Leclerc is one among six drivers who has acquired a again of the grid penalty heading into qualifying at Spa on Saturday as many opted to take a contemporary energy unit this weekend.
Ferrari determined to take its contemporary energy unit components in two separate tranches, protecting a 15-place grid penalty for a contemporary MGU-Ok and vitality retailer, adopted by an extra five-place grid penalty for taking a brand new management electronics.
This breaches the 15-place restrict for energy unit penalties earlier than a driver is given a ‘again of the grid’ sanction, with the regulation studying: “If a driver incurs a penalty exceeding 15 grid locations he might be required to start out the race from the again of the beginning grid.”
However it appeared a loophole had emerged within the laws as Ferrari took it in two separate penalties, neither of which exceeded 15 locations.
“The wording of the sentence is singular ‘a penalty’ and neither doc imposed greater than 15 grid locations,” the FIA acknowledged in a bulletin forward of qualifying. “So it may very well be interpreted that this doesn’t set off a “again of grid” penalty.”
This might have allowed Leclerc to take a contemporary energy unit however nonetheless begin forward of these drivers who did have a again of grid penalty, together with title rival Max Verstappen, no matter qualifying place.
However the FIA has confirmed that Leclerc must begin from the again of the grid, which means his beginning place might be outlined by the qualifying order of these with the identical sanction.
It’s because the foundations additionally state that energy unit penalties “might be cumulative” and that the 15-place penalty taken in a single hit was for 2 separate components, and subsequently ought to be handled the identical as being lined throughout two separate paperwork.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Photograph by: Erik Junius
“So logically no matter what number of paperwork the penalties are printed in, all choices accumulate over the competitors, and something over the 15 grid place restrict triggers the again of the grid penalty,” the FIA stated.
“Lastly, there are different situations within the laws the place penalties accumulate over time (resembling penalty factors) which accumulate till they set off a separate determination supplied for within the laws. That is comparable.
“You will need to notice that the ‘begin the race from the again of the beginning grid’ penalty is absolutely embedded in Article 28 (Energy Unit Utilization), was particularly launched in response to nonsensically excessive grid penalties from PU modifications, and has by no means been used to build up grid penalties imposed from different articles of the Rules.
“It ought to be learn holistically as a part of Article 28.three and doesn’t consult with different articles. This clarification is supplied as that is first time this example has occurred and it is a precedent.”
Valtteri Bottas carries a 20-place penalty, however will begin forward of the aforementioned drivers no matter his qualifying place as a result of solely 15 of the locations are due to energy unit factor modifications.
It additionally means the slowest driver in Q1 with out a penalty will the truth is begin 13th.