Frederic Vasseur says Charles Leclerc’s issue in F1 Brazil GP was first they faced in 2023 amid frustration of losing out on a potential podium.
It was not the start that Ferrari or Leclerc wanted in F1 Brazil GP where they only completed half the formation lap before going bust. The Monegasque spun off after locking the rear wheels. He got going but only just before stopping again.
He noted about losing hydraulics but eventually it was cleared that the system commanded to shut off which is why he lost the power steering and power unit to spin off. Reliability has been on and off for Ferrari and Brazil GP adds to another of their woes.
But Vasseur notes that this was a problem that they haven’t faced this year. “It was a system issue, the system switched off the hydraulics and engine,” he said to media. “The reason for the command from the system we don’t know yet because the car is not back. But it was more an electronic command than something else.
“He tried to switch on and switch off. The issue is that he made 30 metres and it was in the same situation but it was better to stop. There was no way to recover. No, we haven’t seen this issue, at least not in the last 10 months. It was the first time. When the system command switch off, you don’t have any power steering or gearbox,” summed up Vasseur.
The bigger disappointment was that Ferrari were prepping up the whole sprint weekend for the main race by saving tyres while starting from the front-row. They weren’t focussed as much on Max Verstappen, but keeping the rest of the pack behind.
There was a chance of a podium but Vasseur didn’t want to look at the ‘ifs’. “Would have been possible,” said Vasseur when asked about lost podium. “If you consider that we were also with three set of new tyres, starting in clean air but the two Astons didn’t have a great start. But you know this kind of position is just bullshit. Racing is racing, you don’t have to race with ‘if, if, if.’ It is like it is.
“For sure, it is very frustrating for Charles and for the team that also, strategically, as I said, another weekend we put all our effort on the long run to save tyres, so we had new tyres. We didn’t put new tyres on for the short one, we put everything on the long one, and we didn’t take the start. For sure, it’s frustrating.
“He was more than disappointed. Now we have to stay calm to understand what’s happened to avoid any issue in the future. I think the pace over the weekend was not that bad, we were in a good position. It’s a missed opportunity because we are catching up Mercedes a little bit over the weekend.
“We have still two attempts with Vegas and Abu Dhabi. Vegas could be a chaotic one and if we have the same pace as this weekend and Mercedes the same pace as this weekend, we have an opportunity,” summed up Vasseur, as Leclerc explained his side of things when asked about losing the car and trying to get back before giving up.
“I went to the corner, I lost the power steering first, and then the engine cut off for safety reasons,” said Leclerc to media. “And then the rear wheels locked up, and that made me spin. So I had no control over the car to any point. I moved the car again. There was only the front wing that was damaged. But apart from that, nothing else.
“I started again, I got the hydraulics for 15 seconds. But then exactly the same thing happened. I lost the hydraulics, and then the engine cuts off. And obviously, it was clear that I couldn’t go forward anymore, because I went 20 metres, the next time would have been 2 meters and that was it.
“Hydraulics, that is what I felt. But at the end, I don’t think that is the issue, speaking with the engineers. We know what that is, but I cannot go too much into details,” summed up Leclerc, as Ferrari will continue the investigation at Maranello.
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Here’s how F1 Brazil GP panned out
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