Despite his engine failure in the previous race, Charles Leclerc escaped a grid penalty on the first day of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.
After two engine-related retirements in the last three races, Leclerc is on the verge of exceeding the maximum allowed number of components for a season.
In Montreal, Ferrari installed a number of new engine parts on Leclerc’s vehicle. To avoid a penalty, they re-used an old turbo.
At some point this season, Leclerc is bound to receive at least one grid penalty. After leading championship opponent Max Verstappen by 46 points after the first three races of the season, Leclerc now trails the Red Bull driver by 34 points.
Engine difficulties forced Leclerc to retire from the lead in the Spanish and Azerbaijan Grands Prix, his crew botched his strategy in Monaco, and a spin at Imola dropped him from third to sixth.
Meanwhile, Red Bull has won four of the previous five races, with Verstappen taking four of them and teammate Sergio Perez taking Monaco.
In Canada, Ferrari has installed a new internal combustion engine, the MGU-K and MGU-H, but they are still using an old turbo, which would have resulted in a penalty for Leclerc because he had already used his maximum allocation of three this season.
Ferrari stated it looked into Leclerc’s engine malfunction and determined it was beyond repair.
According to a statement: “The failure might have occurred as a result of the PU problem in Spain, for example. The problem is currently under control, and we are working on countermeasures to reinforce the package.”
In the first practice session, Verstappen was 0.246 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Despite setting his fastest time on the medium-compound tyres, which are harder and slower than the softs used for their best laps, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso finished third.
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