Leclerc not expecting "big changes" from Ferrari F1 power unit upgrade

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari is not expecting any “big changes” from the upgraded hybrid system on its Formula 1 power unit that will debut in Sochi this weekend.

Leclerc not expecting "big changes" from Ferrari F1 power unit upgrade

Ferrari revealed over the summer break that it was working on bringing a “significant” step in performance for its power unit during the second half of the season.

The team announced on Wednesday that it would debut its updated hybrid system at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, fitting Leclerc’s car with a new power unit.

Leclerc will take a fresh set of power unit components in Sochi amid fears over his battery after the first-lap crash in Hungary, resigning him to a back-of-grid start.

Ferrari will not provide Leclerc’s team-mate, Carlos Sainz Jr, with the updated parts this weekend as it wants to avoid having both cars start at the rear of the grid at the same race.

The new hybrid system is understood to provide Ferrari a small power boost, thought to be less than 10bhp.

Leclerc said during Thursday’s FIA press conference that the new hybrid elements were “on paper a little bit better”, but that he was not expecting a huge step forward.

“Obviously whenever we have something that is a little bit better, we try to bring it on-track,” Leclerc said.

“We expect it to be a little bit better. We don’t expect any big, big changes, but something that goes in the right direction.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, in the drivers parade

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, in the drivers parade

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Speaking in the media pen at the Sochi Autodrom, Leclerc explained the importance of small steps in performance and the effect it could have on Ferrari’s close fight with McLaren for third in the constructors’ championship.

McLaren currently sits 13.5 points clear of Ferrari in the standings after pulling ahead with its 1-2 finish at Monza two weeks ago.

“We still feel like it's going to be a step forward, but how much, we'll have to see,” Leclerc said.

“But I think in a season like this, whatever we can have, we try to take because with McLaren, the margins are very, very small.

“Whatever we can bring to the car to try and beat them in that fight for the championship, we will try.”

Read Also:

While Leclerc faces the challenge of fighting back through the field thanks to his grid penalty, the Ferrari driver was hopeful the forecast rain could help his cause and mix things up in the race.

“I think on a weekend like this, it's actually not too bad to change the power unit,” Leclerc said.

“It wasn't calculated. If it's like this [raining], it's a little bit of luck, but it goes in our direction.”

Leclerc also felt that Sochi was a good track at which to make the change, given the long straights that offer overtaking opportunities, particularly into Turn 2.

“I think we all agreed to change it as soon as it was possible,” Leclerc said. “I’m not the one to say it. But I completely agreed with it.

“It's something quite obvious, in those situations. Obviously, if it was Monaco, maybe you don't change it in Monaco, but being here in Sochi, it made sense.”

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen: People "hypocritical" over Monza crash walkaway
Previous article

Verstappen: People "hypocritical" over Monza crash walkaway

Next article

Hamilton's pressure claim "shows he doesn't know me" - Verstappen

Hamilton's pressure claim "shows he doesn't know me" - Verstappen
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great Plus

How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great

John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2021