Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019

“We don’t really have to go”: Team radio from Leclerc’s disastrous Q1 elimination

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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How did Charles Leclerc go from being quickest at the start of Q1 to dropping out in 16th place at the end of the session?

The team radio from his car reveals how Ferrari appeared to be uncertain about whether he needed to improve his lap time.

Having initially set a best time of 1’12.149, Leclerc suffered a lock-up at Rascasse which caused a flat-spot on his tyres. He advised his team, who asked him to attempt to set another lap. He began to, but abandoned the lap as he was unable to improve, and came into the pits.

At that point he was signalled to drive onto the weigh bridge. He didn’t and pulled up at his pit box, but the team noticed the error and pushed him back.

Once that was done Leclerc asked the team whether he should run again. The reply came back that they didn’t think he needed to, despite him not being able to improve with his final run.

However as other drivers improved their times Leclerc continued to fall down the order. When team mate Sebastian Vettel moved up with his last lap, it pushed Leclerc into the drop zone by 0.173 seconds.

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Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix qualifying team radio

To Leclerc:OK you can do another push lap if you need it. At the moment, P1.
To Leclerc:Look for Stroll behind, he’s pushing.
To Leclerc:Watch for traffic with Stroll. Next car Perez, pushing.
To Leclerc:OK Perez behind pushing, watch for traffic.
To Leclerc:Perez behind pushing, OK.
To Leclerc:And now you have a good gap. Next car behind pushing is Russell but you have a good gap there, he’s at turn nine under the tunnel.
To Leclerc:So next car behind pushing is Russell, nine seconds.
To Leclerc:Mode push for last corner.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc does a flying lap)
OK mode charge, mode charge. Next car behind pushing is Stroll, seven seconds.
To Leclerc:Next car behind pushing is Stroll, five seconds.
To Leclerc:Ricciardo in front, five seconds.
To Leclerc:You are P3 at the moment. You should try to stay in front of Stroll behind at three seconds, he’s pushing.
To Leclerc:You have a bit of a gap now behind Stroll if you want.
To Leclerc:Mode push for last corner, mode push.
Leclerc:(Leclerc locks up)
I’ve flat-spotted the tyres.
To Leclerc:OK next car behind is Sebastian, eight seconds, he’ll be on a slow lap.
To Leclerc:And box now, box.
To Leclerc:Next car behind is Sebastian, he’s on a slow lap, eight seconds behind.
To Leclerc:Do you think you can push another lap with these tyres?
Leclerc:Can try, yes.
To Leclerc:OK so let’s try again.
To Leclerc:Mode push for last corner, mode push.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc abandons the lap)
To Leclerc:And box now, box. Next car behind is Albon on an out-lap, box now.
To Leclerc:Weigh bridge, weigh bridge.
Leclerc:Wait, wait, wait I haven’t…
To Leclerc:Weigh bridge.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc is pushed back to the weigh bridge)
You can switch off the radio. And P zero.
Leclerc:Do we have to go again?
To Leclerc:(Jock Clear replies)
We’ll get ready Charles, but we don’t really have to go

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Keith Collantine
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28 comments on ““We don’t really have to go”: Team radio from Leclerc’s disastrous Q1 elimination”

  1. The person in charge of Leclerc’s strategy needs to go. This error in Monaco is a complete disaster and inexcusable.

  2. Even after his funny business Bionnto asks why all other teams on grid are talking against Veto and Bonus.

    1. Haha, Ferrari should veto their own strategists!

  3. A Ferrari blunder? How is that possible? 😏

    1. In FP3, Leclerc had 1:11:265, in a much greener track. That would have put him easily in Q2.
      Ferrari F1 and it’s litany of blunders. Too bad Lewis wants to race for them.

      1. @svianna what in the world makes you think Lewis wants to drive for Ferrari?

        He was a key player in building Mercedes, gets to live his life his way, with the fattest wallet on the grid, and a championship car to boot.

        1. @justrhysism

          Possibly, the belief is based on Lewis previously saying he’d -like just about any other racing driver ever- would love to drive for Ferrari. But it was intended more as a recognition of their status as the team thats been there almost since the very beginning of F1.

