Sainz sees chance of engine penalty in French GP

© XPB 

Carlos Sainz says Ferrari is still undecided on whether to add a new power unit to his pool of hardware in France following his costly blow-up last time out in Austria.

At the Red Bull Ring, as the race entered its final phase, Sainz was on the verge of catching and overhauling Red Bull rival Max Verstappen when his engine gave up the ghost in spectacular fashion.

Trackside marshals struggled to extinguish the Ferrari F1-75 which was alight at the rear as a powerless Sainz looked on.

The Spaniard says his team is still pondering whether he should take on a new engine, a move that would automatically result in a grid drop for this weekend's event.

"There’s a chance we will put a new engine this weekend, which would involve a penalty," said Sainz. "But we haven’t taken the final decision yet."

Engine reliability has deprived the Scuderia and its drivers of big points in Barcelona, Baku and last time out in Austria.

And Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto suspected that Sainz's failure had likely been caused by the same issue that had hit Charles Leclerc in Azerbaijan last month.

With scorching temperatures expected this weekend in Southern France, the Scuderia's engineers will be lazer focused on their power unit's health at Paul Ricard, while tyre management will also be a key issue for the Italian outfit.

Ferrari's head of development Diego Tondi shed some light on his team's approach to its French Grand Prix weekend and on the countermeasures put in place to protect the F1-75's performance in this weekend's extreme conditions.

"The high temperatures predicted for the French Grand Prix this weekend mean that ensuring the power unit and the tyres perform at their best is a real challenge and it’s up to those working on the aerodynamics to take the appropriate countermeasures," explained Tondi.

"We will use a medium-high level of bodywork cooling, using the apertures of the cooling gills on the upper part of the bodywork and we will work on the brake ducts to maximise rim cooling, with the aim of getting heat away from the tyres.

"The track characteristics mean that we would have been doing this anyway to contribute as much as possible to tyre management, but the hot conditions will make this task even more demanding.

"As for the brakes, there are no particularly heavy braking points, so in terms of cooling for these components, the race at Paul Ricard is not a concern".

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