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Leclerc hit with grid penalty for Saudi Arabia GP

After retiring from the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari has confirmed that Charles Leclerc will take a penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc will take a grid penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix following his retirement from the opening race of the 2023 Formula 1 season in Bahrain. Ferrari changed the control electronics and energy store in Leclerc's power unit ahead of the race on Sunday as a precaution, but he still suffered problems in the race which caused him to retire while running in third with 18 laps to go. Drivers only have two available to them throughout the whole season, with any further taken leading to an automatic 10-place grid penalty each. After inspecting the parts in Maranello, Team Principal Frederic Vasseur confirmed that Leclerc would need to take a third control electronics unit. "Unfortunately we'll have to take the penalty in Jeddah because we have only a pool of two control [electronics] units for the season," said Vasseur, when asked by RacingNews365.com .

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene admitted that the team was surprised by the "completely unexpected" reliability issue during the weekend. Vasseur said the problem is something the team has never experienced in the past with those components. "On Sunday we had two different issues, the first one was in the morning when we did the fire up and the second one during the race," said Vasseur. "Unfortunately, it was two times the control unit ECU box and it's something that we never experienced in the past. "I hope now it's under control now that we have a deeper analysis on these."

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