Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2021

Leclerc will take Sochi grid penalty for Ferrari upgrade

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Ferrari will fit their upgraded power unit to Charles Leclerc’a car at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, meaning he will receive a grid penalty.

The team revealed during the summer break it would introduce an upgrade to its power unit in the second half of the season.

Leclerc was involved in a heavy crash following contact with Lance Stroll at the Hungarian Grand Prix, after which Ferrari said his car’s power unit was “irreparably damaged.” Consequently, Leclerc had been set to take a grid penalty at some point for a replacement.

Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr may receive the update later in the season. In a statement Ferrari said “a great deal of effort has gone into this, both technically and logistically, and so as to be able to use it as soon as possible, its introduction will be staggered between the drivers.”

Ferrari will decide whether to fit the new hybrid system to Sainz’s car “following an evaluation of the right compromise between competitiveness and the impact of the penalty”, the team said.

Although introduced under the 2021 season rules, Ferrari said that the “main purpose” of the upgrade’s introduction was “to gain experience for the 2022 car project,” following which power unit specifications will be frozen.

The full list of parts replaced on Leclerc’s car has not yet been revealed but Ferrari’s announcement said that they expected him to start from the back of the grid and that the complete power unit would be changed, including the internal combustion engine.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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8 comments on “Leclerc will take Sochi grid penalty for Ferrari upgrade”

  1. so if Max gets a new PU and grid penalty for that too, who ends up last?

    will be an interesting first few laps at Sochi i think (and hope)

    1. It should be done on order the penalty is taken. So Ver has 3 place to take first, Lec will take his engine penalty, then Ver will take his engine penalty after

  2. @denn I think we still use the ‘add up’ system, so if Max took the same penalties as Charles his penalty would be added also and he’d be behind Charles, minus qualifying position of course. That’s if we’re still using the system that gave us the ‘starting 20th, plus 35 places’ graphic at the start of races that Mac-Honda were very good at making.

  3. I think this has spoiled Red Bull’s plan to take an engine penalty this week.

    A Verstappen stuck behind Leclerc could seriously harm getting in the top 4 for Max.

    1. Good point, but depends how powerful ferrari’s engine upgrade is, cause otherwise a top team should be able to fly past on this track.

      Regardless, horner didn’t seem to be very much for the engine penalty this race even before leclerc’s announcement, even though I thought it’d make sense as it’s the track that on paper most favours mercedes out of those left.

      1. It will be fun if they did take the penalty though. A good Verstappen vs Leclerc battle is seriously overdue!

      2. @esploratore1
        Michael Schmidt from AMuS believes it is worth about 10-15 bhp, which should about half the gap to Mercedes and Honda.
        Also, given the final sector should very much suit the characteristics of the Ferrari, I doubt Max would be able to just sail past Charles in the race.

  4. I didn’t see this one coming this weekend, as the latest reports said the upgrade will most likely debut in Turkey. It makes sense though, not taking the penalties for both cars at the same event, because Carlos can score decent points in Sochi (S3 should suit the Ferrari perfectly).
    Now I expect Carlos to get it in Istanbul, because it’s fairly easy to overtake there and the Ferrari was already pretty competitive in Turkey last year – Charles finishing in 2nd place in the only dry session (FP2) and nearly did so in the race as well.

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