Revealed: Charles Leclerc set to receive 5-place grid drop

Charles Leclerc was forced to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix on lap 41.

The 2023 season has started disastrously for Charles Leclerc, with the Monegasque driver walking away from the Bahrain Grand Prix with zero points to his name.

Ferrari were quick last season but were hindered by a series of reliability issues and poor strategy calls, leaving the team some way off eventual champions Red Bull by the time F1 reached Abu Dhabi.

Heading in 2023 Ferrari claimed that they were confident that they had solved their reliability issues, allowing Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to form a stronger challenge for the championship.

This has already proved to not be the case however, as Charles Leclerc came to a halt of the 41st lap of Bahrain Grand Prix and was forced to DNF from the first race of the season.

READ: Toto Wolff says Mercedes need to look at Aston Martin after abysmal Bahrain GP

It has now been revealed that Leclerc’s retirement was due to a failure with his energy store and that this particular component cannot be recovered.

This is not even the worst news for Leclerc because his team actually changed his energy store prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix, ironically due to concerns about its reliability.

Drivers are only allowed two energy store elements per season and with Leclerc changing one before the race and the second one failing and being unrecoverable, he is already at risk of taking a penalty.

Should the 25-year-old now need to switch to a third energy store, Leclerc will be forced to serve a grid penalty, setting him back five places per component changed.

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READ: Lewis Hamilton makes surprising claim about 2023 Bahrain GP result

Red Bull already look like they could be runaway winners of both championships once again this year and with Leclerc already enduring a nightmare season, Max Verstappen could face very limited competition for the title this year.

Not only are Ferrari struggling to battle with Red Bull, they also look to be lacking race pace compared to Aston Martin.

Fernando Alonso managed to charge past Carlos Sainz during the Bahrain Grand Prix because the tyre degradation of the SF-23 is too high compared to their rivals, leaving Sainz struggling for grip while Alonso sped past him.