Coming into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend it was announced that Charles Leclerc was taking a 10 place grid penalty due to a power unit component change.
Ferrari confirmed that it had changed the energy store and control electronic units on both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz's power units. It was further bad news for Leclerc as he had already used a second energy store in Bahrain in just one race weekend taking him up to the limit for the 2023 season.
The Monogasque suffered a DNF in Bahrain due to a power unit failure putting him already 25 points behind last years title rival Max Verstappen who won the race. Two weeks on from Bahrain and Leclerc has his work cut out for him again taking a 10 grid place penalty coming into the race. The last few weeks have already been full of speculation for Ferrari as their lead car concept design David Sanchez left the team.
Charles Leclerc spoke about the rumours surrounding the Scuderia during the drivers press conference on Thursday. Leclerc said "Honestly I obviously saw these rumours and then went to Maranello [after Bahrain] so I was at first I was like 'oh I'm not sure how the team will react to it' but then we've had a meeting with the whole team, with all the Ferrari employees. I was really surprised."
"Everyone is fully on it and fully positive still, which is great. We all need to push in the same direction as I said this is the most important.
"There have been loads of rumours around the team - which, for once, 90 per cent of them were completely unfounded.
"I don't know from where it is coming from and to be honest I don't want to even spend any energy on trying to find from where it's coming from. We just need to be on it and focus on ourselves."
Meanwhile teammate Carlos Sainz says that Ferrari are in a "bad situation" after a poor start to the season. The Spaniard finished in 4th place in Bahrain being beaten by Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso while Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes finished just 2 seconds behind him.
The Ferrari does not look good on tyre wear although it is believed that despite reliability issues the Ferrari power unit is the strongest on the grid.
Although Sainz sees the position that Ferrari are currently in he is positive that come later in the season the team will have turned things around. He believes that the Italian squad has a strong development programme and will be more competitive in Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2023 SCHEDULE
Friday March 17th: Practice 1 (FP1) : 13:30 - 14:30 Practice 2 (FP2): 17:00 - 18:00 Saturday March 18th: Practice 3 (FP3): 13:30 - 14:30 Qualifying: 17:00 - 18:00 Sunday March 19th: Race Start: 17:00