FILE PHOTO: Nov 2, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver Charles Leclerc (16) of Monaco during qualifying for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will take a grid penalty at this weekend’s Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix after team boss Mattia Binotto said his car’s power unit was damaged and needed replacing.
The 22-year-old Monegasque is third in the championship, 14 points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with two races remaining.
“Charles will get a new Power Unit (at Interlagos), 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,” Binotto said in a race preview.
“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.”
Mercedes have already won both championships for the sixth year in a row, with Lewis Hamilton sealing his sixth drivers’ title at the U.S. Grand Prix in Texas on Nov. 3.
Leclerc finished fourth in Austin after the engine failure in qualifying, but still set the fastest lap, with team mate Sebastian Vettel retiring from the race with a broken rear right suspension.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge