.