Leclerc and Sargeant to start from pit lane for Spanish GP
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 4th June, 2023 - 8:18pm
Ferrari has confirmed Charles Leclerc will start the Spanish Grand Prix from the pit lane.
Leclerc endured a disastrous qualifying at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday due to experiencing issues with his SF-23.
The Monégasque driver complained of his car feeling “strange” as it struggled to turn into the left-hand corners.
It resulted in Leclerc suffering his worst qualifying session for four years with a time only good enough for 19th on the grid.
Leclerc said: “The left-hand corners were really, really bad with the rear-right (tyre), and I first thought that it was the tyre.
“So we went for a new set of tyres, and on the new set of tyres, it was exactly the same feeling – right-hand corners were really good, left-hand corners completely off.
“So we’ll have to check it out but I will be very, very surprised if we don’t find something on the car.”
Given the issues, a Ferrari spokesperson confirmed: “As time to check Charles’ car was limited, we decided to replace the rear end so that a proper investigation can be carried out in Maranello. Charles will start from the pit lane.”
The pit lane start has also been confirmed by the FIA as suspension set-up changes have been made on Leclerc’s car.
Ferrari has also taken the opportunity to replace the energy store and control electronics on Leclerc’s power unit.
With the new components beyond the allowable limit for the season, ordinarily grid penalties would be applied. In this case, however, they are now irrelevant.
Leclerc, however, does not lose a place as the only other driver behind him on the grid in Williams’ Logan Sargeant will also start from the pit lane.
Like Leclerc, Williams has also made set-up changes to the suspension, as well as alterations to the brake cooling.