Following Carlos Sainz’s crash in Australia, Ferrari has made a precautionary tweak to his power unit ahead of the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Scuderia is taking precautionary measures after the Spaniard, who signed a new deal until 2024 on Thursday, spun out of the Australian Grand Prix early and ended up in the gravel.
The action will guarantee that any lingering effects from the tragedy do not detract from the season’s first sprint weekend at Imola, where F1 has boosted the number of points available for Saturday’s 100km race.
The Spaniard had a difficult Australian Grand Prix due to a series of issues, the conclusion of which led in him spinning off when attempting to overtake Haas driver Mick Schumacher after a poor start due to his replacement steering wheel not being calibrated with the correct torque map.
Due to the impact of Sainz’s off in Australia and the tight two-and-a-half-hour turnaround between practise and qualifying on Friday in the sprint race weekend format, Ferrari has decided to provide him a new power unit for the Imola race weekend as a precaution.
“Carlos’ engine has been changed as a precaution following the impact in Australia as we do not want to take any risks with the Sprint weekend format,” Ferrari announced ahead of first practice at Imola.
Alpine also confirmed that Esteban Ocon would be upgrading to a new power unit for the weekend ahead of the first practice at Imola on Friday.
As a precaution, the team will fit a new power unit for Esteban at this weekend’s grand prix,” the team said.
“This will be his second of three allocated power units for the season, therefore not incurring a penalty.”
Sainz reflected on his Australian GP earlier this weekend, attributing his poor performance to “frustration” as a result of the various issues he faced, including missing out on pole position due to losing his first Q3 lap after Fernando Alonso’s crash and then losing time in the rest of the session due to a starter issue.
“One of my strengths as a driver is to stay calm in these sort of situations, this time, I lacked this calmness to react properly to the inconvenience that arrived to me at the time,” Saiz said.
“And it wasn’t a great weekend because a lot of things happened, a lot of external factors happened, but at the same time I didn’t have the best reaction to this.”
“To suddenly feel like you were in the fight for pole and I was driving well the whole weekend, I was leading some free practices and feeling like I was driving the car really well.”
“Suddenly, the external problems started happening and maybe kicked a bit of frustration.”
Following a change to sprint race rules, points will now be awarded to drivers in positions one through eight, with the winner’s score increasing from three to eight. The outcome will once again determine the starting grid for the grand prix on Sunday.
With power modes ramped up earlier in the weekend and an hour of qualifying on Friday, power units will be put under more duress than usual.
After winning two of the first three races, Ferrari will be looking to keep up its great record in front of the adoring Tifosi.