Charles Leclerc has been forced to a grid penalty in F1 Saudi Arabia GP as Ferrari already enters into the penalty zone in second weekend of 2023.

As were the fears at the end of F1 Bahrain GP, Ferrari has confirmed that Leclerc will have to take a grid penalty in this weekend’s Saudi Arabia GP in Jeddah. In only the second weekend of 2023 season, the Monegasque has a penalty against his name.

Already on Sunday morning of Bahrain, Ferrari were forced to take a second Control Electronics for Leclerc which subsequently failed in the grand prix. It was a problem that team boss Frederic Vasseur said that the team never encountered  in testing too.

But with both the CE out of the picture for now, they have to take a third one which results in a 10-place grid penalty. Vasseur notes that there are no plans as yet to reduce power during in races as they did in 2022 after facing reliability issues.

“On Sunday, we had two different issues,” said Vasseur talking to media. “The first one was on the Sunday morning, when we did the fire up, and the second one was in the race. Unfortunately, it was two times the control unit, the ECU.

“It’s something that we never experienced in the past. I hope now it’s under control, but we have a deep analysis on this. Unfortunately, we’ll have to take the penalty in Jeddah, because we have only a pool of two control units for the season.”

Amid news of David Sanchez leaving Ferrari and reports of things going haywire at Maranello, Vasseur insists there are no issues as they are made out in news. People working under Mattia Binotto wished to leave and they are free to.

It is normal procedure which happens whenever a new boss comes in. Vasseur added that Leclerc was at Maranello last week and they had a took talk with the employees too.  “Charles was with us after the tyre test day on Tuesday, was at the factory on Wednesday morning,” said the Frenchman.

“We had a speech with the employees, where we were all together on stage. It’s obvious Charles is motivated, we have done one race of 23. He’s full push with the team, trying to get the best for everyone. The penalty is not good news, but it’s not the end of the season. Let’s see what happens in Jeddah, and what could be the outcome, even with the penalty, but don’t imagine for half a second he could be demotivated.

“He’s fully convinced, he’s working with us, pushing the team, pushing everybody in a positive way. And nothing else,” summed up Vasseur, assuring of no rifts from Leclerc side after reports of the Monegasque wanting clarity from Ferrari boss John Elkann came out.

In terms of updates, Vasseur hinted on things coming for both Jeddah and Australia. “We will try to bring upgrades in Jeddah and Australia, hoping that what we saw in Bahrain is not the ultimate scenario,” he said. “We have to be able to bring updates throughout the season, and do it faster than the others. That’s the only way we will be able to catch up with Red Bull.”

Here’s the sponsor list for F1 2023:

Here’s David Sanchez confirming his gardening leave

Here’s Carlos Sainz on bad degradation in Bahrain

Here’s Frederic Vasseur on Ferrari not needing concept change

Here’s Frederic Vasseur on the Bahrain GP problem