Leclerc at risk of penalty as Ferrari reveal turbo and MGU-H damaged beyond repair

Charles Leclerc suffered a power unit failure at the Spanish Grand Prix, meaning his final legal engine change will be used this weekend at Monaco.

Up until lap 27 of the Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc had dominated the entire weekend.

The Monegasque driver was in imperious form across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

His sudden engine failure though at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has thrown his entire championship into turmoil.

Max Verstappen’s victory in Spain means for the first-time this season Leclerc doesn’t lead the championship ahead of his home Grand Prix.

READ: Sainz ‘seems defeated’ by Leclerc as he looks set to become Ferrari’s number two driver

The sudden engine failure saw Ferrari’s recent confidence and swagger diminish.

“No no no I lost power! What happened? What happened? I lost power,” Leclerc exclaimed on the radio, as his F1-75 slowed almost to a halt.

“Shock on the Ferrari pit wall,” immediately reported Ted Kravitz to Sky Sports.

“Charles Leclerc could scarcely believe it. He’s distraught.”

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Former F1 driver Martin Brundle was quick to highlight how significant the failure was.

“That’s a big moment for the world championship,” said Brundle.

No one was more disappointed than Leclerc; the Ferrari driver had amassed a considerable lead and was all but certain to claim his third win of the season.

Instead, he now trails Verstappen in the championship by 6 points, and with engine problems to worry about.

“It’s a real shame,” Leclerc told Sky Sports after the race.

“In those moments I feel like there is nothing more I can do apart from looking at the positives and there are plenty this weekend.

“We will look at this issue and we cannot afford for this to happen many times in the season.”

Leclerc’s championship hunt has certainly taken a drastic turn, with an engine penalty all but certain to come later in the year.

Following the race, Ferrari sent the engine back to Maranello where it was discovered what caused the power unit failure.

“Having examined the PU from Leclerc’s car, we found the turbo and MGU-H are damaged and cannot be repaired,” a team statement read.

“However, having fully analysed the failure and its cause, we are satisfied it did not occur through a design fault or reliability issue with these two components or any other elements of the PU.”

This comes as a huge blow to Ferrari and Leclerc, should the team need to make changes to the Monegasque’s car, then the team will be out of legal changes for the remainder of 2022.

READ: Perez has every right to feel hard done by Red Bull team orders

With the season only just a quarter of the way through the season, it may not only be a single engine penalty which Ferrari have to deal with.

This will bring a smile to Red Bull Racing, who now lead both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship.

However, Red Bull also suffered reliability issues in Spain.

Verstappen’s race was ridiculed by a DRS failure, with the rear-flap not always opening when commanded to.