Fresh engine means grid penalty for Leclerc.

Charles Leclerc heads into this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix on the back foot. That’s thanks to confirmation that he will take a fresh Ferrari power unit – and with it a grid penalty – for the Sao Paulo race, following car problems last time out in Austin.

Leclerc suffered an oil leak in final practice at COTA, prompting the team to swap out his power unit for an older version that he’d run earlier in the season. For Brazil, he will revert to a new, current-spec unit, meaning the Monegasque driver will drop at least five grid places – but quite likely a lot more.

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Charles will get a new power unit, as his was damaged on Saturday in Austin, which meant he had to use a previously used and less powerful version for the rest of the weekend,” said Team Principal Mattia Binotto.

Fitting a new PU means taking a grid penalty in Sao Paulo, but we should be back to our normal performance level and show some fighting spirit to finish the season on a high note. That will be important in order to confirm we are making progress with our car and to take some of that momentum into the winter work.”

Despite the grid drop, Leclerc will be looking to bounce back in Sao Paulo after he trailed home a distant fourth in the US Grand Prix. With two rounds remaining, he will also want to cement his third place in driver standings.

He currently heads Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, 249 points to 235, with Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel a further five points adrift in fifth.

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