Carlos Sainz says Ferrari is still weighing whether or not to fit a new power unit, which would trigger a grid penalty for this weekend’s French Grand Prix, after a fiery end to its last race in Austria .
The Spaniard’s power unit gave up dramatically on his way to a podium finish at the Red Bull Ring, causing major damage to his F1-75 and leaving him with a fourth DNF in 11 races this season.
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As Sainz has already used his maximum allocation of internal combustion engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs (drivers are allowed three per year), any further changes would incur a grid penalty.
Ferrari has the option of using an engine and other components already in the pool, and thereby delaying Sainz from taking the penalty.
“It’s still being evaluated, we’re still looking at all available options,” Sainz said when asked if an engine change was imminent.
“We also have to see a bit how the overtaking is here, how everything comes into play, you know, with the heat, the tires and we will make a decision, but obviously there is a chance of that happening.
Charles Leclerc “confident that we can be fast this weekend”
His team-mate Charles Leclerc returned to winning ways in Austria, ending a winless run that stretched all the way back to Australia and gave him a rebound on his march to Paul Ricard.
“It feels good of course, I have a much better feeling than I had coming to Austria,” said Leclerc. “We had a very positive weekend there and we just have to stay focused, that level of performance.
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“We were very strong in Austria, we have been very strong for a very long time but unfortunately we had quite a few problems. But looking forward I am convinced that we can be fast this weekend, it’s about simply to put everything in place without making any mistakes.
Ferrari have struggled to manage their tires at Paul Ricard for the past two years, but Leclerc hopes that won’t be the case this time around.
“We struggled quite a bit last year and the year before that too, but yeah, this year different cars, different conditions,” he said. “We’re going to pay particular attention to the tyres, we’re going to take advantage of these free practices to make sure that we don’t have the same concern as the last two years, but I’m sure we’ll be competitive.”