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Ferrari evaluating taking penalty with new engine for Sainz in French GP

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Carlos Sainz says Ferrari are still evaluating whether or not to fit a fresh power unit, which would trigger a grid penalty for this weekend’s French Grand Prix, after a fiery end to his last race in Austria.

The Spaniard’s power unit gave up in spectacular fashion when he was on course for a podium at the Red Bull Ring, causing significant damage to his F1-75 and leaving him with a fourth DNF in 11 races this season.

READ MORE: Can Ferrari continue their run of form in France?

As Sainz has already used his maximum allowance of internal combustion engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs (drivers are permitted three a year), any further changes would mean a grid penalty.

Ferrari do have the option of using an engine and other components already in the pool, and thus delay Sainz taking the penalty.

“It’s still under evaluation, we are still looking at all the available options,” said Sainz when asked if an engine change was imminent.

“We also need to see a bit how the overtaking is here, how everything comes into play you know with the heat, the tyres and we will take a decision but obviously there is a chance it will happen.”

Charles Leclerc 'confident we can be quick this weekend'

His team mate Charles Leclerc returned to winning ways in Austria, ending a winless run that stretched back to Australia and that has given him a bounce in his step heading to Paul Ricard.

“It feels good of course, I’ve got a much better feeling than the one I had coming into Austria,” said Leclerc. “We’ve had a very positive weekend there and we just need to keep the focus, that level of performance.

READ MORE: Vettel says he has ‘clear intention’ to stay in F1 beyond 2022 season

“We’ve been very strong in Austria, we’ve been very strong for very long now but unfortunately we had quite a bit of problems. But looking ahead I’m confident we can be quick this weekend, it’s just about putting everything together with no mistakes.”

Ferrari have struggled to manage their tyres at Paul Ricard over the last couple of years, but Leclerc is hopeful that won’t be the case this time around.

“We struggled quite a bit last year and the year before too, but yes, this year, different cars, different conditions,” he said. “We’ll take particular care of the tyres, we’ll use these free practices to make sure we don’t have the same issue as the last two years but I’m sure that we will be competitive.”

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