Grid penalty for Leclerc in Canada

Charles Leclerc

Former championship leader Charles Leclerc will take a grid penalty for Sunday’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver was a dramatic retirement from last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix when he suffered a power unit failure while leading.

It’s an issue the team acknowledged on Friday morning in Montreal with a brief statement to accredited media, including

“Investigation confirmed Charles’ Baku PU is beyond repair,” the note read.

“One possible cause of the failure is that it occurred as a consequence of the PU problem in Spain.

“We are now working on countermeasures to strengthen the package and the situation is under control.”

Leclerc headed into Free Practice 1 in Canada with a new internal combustion unit, the third such example he’s used this season.

That in itself does not attract a penalty, as teams this season have a pool of components from which they can draw and are only penalised if they exceed that figure – three examples in most cases.

However, following Free Practice 2 it was confirmed that Ferrari would fit a new control electronics unit to his car.

Teams are allowed two per car for the season, with that being fitted to Leclerc’s F1-75 his third.

As such, he’ll pick up a 10-place grid drop.

It is expected that he’ll likely also take a new turbocharger ahead of track action on Saturday commencing.

Should he do so, he’ll head to the rear of the grid, joining Yuki Tsunoda.

It’s also likely that there will be further penalties later in the year for Leclerc, as Canada is Round 9 of a 23-event season.

“Obviously we are not in the best situation possible,” Leclerc said prior to Free Practice 1.

“It’s up to us to choose the best track where you want to get a penalty, if you get a penalty,” he added when questioned whether he’d take the hit this weekend or in Silverstone next time out.

“This is one of the tracks where it’s actually quite easy to overtake, but there are also some of the tracks in the next three or four races where it’s easer to overtake.

“We’ll discuss and try and take the best decision from that.”

Leclerc was only fifth fastest in opening practice, some way down on team-mate Carlos Sainz, suggesting a greater emphasis on long run pace.

In Free Practice 2 he improved to second best, ending the day less than a tenth shy of points leader Max Verstappen.

Running in Canada resumes at 03:00 AEST on Sunday with a final hour of practice.

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