Charles Leclerc given first bit of good news by Ferrari boss

Charles Leclerc started 12th at the Saudi Arabian GP following a 10-place grid penalty for taking a third set of control electronics.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has delivered Charles Leclerc his first bit of good news of the 2023 F1 season, with the Frenchman having confirmed that the Monegasque’s engine from Bahrain can be used again.

Leclerc’s season started in woeful fashion in Bahrain, after the 25-year-old suffered an engine failure whilst running in third.

The failure was due to an issue with his second set of control electronics, which were only fitted ahead of the season-opener due to concerns with the first set.

As a result, Leclerc was slapped with a 10-place grid penalty for last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, due to a third set of control electronics having been fitted to his SF-23.

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This already took him outside of his legal pool of control electronics, resulting in the penalty.

Vasseur has since assured, though, that the engine itself from Bahrain can be used again, meaning Leclerc may be able to avoid some engine-related grid penalties in the next few rounds of the season.

The team principal confirmed that the engine from Bahrain was changed in Saudi Arabia to ensure that Leclerc had a “clean weekend”, but that his first engine will be available for user later in the year.

“We were quite confident about the outcome of the issue in Bahrain but we didn’t want to take any risk,” Vasseur said.

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“We’ll use the engine one a bit later into the season. But it was just a matter of having a clean weekend this weekend. So no concerns over the ones that are in there for this weekend. We are always concerned about everything but not especially about the engine.”

Leclerc will likely be relieved to have received some good news, given how badly his season has started.

After retiring in Bahrain, he was only able to recover to seventh at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, meaning he finds himself eighth in the drivers’ championship.

Former F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi believes Leclerc is “demanding a lot” from the Maranello-based team due to the issues they faced last season and that he may have “lost some confidence” as a result.

The Brazilian is confident, though, that Vasseur is the right boss to get the best out of Ferrari and Leclerc, with the Frenchman knowing “how to perform”.

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“I think that Charles is demanding a lot from his team because of what has happened last year,” Fittipaldi told Kelbet.

“He probably felt that the time wasn’t completely there [at the Saudi GP] because of the issues recently.

“Charles probably lost some confidence in the team and he is frustrated because of last year. Now, he should be very grateful to have Frederic Vasseur on the team because he knows how to perform.”