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Formula 1 São Paulo GP

Sainz gets five-place grid penalty for Brazilian GP after Ferrari engine change

Carlos Sainz will take a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix after Ferrari opted to take a fresh engine ahead of the Interlagos Formula 1 weekend.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75

The FIA confirmed in its regular technical bulletin following the start of opening practice at Interlagos on Friday that Sainz would have a fresh internal combustion engine for the weekend.

It is the sixth new engine that Sainz has taken this season, meaning it will result in a five-place grid penalty.

This will be still applied for Sunday’s grand prix despite it being a sprint race weekend, as seen with Lewis Hamilton’s penalty at last year’s race in Brazil.

Sainz will drop five places from wherever he finishes the sprint race on Saturday, but his qualifying result on Friday evening will be unchanged.

Sainz is the only driver currently confirmed to have taken any fresh power unit elements ahead of Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. He will also run with a new exhaust system along with the Alfa Romeo pair of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, but the trio remains within the season limit of eight for exhausts.

The penalty comes as a setback for Ferrari on a weekend when it will bid to end Red Bull’s nine-race win streak that dates back to the French Grand Prix in mid-July.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari at press conference

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari at press conference

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Ferrari has failed to win a race in fourth months, its most recent success coming courtesy of Charles Leclerc at the Austrian Grand Prix. The team struggled for pace two weeks ago in Mexico, lagging behind both Red Bull and Mercedes at the head of the field.

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But Sainz said on Thursday in Brazil that Ferrari was confident Mexico would be a “bit of a one-off” and not a low it would hit again in the final two races of the season.

“We've never been so far off the pace in the dry all year, so I think it's quite clear that we didn't get it right in Mexico,” said Sainz.

“It doesn't matter if it was the engine, the car balance, tyres, whatever - there was clearly something that wasn’t working. And now we focus on Brazil and Abu Dhabi, [the] important last two races before the end of the season where we want to get the pace back.

“We want to get back to fight on the podium with Red Bull and Mercedes. I think it's a very interesting fight up front and keep having smooth weekends where I can learn from the car and prepare for next year.”

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