Max Verstappen and Mercedes handed boost as Carlos Sainz set for French GP grid penalty

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FERRARI are reportedly in for more bad news regarding their engine woes at the upcoming French Grand Prix.

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Carlos Sainz is reportedly set to be slapped with a grid penalty at the French Grand Prix, handing Max Verstappen and Mercedes a boost. According to a report from Spanish publication Marca, the Ferrari star will be forced to use a fourth engine of the season after his latest one caught fire in the latter stages of the Austrian GP.

The 27-year-old narrowly escaped before his car was engulfed in flames before sitting on the grassy banks in disbelief. He was within striking distance of overtaking Max Verstappen who was running in second place before disaster struck and suffered his second mechanical retirement of the season.

Ferrari could look at the current pool of engines, but the Spanish magazine claims the other engines are already at the limit in terms of mileage. Marca claim Ferrari had hoped to make it through the summer break without a fourth engine.

But now he will likely use a new engine with the same specification as his previous ones, which has suffered with reliability issues this season. It means he will be forced to start the French GP from the back of the grid. After experiencing the joy and ecstasy of winning his first F1 race at Silverstone last week, Sainz was left speechless after once again failing to finish a race through no fault of his own.

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Max Verstappen and Mercedes handed boost as Carlos Sainz set for French GP grid penalty

Carlos Sainz may be at a disadvantage at the French GP (Image: GETTY)

The driver expressed his shock at what took place and the lack of communication from his team leading up to the unfortunate incident. “There was no feedback coming from the engine that this was about to happen,” he told Sky Sports F1. “Very sudden, and yeah, a bit lost for words because it’s obviously a big, big loss on points on a huge result for a team – I think it would have been an easy one-two today. Well, fire, a lot of fire, a lot of damage for sure, which is not ideal and something that we will keep need to look in at,” he added when asked what damage he was able to assess in the cockpit.

“At least today, the pace was there, the degradation was very low on our car, we were fast. So yeah, I will take it and turn the page as soon as possible.” Sainz added that the circumstances in which he retired made it all the tougher for him to accept, given how well the team had been performing during the race.

“For sure it is more difficult to take because we were about to cut the points to the leaders of the championship, both Max and Red Bull,” he said. “We were about to do a very big result for the team and one of the cars DNF’d. So it’s heart-breaking, but we need to keep pushing turn the page and it’s still a long season ahead.”

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Max Verstappen and Mercedes handed boost as Carlos Sainz set for French GP grid penalty

Carlos Sainz was driven back to the pit lane after his car burst into flames during the Austrian GP (Image: GETTY)

Following the heartbreaking result, Sainz criticised the length of time it took to receive any assistance from his burning car. “It was quite strange,” Sainz told Sky Deutschland.

“I saw the fire in the rear view mirror and was a bit surprised that nobody came faster to help me. At one point I just had to jump out, even though the car was moving. It’s not ideal and we’ll see what we can do in the future.” He added: “At some point, there was too much fire so I really had to get a move on and jump out independently. It was at that point that the first marshal arrived and stopped the car.”

“It is definitely something we need to look at, what we could have done a bit faster because it was not an easy situation to be in.” Sainz is now 75 points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ championship while the difference with teammate Charles Leclerc is 37 points.

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