Charles Leclerc is set to start Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid after taking on Ferrari’s updated specification power unit.
Formula 1 drivers are restricted to three power units per season and Leclerc was left out of sequence after one of his units sustained terminal damage in the start collision in Hungary.
Ferrari has been readying an updated hybrid system for several months and it has been given the green light for it to be introduced in Sochi this weekend.
Ferrari has outlined that its main purpose is to “gain experience for the 2022 car project” and that Leclerc will be first to receive the updated component.
Ferrari has yet to decide when the updated specification will be fitted to Carlos Sainz’s SF21.
While every power unit supplier is permitted to update each component only once per year there is freedom in the regulations over when they decide to do so.
As per Formula 1’s regulations Leclerc will be forced to start the Russian Grand Prix from the rear of the grid.
He is the latest driver to breach his season’s worth of power units, following on from Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly, who took grid drops at the previous two events.
Title leader Max Verstappen heads into this weekend’s race with a three-place grid penalty after colliding with Lewis Hamilton in Italy.
Verstappen is set to take a fresh engine, and a consequent grid demotion, before the end of 2021 but Red Bull has yet to determine when.