Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will serve a 10-place grid penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second race of F1’s season.
Leclerc retired from third position in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix due to a problem with his Ferrari’s control electronics.
Ferrari has confirmed Leclerc started that race on his second electronics control unit after the team encountered an issue on the first on the morning of the race, meaning it was the replacement part which failed during the grand prix.
With F1’s rules only allowing two of that engine component per driver before penalties are incurred, Leclerc will drop 10 places from wherever he qualifies this weekend as he will move onto a third unit.
“It is something we have never experienced in the past and I hope now it is under control,” Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur said on Wednesday.
“But unfortunately we will have to take the penalty in Jeddah because we only have a pool of two ECUs for the season.”
After the race in Bahrain, Vasseur said Ferrari had to target an improvement in reliability as a priority for the new season.
Vasseur, who became Ferrari team boss at the start of January, has also played down reports of early tension between himself and CEO Benedetto Vigna – Italian media reports suggested this was the case after the departure of head of vehicle performance David Sanchez last week.
“With Benedetto, we have a constant collaboration,” Vasseur said. “It is a very good set-up so far. We have always open discussions. He is supportive on every single topic and I can’t complain about this. It is more coming from gossip, but the collaboration with Benedetto is a very positive one.”
Ferrari appears to be a fairly distant to second to Red Bull in terms of pace at this point in the season, although the Saudi race might favour the Italian team’s strengths better than Bahrain.