Leclerc set to start Belgian GP from back of grid after power unit changes

Charles Leclerc is set to start the Belgian Grand Prix from the back of the grid after Ferrari opted to take a new Formula 1 power unit for this weekend.

Leclerc set to start Belgian GP from back of grid after power unit changes

Leclerc currently sits 80 points behind Red Bull rival Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship, but will need to fight his way back up the order after Ferrari’s decision to fit a new power unit.

Ferrari opted for Spa due to the overtaking opportunities afforded by the high-speed layout in Belgium, giving Leclerc a better chance to battle his way through the field compared to a more technical track such as Zandvoort.

The move will also allow Leclerc to drive with the upgraded hybrid system on his Ferrari power unit, which will debut this weekend. He will also use a new gearbox at Spa.

The changes to the power unit are set to be confirmed by the FIA over the race weekend, and will mark Leclerc’s second back-of-grid start of the season after he also took a raft of fresh power unit elements for the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate, Carlos Sainz, will not take a new power unit at Spa thanks to his fresher engine, leaving the team’s hopes of success in Belgium largely hinging on the Spaniard.

Leclerc has already suffered engine reliability issues this season that forced him to retire while leading in both Spain and Azerbaijan, causing him to lose ground on Verstappen in the title race.

But Leclerc may not be alone in taking a grid penalty for Spa, with Verstappen saying on Thursday that Spa that “everyone still needs to take penalties as well”, which would make it hard to become relaxed about his title chances.

Read Also:

Leclerc admitted on Thursday that fighting back to beat Verstappen to the championship would be a “very difficult challenge” given the points gap, but that he still believed he was in contention for the championship.

shares
comments
Mercedes F1 star Russell thinks MotoGP is “bold” to not test sprint races first
Previous article

Mercedes F1 star Russell thinks MotoGP is “bold” to not test sprint races first

Next article

Alfa Romeo to end Sauber F1 ties at the end of 2023

Alfa Romeo to end Sauber F1 ties at the end of 2023
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022