Brazilian GP: Charles Leclerc set for grid penalty for new Ferrari engine
12 November 2019, 12:17 | Updated: 12 November 2019, 18:50
Charles Leclerc will take a grid penalty at this weekend's Brazilian GP after Ferrari confirmed he will be using a new engine at Interlagos.
Leclerc had already reached his permitted number of parts for the season when he suffered an engine failure before qualifying in the USA, and he then used an older, less powerful PU for the Austin race, which he finished in fourth.
Ferrari have opted for a fresh engine this weekend to get maximum performance, meaning Leclerc is set to serve a 10-place grid penalty.
"Fitting a new PU 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," said Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.
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"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."
Leclerc's grid penalty, and the amount of places, will be confirmed before the weekend.
Ferrari head to Sao Paulo on the back of a disappointing US GP, where Leclerc was almost a minute off the pace while Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire his car.
"We come to the penultimate round of the season after a frustrating race in Austin, where we were unable to deliver the results we felt we could have done," added Binotto.
"On Saturday, we missed out on taking a historic seventh consecutive pole by just one hundredth of a second with Sebastian, although we can take comfort from the fact it showed the raw performance was there.
"On Sunday, Charles' pace in the first stint was poor although his car performance level was back to normal after the first pit stop. So we will put all this behind us now and look ahead to Brazil and a fresh start."
Both of their drivers are enthused for Interlagos, a circuit which is steeped in history and has hosted several F1 crackers.
"Racing in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, I think in a nutshell, anything can happen," said Vettel. "I don't know why, but there is something about this place and this circuit. Every year, something crazy happens and, if it doesn't you can be sure it will the following year.
"This is another track that has suited us well in the past and treated us well over the last couple of years. I remember we had good pace there and Kimi was on the podium last year, while two years ago we won the race. I think overall it's been a good hunting ground for us and hopefully it will be like that again this weekend.
"Certainly, in terms of atmosphere, it's very special. Brazilians are one of the loudest crowds on the calendar: you can actually hear them when you are in the car and it feels as though they are in the cockpit with you."
Leclerc continued: "Not only are the people in Brazil extremely passionate about our sport, but it was also the home of Ayrton Senna, who is the driver I have probably most looked up to. He was very talented, just special, and this GP will always remind us of his legacy."
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