Leclerc handed a three-place grid penalty for F1 Sprint

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Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was handed out a three-place grid penalty for today's F1 Sprint at the Austrian Grand Prix after stewards found him guilty of impeding Oscar Piastri in the shootout qualifying session. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports from the Red Bull Ring paddock.

After Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz secured a second and third place starting slot for tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix, Ferrari appeared to be on the pace in today’s shootout qualifying again. However, the two Ferrari drivers only finished in P5 and P6 respectively with Sainz qualifying himself higher up on the grid.

However, Leclerc’s starting position has been in doubt as the Monegasque was accused of having impeded McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in Turn 9 in the opening segment of today’s shootout qualifying session.

Leclerc was summoned by the stewards, who decided to hand out a three-place grid drop for today’s F1 Sprint at the Red Bull Ring.

The stewards stated: “The driver of Car 81 stated that as he approached Turn 9 he saw that Car 16 was travelling slowly and had to brake, reducing his speed by approximately 45 km/h over the previous push lap. This was verified by the Stewards referencing the telemetry of Car 81. It was confirmed Car 81 lost approximately 0.5 of a second in that minisector (5.3s v 4.8s).

The driver of Car 16 stated that the last call he had from his team was when he was approaching Turn 4 (“Piastri 6 seconds”) and that he saw Car 81 in his mirrors as he was in Turn 8 and Car 81 was in Turn 7.

The Team Representative of Car 16 stated that the team “could have done better” in communicating the rapid approach of Car 81 and its drivers stated that “If I had been warned I could have done something earlier”. Accordingly we determine that although this was not entirely the fault of the driver, and that the team’s lack of communication was the major contributing factor, a grid position penalty must be imposed," the FIA statement read.