The new power unit features a revised hybrid system and is believed to be worth around 8-9bhp in performance.

Leclerc got his first taste of the upgraded engine during Friday practice in Sochi, where he will take an automatic penalty that will see him start at the back of the grid for Sunday’s race after exceeding his permitted number of power units this season.

Ferrari was braced for Leclerc to take an engine penalty after one of his power units was damaged beyond repair in the opening lap carnage at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

With that in mind, Ferrari took the opportunity to install a brand new power unit it has been specifically developing for the 2022 F1 season.

“It went very good, it was a positive day,” Leclerc said. “Obviously whenever you make a big change for everyone, for the mechanics, for us; it’s a new part so it’s good to see everything was working as expected.

“For now we’ve been focusing mostly on the race because for qualifying we would anyway be starting last, so we’ve done a good job today by taking as much information as we could and [I’m] happy with our Friday.”

Asked whether he could feel much of a difference with his new-spec engine, Leclerc replied: “I feel that it is a little bit better, which is great.

“Obviously the data confirms it, so yes, it’s great to feel it and to see it.”

Ferrari is understood to be running the power unit in a conservative mode initially in order to provide some vital early feedback and compare its real-world findings against simulations on the dyno.

Speaking after opening practice on Friday, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies explained that the Italian outfit is willing to take penalties this year in order to boost its prospects for next season.

“It’s fair to say that the main target with this power unit is, above all, to work next year,” Mekies said after opening practice on Friday.

“So it was a big push from the company to try to bring this new hybrid system as early as now. It’s to make sure that we can confirm that all the processes, all the direction of development that we have for next year’s PU is confirmed with the race track feedback.

“It’s one thing to have the simulation and it’s one thing to have the dyno test, it’s much better if we can have an on-track confirmation. Hopefully it will be a step in the right direction.”

Mekies confirmed that Sainz will also receive the upgrade, most likely at next month’s Turkish Grand Prix on 10 October.

Leclerc is expecting his bid to fight through the field on Sunday to prove a difficult task.

“It is a very difficult track to overtake,” he explained. “I tried during FP2 and it was very difficult. Let’s see, I will try my best, but I expect maybe a difficult race on Sunday.”

But Leclerc has devised an opportunistic plan to follow Max Verstappen’s expected charge, with the Red Bull driver joining Leclerc on the back row after taking his own engine penalty.

“It might be a bit easier for him,” Leclerc said. “He’s quite a bit quicker than us, but I will try to use him to just stay behind him and overtake cars with him.”