Charles Leclerc says Ferrari has no “extra motivation” to beat its rivals at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix amid suspicions about the way it is using its Formula 1 engine.

Ferrari’s power unit performance has come under scrutiny from its rivals after the Italian squad’s resurgence since the summer break, having won three races in a row and taken six consecutive pole positions.

But a mysterious dip in form at the United States Grand Prix led Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to suggest a recent engine technical directive issued by the FIA was linked to Ferrari’s sudden lack of performance, prompting an angry response from Maranello.

Asked if Ferrari has any added motivation to prove its rivals wrong, Leclerc replied: “I personally don’t have any motivation to prove them wrong.

“I think we all know inside the team what we are doing and there’s absolutely nothing wrong. We are also confident that things will come back to normal here.

“In Austin there were a few things that didn’t go in our way, which obviously the change of engine to the older spec on my side was not ideal and in the race we’ve seen [the effects of] that.

“But on my side no extra motivation to prove them wrong. We all not what it’s like here in the team."

Leclerc is bracing himself for a weekend of damage limitation in his bid to hold onto third spot in the championship, with the Monegasque set to be hit with a 10-place grid penalty for taking on a new engine.

Following an power unit issue in Austin, Ferrari has elected to fit a fresh engine to Leclerc’s car for this weekend. Despite suggestions the Scuderia could be trailing elements for its 2020 power unit, Leclerc confirmed the engine will be the same spec as the one he previously used.

“Obviously this weekend won’t be easy with the 10 place grid penalty but I believe it was the best opportunity for us for the rest of the championship,” Leclerc explained.

“I will try to limit the damage as much as possible this weekend and try to do the best result possible and then I’m pretty sure we will see the advantage of changing the engine in Abu Dhabi

"Overall I think it will be a plus,” he added. “Whether it’s in qualifying or the race I think it will be pretty similar and there will be an advantage overall. I think there’s more to gain by changing the engine.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli

 

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