Why is Leclerc Receiving the Evolved Ferrari F1 Power Unit Over Sainz at Sochi?

Published 09/23/2021, 3:31 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Massimo Pinca


Midway through the ongoing season, Ferrari had affirmed both their drivers to receive evolved power units by the Turkish Grand Prix. However, the Maranello outfit have managed to build the power unit ahead of the soon-to-begin Russian Grand Prix, which is a couple of weeks earlier than their prescribed date of arrival.

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Interestingly, it is only Charles Leclerc who will be receiving the power unit at Sochi while his teammate, Carlos Sainz, will have to wait for his turn until the next race weekend in Turkey. And this raised a few eyebrows, and a lot questioned why the Spaniard is not receiving equal treatment as the Monegasque.

Well, as it turns out, Ferrari have only managed to build one power unit while the other is still under development. And also, according to Motorsport, Ferrari’s choice of preference has nothing to do with favoritism.

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Why is Leclerc getting the power unit over Sainz?

Apparently, the Monegasque’s car is still running with the battery that was part of power unit 2, which suffered terminal damage during the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 2, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc before the FIA Press Conference REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Hence, since Leclerc’s car is carrying a much bigger threat of engine failure, Ferrari opted to install the new power unit (4) onto his car. Consequently, Leclerc will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid irrespective of where he finishes in qualifying.

Meanwhile, for Sainz, things are going as scheduled. The Spaniard will receive his engine 4 at Istanbul Park and subsequently start the Turkish Grand Prix from the bottom of the grid.

Could Ferrari defeat McLaren with the new engine?

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Although the Maranello outfit are anticipating a performance jump, they don’t seem as optimistic in the race for P3 against McLaren. As often mentioned, this update isn’t necessarily to defeat McLaren but to gather much-needed information on the behavior of the new ERS in the wake of regulations changes, come 2022.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 25, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Apart from a substantial increase in horsepower, the Reds aren’t expecting anything else. And also, with each of the Ferrari drivers starting from P20 at Sochi and Istanbul Park, McLaren will enjoy a massive track advantage over the approaching two race weekends and will look to build their gap against Ferrari in the constructor’s table.

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So, are we in for an intense end to this already breathtaking fight between Ferrari and McLaren?

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Rohit Kumar

1253 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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