          But he’s a smart and as long Mercedes give him a championship winning car, he’s not going anywhere soon. Heck, he’s probably watched the last few years and thought, ‘Well, that’s a dream I won’t bother pursuing anytime soon’

  4. With the great strategic decisions Ferrari are making, we really need them to surrender their power of veto!

  5. Ferrari: The ‘LOL’ champions 2019

  6. Ferrari messed up of course, but Leclerc isn’t blameless. He didn’t manage to string a decent lap together. I feel Leclerc is making some costly mistakes himself after his impressive drive in Bahain. Perhaps he is frustrated with Ferrari, but it might as well be because of inexperience (which is understandable).

    1. The pressure has been getting to him since the Baku qualifying crash, I think (though that was another Ferrari self-inflicted wound, asking too much of their drivers on the wrong tyres). Certainly he needs to sort out the dip in his own performance too.

  7. Ferrari making an error an a track like Monaco where qualifying is 90% the result, is inexcusable.

  8. I don’t get what Ferrari thought they’d gain by not sending Leclerc out.

    Are they afraid he would crash? Did they want to save soft tyres for a extra pit stops which they’ll never do because it’s an awful strategy in Monaco? Are they afraid the engine won’t last enough if they do the 3 extra laps a second attempt would have taken? Did they want to save on fuel because the budget is getting tight? Were they panicking so hard about Vettel hitting the wall and losing his lap that they forgot they had 2 drivers in the team and not just 1?

    1. Were they panicking so hard about Vettel hitting the wall and losing his lap that they forgot they had 2 drivers in the team and not just 1?

      Incredibly, I think this is closer to the truth than we dare think. Absolute clusterfumble.

      1. Putting him in his ‘place’ ?

  9. Anybody on this site can do a better job than the Ferrari strategists. At least back when they used to make incompetent cars from 2009-2016, they used to get their strategy right more often than not.

    1. @mashiat – And this was actually one of the easiest calls ever. Most pole position dependent race on the calendar. The course is evolving faster as each session progresses. Should we make another run? Doh!

      1. @bullmello Yes, and given the race will be a one-stop, it’s not like they had to stack up on tyres. It would have meant that Leclerc would have lost a run in either Q2 or Q3, but that would still have been worth the risk. It’s not like Leclerc had 1 second in the bag, and it was completely unexpected. The field was so close in Q1 that he only had a handful of tenths in his pocket, while everybody behind him was undoubtedly going to improve. Really stupid from Ferrari.

  10. It appears Ferrari have gotten even worse with their “strategy” decisions in 2019.

    Why exactly did they replace Arrivabene?

  11. They fell into the same trap as RBR with Gasly in Melbourne; another venue formed out of public roads with the same consequences due to the track evolution being quicker than it usually is on a permanent track, which has been the case forever already and yet they still managed to get it so wrong.

  12. I really hope Leclerc leaves Ferrari. We are only 6 races down and already he’s been let down by the team on 4 occasions. They don’t really deserve top drawer talents in their squad.

    This team is a perfect example of incompetence and inefficiency. Vettel and Ferrari seem like a good fit. Now they need to find the next Raikonnen to jump in to that 2nd seat and they can go on losing championships for decades to come.

    1. Was thinking about that after qualifying… the thing is where would he go? Mercedes won’t take him, Red Bull won’t

      1. Mercedes would take Leclerc if they don’t get Verstappen. They got to prepare for their post-Lewis era, which probably begins in 2021.

  13. Ok so so far Ferrari have blundered every race, right?
    Australia: unnecessary team orders to keep leclerc behind
    Bahrain: telling leclerc not to overtake, then car failure
    Baku: stupid strategy
    Spain: Horrific strategy
    Monaco: qualifying blunder

    Let’s see if they can keep up the streak!

    1. Oh forgot
      China: ruining leclerc’s race

    2. Ipsom, I’d have said that the real blunder by Ferrari in Australia – asides from the technical issues they had – was that they put themselves into a situation where they compromised Vettel with a pretty bad strategy in the first place, which was why then then ended up imposing those team orders later on.

      1. Yes, correct

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