Charles Leclerc to take new power unit, Brazil GP grid penalty

Charles Leclerc in Austin

Charles Leclerc will take a grid penalty at this weekend’s Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, with Ferrari forced into fitting a new power unit to his SF90 in the wake of his Austin failure.

Leclerc’s car suffered an oil leak on his installation lap during Saturday’s third practice session for the United States Grand Prix.

Ferrari reverted to an older power unit for the remainder of the weekend and sent the damaged engine back to Maranello for further assessment.

Leclerc, as with his fellow front-runners, had already reached his allocation of permitted engine components for the season, under the 2019 regulations.

On Tuesday Ferrari confirmed that Leclerc will take a new power unit at Interlagos, meaning he will sustain a grid drop, the full extent of which has not yet been determined.

“Charles will get a new Power Unit [in Brazil], as his was damaged on Saturday in Austin, which meant he had to use a previously used and less powerful version for the rest of the weekend,” confirmed team boss Mattia Binotto.

“Fitting a new power unit means taking a grid penalty in Sao Paulo, but we should be back to our normal performance level and show some fighting spirit to finish the season on a high note.

“That will be important in order to confirm we are making progress with our car and to take some of that momentum into the winter work.

“I know that our drivers and the whole team are fully focused on that.”

Ferrari has not confirmed the specification of engine that will be used.

Leclerc has led the way in qualifying through 2019, his first year with Ferrari, taking seven pole positions, two more than nearest rival Valtteri Bottas.