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Charles Leclerc will start the Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid
Charles Leclerc will start the Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid

Charles Leclerc will start the Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid as Ferrari give a debut outing to a new power unit.

The Scuderia have long been teasing a "significant" engine component development, and it will now be put to the ultimate test this weekend.

With regulations restricting Formula One engine manufacturers to one upgrade per component each year, Ferrari have been running a hybrid system based on 2020 specifications.

In Sochi, the team will showcase an improved hybrid power unit and Leclerc will be the first to get to grips with it, as Carlos Sainz waits his turn.

"Its main purpose is to gain experience for the 2022 car project," Ferrari, who will unveil an entirely new car next year, said in a statement.

"A great deal of effort has gone into this, both technically and logistically, and so as to be able to use it as soon as possible, its introduction will be staggered between the drivers.

"Charles will be the first to have the new hybrid system. This decision is a precautionary measure relating to the potential risk of using the battery pack damaged in his Hungarian GP accident.

"In Sochi, Leclerc will have a brand new power unit and will therefore start from the back of the grid.

"As to when the updated hybrid system is fitted to Carlos' car, that will be decided following an evaluation of the right compromise between competitiveness and the impact of the penalty."

Leclerc sits sixth in the driver standings on 104 points, just ahead of his team-mate, who has 97.5 points.

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