Charles Leclerc Already Has to Serve a Grid Penalty
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Ferrari's 2023 Formula 1 campaign got off to a rough start in the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc retiring and Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing fourth after struggling to keep up with Red Bull's race-winning pace. It got much worse earlier this week, when the team announced that the failure meant Leclerc's car would once again need an electronic control unit replacement.
As teams are only allowed to use two in a season and Leclerc's car had already had a replacement unit fixed before the race, he will take a ten-place grid penalty in Saudi Arabia this weekend. The news could get worse, too. Leclerc would face an additional penalty for the upcoming race if his team determined that it also needed to replace the Energy Store unit, another part the team has already replaced once that teams are only allocated two replacements of in a season. Any additional energy store or control unit change over the next 21 races would also instantly trigger a new penalty.
It is another significant blow for Ferrari, whose would-be championship contender Leclerc is already 25 points behind Max Verstappen and will now start in the middle of the field this weekend. With both Ferrari and Mercedes well behind Red Bull on relative pace at Bahrain, the team's concerns are piling up quickly ahead of an usual, but much-needed, four-week break between the races in Australia and Azerbaijan next month.
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