Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019

Ferrari explains error which led to Leclerc’s Q1 elimination

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has explained their failure to send Charles Leclerc for a final run in Q1, which led to him being eliminated.

Binotto said the team did not anticipate how much the quicker the track would become during qualifying, and underestimated how much time drivers would gain with confidence.

“It is not a good day for us, certainly,” said Binotto in a specially-arranged press conference following the shock outcome in today’s qualifying session. “We made a mistake, that’s the way we call what happened today, nothing more.”

Ferrari failed to correctly estimate the ‘cut-off’ lap time Leclerc needed to set in order to be certain of a place in Q2, Binotto admitted.

“The cut-off time is calculated [in] real-time based on what we may see on the track, the real-time sectors of all our competitors and other drivers. When the cut-off time is calculated we normally have a margin on top of it. the margin is good enough to afford for any tolerances, uncertainty that we may have.

“Certainly what happened today is that the margin was not sufficient, or very little. The reasons are two: The first that the track improvement has been very significant and important by the end of Q1. That’s first. The second is that probably our margin was not considering enough the ability to improve by drivers gaining confidence in Monaco. And certainly in Monaco that margin needs to be increased, no doubt.”

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He admitted the team took too great a risk in their attempts to catch up with Mercedes in the championship.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019
“We don’t really have to go”: Leclerc’s team radio
“We may argue that at Ferrari these mistakes shouldn’t happen. I think that as Ferrari we are facing a situation where we need to catch up points in the championship, we need to catch up to our competitors.

“When we catch up we need to take some risks as well. And obviously by taking margin on everything we are doing.

“In the case of today taking margin to leave a set of tyres for Q2 and Q3, and for us certainly today taking some risks was key to perform as well as we could in Q2 and Q3 so somehow be challenging our main competitors in Q3 together with Charles and Seb.

“But no doubt that when you look at all of that the implication of not [being] in Q2 is even bigger than trying to challenge them in the final part of quali three. ”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Ferrari explains error which led to Leclerc’s Q1 elimination”

  1. In Monaco of ALL places, there is no time for ‘calculations’. You simply get your cars circulating for as many laps as possible. This is just schoolboy stuff…

  2. After seeing Charles topping FP3, wasn’t expecting this and Charles doesn’t deserve this. Ferrari messed up. Even with 2 minutes left there was time to react. Commentary team especially Karun Chandok picked up that Charles was in trouble with 2 minutes still to go.
    But Charles was already out of the car compare to Vettel who was in the car and rushing to go out after his mistake.

  3. I just don’t get what they had to gain in taking this risk. I understand that the pilots get an extra set of tyres for Q3. What’s the point taking this risk in Monaco, where qualifying counts for probably 80% of the race result?

  4. They have been taking these so-called risks to catch Mercedes for a couple of races now. It would be helpful if they first find a way to beat Max in the RB before dreaming of beating Mercedes. And it was such a beautiful strategy – lets save the extra tyres for Q2/Q3. Well done Ferrari.. Now you have even more tyres for the race.

  5. I’m just an armchair F1 strategist on the pit wall screaming send him out, send him out!

    1. Exactly! I was doing the same thing and I’m assuming that just about everyone watching…other than those on the Ferrari pit wall. we saying or thinking the same thing. It didn’t require F1 insight or fancy calculations to see that the times were dropping and he should have been sent out at minimum just to cover their position. Ferrari need to make changes quickly so they can at least lock down second place.

    2. Laughable blunder by Ferrari, Sebs driving was woeful, he had more hits than Elvis…mag and Ric showed there class in Qual…

  6. I think it’s a bit harsh.
    I read about Ferrari helping other teams out with their veto, so I’d like to think this is just another case of this generousity by letting an additional midfield car into Q2. I applaud them.

    1. Good guy Ferrari, always looking out for other teams!

      Next week they may even help up Renault.

  7. Ferrari seems to only be making mistakes with Leclerc and not with Vettel.

    For a washed up has been, that is mentally defeated by Lewis Hamilton, Vettel is getting too much of a team favour at Ferrari.

    I certainly don’t see Vettel finishing another championship on top. His time is gone and he needs to be replaced with Leclerc. New blood and new possibilities.

  8. Mark in Florida
    25th May 2019, 18:29

    Ferrari were afraid that Vettel wasn’t going to make it because he was running so slow at the time. The kept Charles in the pits so that Vettel wouldn’t get knocked out by him. Instead Vettel was able to knock Charles out. Typical Ferrari politics, protect the number one driver at all cost. In a year or so some other team is going to get a fine driver by the name of Charles Leclerc. No one with any sense is going to put up with Ferraris idiocy for very long. This season is a write off for them at this point. Mercedes continues to operate with clinical German precision that Ferrari can only dream about. Mattia Binotto will probably be looking for a job next year maybe he can help Williams with their race strategy.

