Charles Lerclerc’s prospects of scoring three consecutive points’ finishes – and five in the past six races – at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix have taken a hit with news that the Sauber driver will take a grid penalty for Sunday’s race as a result of an unscheduled gearbox change.

The Monégasque driver, who has finished in the points at the Azerbaijan, Spanish, Canadian and French Grands Prix to-date in his rookie F1 season, stopped in the final minutes of FP3 with an apparent mechanical failure.

The Sauber team has diagnosed the issue as requiring a new gearbox, meaning he will take a five-place grid penalty under the current rules as the gearbox has not completed six consecutive Grands Prix.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was another driver whose car stopped during FP3, although the exact cause of the issue and a solution for it have not been publicly announced.

Image via Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.