Charles Leclerc will serve a penalty in Austin. The Ferrari driver is set to start five places further back in Sunday’s race due to the use of a new internal combustion engine. The engine change in the Monaco driver’s car is part of the Scuderia’s development plan for 2023.
Since the start of the season, Ferrari has faced a number of durability issues with the new 006/7 power unit. This led to Leclerc dropping out in Spain and Azerbaijan, as well as Sainz in Austria. Thanks to engine problems, the Scuderia lost valuable points and allowed Red Bull to break away at the front. The team from Milton Keynes currently has a 164-point lead over the Scuderia in the constructors’ standings.
Everyone in the Scuderia’s engine department is doing everything they can to understand the reasons for the poor reliability. According to Enrico Gualtieri, everyone at Maranello is working hard to improve the bike’s durability and performance for next year.
Leclerc used a fifth internal combustion engine during the race in Japan. The competitor from Monaco most likely did not expect to serve a penalty until the end of the campaign. However, the FIA allowed the Italian team to put a sixth DVG in Leclerc’s car in the upcoming US Grand Prix.
While engine development is banned until the end of 2025, manufacturers are allowed to make changes to their powertrains if they receive permission from the FIA. The condition is that they are related to improving reliability.
The new DWG of Ferrari does not include design changes. The bike is expected to be tested in the final four races of the season, after which it must be cleared for use in 2023.
Only Leclerc will use from the new Ferrari 066/7 powertrain specification. Meanwhile, his teammate Carlos Sainz will stay with the current version of the Scuderia’s bike. It should not be forgotten that Leclerc is in a tight battle with Sergio Perez for second place in the general classification. Sainz in turn, he is fighting with George Russell for the fourth position in the order.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) October 18, 2022
Meanwhile, Damon Hill said on the F1 Nation podcast that Ferrari has been difficult to watch at times this season.
“I think it’s difficult to judge what exactly led to the current result – the impeccable work of Red Bull and Max, or the fact that Ferrari shot themselves in the foot. There were huge hopes for the Scuderia at the start of the season, but at times it was hard to watch them without crying. Due to incorrect strategies and driver mistakes, the team was unable to fight Verstappen,” Hill shared.
“On the other hand, the difference between Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc is only one point. If we take Max out of the equation, it could be said that Ferrari and Red Bull are equal. On the wet track in Japan in just 20 laps, Max left Charles and Sergio 20 seconds behind him. He was a second faster, and Leclerc’s tires wore out quickly. This is further proof that their car is eating them and another reason why they couldn’t fight Red Bull.”
“Verstappen’s confidence has also been at an extraordinary height this season. He’s been riding brilliantly all year and has none of the nerves he’s shown in the previous few seasons,” added the 1996 world champion.