  9. I might accept this excuse from an inexperienced midfield team but from Ferrari?

    I now firmly believe that Ferrari management are so busy admiring themselves that they don’t have time to do the job any-more.
    They are so busy being smug smirking posers that actual racing is irrelevant to them.

    “Shall we consider race strategy or go and meet the Hollywood visitors in hospitality?”
    “Oooo let’s meet the guests …. we are Ferrari so we get paid win or lose remember!”

  10. “We put numbers in a computer and it said ‘Don’t send him out’ so we didn’t.”

    1. “I’m not fast enough, I NEED to go out again!”
      “Yeah… Sorry… Computer says no”

  11. They need someone that doesn’t need to calculate a lot of numbers to see the obvious. You don’t need complicated formulas and science to fry an egg.

    1. @miani Brundle on the broadcast stated earlier that you can crunch all of the numbers, but you still need someone on the pit wall with experience to make a call on gut-feel.

      He was talking about weather, but it applies to strategy also. All of our guts were screaming “GO AGAIN!” Surely theirs were also.

  12. I used to dislike Alonso for always being rude to Ferrari during his time. But now I fully understand his frustration at the time. It’s only a matter of time until Charles loses his cool and jets off to another team.

    Sometimes I sit and think to myself whether it’s an inside job or not. Ferrari historically have had terrible strategies yes but this year, they’ve gone from bad to worse.

  13. What happened to Gasly in Melbourne should’ve been an indicator to not only RBR but all the other teams as well to not underestimate the effect of track evolution on circuits formed out of public roads since the Albert Park venue, like Monaco, is also one of those. The track evolution is generally quicker on a temporary street circuit than it is on a permanent one, which has been the case forever already and yet they still managed to get that so wrong.

  14. Chins would be hitting the ground if it were any team other than Ferrari. As it is, it’s just another tactical Maranello mess-up. Everyone else knows that at Monaco you have to get in a banker, then come back out and crank it up for a second or even third lap.

    This is the race Leclerc’s been really looking forward to. Now it’ll probably be his worst result of the season so far. He’s a polite guy, but inside he’ll be volcanic.

  15. Sometimes the line between “hero” and “zero” is a very thin one. If Ferrari’s gamble had paid-off on Sunday, we would be praising them for their cleverness. But the actual result shows why they’re called “gambles.”

  16. Sergio Marchionne wold fire people for incompetence. They need someone like him back at the top. These mistakes are inexcusable.

  17. Well, that’s one way to ensure Vettel is in front of Leclerc.

  18. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    25th May 2019, 20:14

    I would like to meet the genius behind the strategy. This is Monaco and it was obvious since 4 minutes before the end of Q1, that the track was impoving.

  19. The same team that didnt want to try for an extra point with a clear margin because it was too risky now takes such a silly risk. 🙄

    They’re just making it up as they go along and saying whatever they can afterwards to make it sound like a smart decision.

    Were not fooled Ferrari, you should have stopped at it was a mistake and spent more time talking about how you plan to discontinue making these mistakes rather than justifying them.

    Seperate technical and team heads should be a start. You dont see Horner or Wolff taking on the job of designing the car.

  20. Nobody mentions the fact that Vettel improving his time, made Leclerc missing out on Q3. Ferrari should notice things like that.

    Another mistake by Ferrari strategist.

    1. Really man. Leclerc was at P13 and they were sending Vettel out to get in to Q2, which means that Leclerc would be dropped to P14 anyways. Also Hulkenberg didn’t get a clean run, and was out on track to improve. He would most likely push Leclerc down as well. That’s down to P15. Right on the cusp on elimination on an ever improving track.

      Most arm chair experts saw that even before Vettel got out on track…. how on earth could a bunch of highly paid “strategists” not see this coming?

      What a bunch of amateurs. How do they still have jobs?

      1. What a bunch of amateurs. How do they still have jobs?

        I have always believed that at Ferrari the old adage of “It’s not what you know, but who you know” rings too true.

        If I am right then they need to realise that it is time for a serious clear out of the dead wood and get some professionals in to the job.

  21. Ferrari are in F1 to get publicity for their road cars. Today’s events will have made headlines around the world and will be worth millions. Ferrari won’t care, as they’ve already given up on winning anything this year.

  22. Absolute jokes from Ferrari. Any man and his dog could tell you not to take that sort of gamble at Monaco. The team seems to have gone backwards since the appointment of Binotto, can’t see him lasting long with these kind of decisions. It’s happening every race.

    1. @alistair I kid you not. I was watching this with my doggo on the couch and he got up and looked at the exact time as I was about to stand up and shout “what are you guys doing? Send him out”!!!

  23. I am trying so hard not to lay into Ferrari but I think I have reached my limit. Where does the buck stop? This is schoolboy stuff.

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