Ferrari braced for grid penalties after confirming Leclerc’s engine ‘irreparably damaged’ in Hungary crash
Charles Leclerc’s hope of scoring big points in the Hungarian Grand Prix came to nought when he was taken out of the race on Lap 1. But there was more pain to come for the Monegasque, after Ferrari found that Leclerc's engine had been ‘irreparably damaged’ in the crash.
Leclerc was a victim of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll outbraking himself in the wet conditions at the start of the Hungaroring race, Stroll taking to the grass at the inside of Turn 1 before sliding into Leclerc, who subsequently spun around McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Leclerc and Stroll were both unable to continue in the race, while Stroll was handed a five-place grid drop for the Belgian Grand Prix. But there was another punishment coming for Leclerc, as an examination of his engine back at Ferrari's Maranello HQ revealed that it could not be used again.
“Examination of the number 16 SF21 carried out yesterday in Maranello revealed that on top of [the crash damage], the engine was irreparably damaged and cannot be used again, following the impact from Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin,” Ferrari said in a statement.
The now-unusable engine was Leclerc’s second internal combustion engine of the season, meaning that fitting a third one for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix won’t result in a penalty.
But Ferrari were nonetheless unimpressed by the prospect of grid penalties coming Leclerc's way should he be forced to use a fourth internal combustion engine before the end of the season – while the team were also left counting the financial impact of the crash in the current cost cap environment.
“This is a further blow for Scuderia Ferrari and the Monegasque driver,” the statement went on. “This damage has a financial impact and also racing ramifications, given that over the remaining 12 race weekends this season, it is highly likely the team could be obliged to fit a fourth ICE [internal combustion engine] to Charles’ SF21, thus incurring grid penalties.”