Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019

“We think you can push”: Leclerc’s radio from his race-ending collision

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc and Ferrari tried everything they could to stay in the Monaco Grand Prix after he suffered heavy floor damage during the race.

Leclerc’s collision with Nico Hulkenberg caused a right-rear puncture, and as he returned to the pits the tyre disintegrated, badly damaging his right-rear floor.

After fitting fresh tyres Leclerc rejoined the back of the pack at the restart. However he lost more time when Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovinazzi collided at Rascasse.

Back at racing speeds, Leclerc described his car as “undriveable” and said he was worried he would crash. Ferrari tried to reduce the problem by bringing in Leclerc to lower his front wing and shift the aero balance back towards the rear of the car. But as soon as Leclerc tackled the fast Massenet and Casino corners on his out-lap they realised it was in vain and called him in for good.

His team radio from the race reveals how the drama unfolded.

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Charles Leclerc’s 2019 Monaco Grand Prix team radio

To Leclerc:Some rain reported on the last corner.
Leclerc:(Leclerc hits the wall while trying to pass Hulkenebrg)
Do I have a puncture?
To Leclerc:We have a puncture. DB position B and box.
To Leclerc:Box now, box.
To Leclerc:(The tyre disintegrates as he approaches Tabac)
The main thing is to come in.
To Leclerc:Box now, box, we’ll check the car but everything is fine. Mode race, K2 on. And diff position plus one.
To Leclerc:Hamilton on the main straight. Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen coming, now Sebastian.
To Leclerc:(Vettel is behind him as the approach Massenet)
Sebastian, let Sebastian by.
To Leclerc:OK now it’s clear, clear behind.
To Leclerc:And we need secondary MOD position seven. MOD position seven.
To Leclerc:(The Safety Car is deployed)
So we stay out we’ve seen some floor damage. We stay out.
Leclerc:What is the MOD? Tell me secondary or normal.
To Leclerc:Secondary MOD position seven. Secondary MOD position seven.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc passes the Safety Car)
Slow button on. Slow button on.
Leclerc:How big is the floor damage?
To Leclerc:So the rear-right I can see some damage. Also the rear-left. The rear-left is less, the right is a bit more.
Leclerc:Is it a big thing or not?
To Leclerc:It is… come back to you.
To Leclerc:It is quite big on the rear-right, quite big damage on the rear-right.
Leclerc:I can push, right? I can push, right?
To Leclerc:We think you can push, yes.
To Leclerc:But it’s a big part of the floor missing on the rear-right.
To Leclerc:And we can see aero balance more to the front, around two percent more to the front now.
To Leclerc:Slow button off and you can catch up the group now.
Leclerc:You can what?
To Leclerc:Slow button off, you can push to catch up the group in front.
Leclerc:The car, to be honest, is undriveable.
To Leclerc:Copy, understood.
To Leclerc:So Charles what we can do is stop in the the box and remove front wing, at least four clicks.
Leclerc:Yeah but I won’t catch the group anyway so I don’t know. Let’s at least try and stay on track otherwise we will get lapped.
To Leclerc:OK we try and stay on track.
Leclerc:I try and then we see, if it’s really undriveable there’s no point.
To Leclerc:Understood.
To Leclerc:Safety Car in this lap. So reminder K2 on for the restart.
Leclerc:I don’t know if you see the car data but I’m scared… I’m not scared but I think I will crash to be honest.
To Leclerc:Understood.
Leclerc:The car is so tricky.
To Leclerc:You can select or press K2 on.
To Leclerc:(The track is briefly blocked as Giovinazzi and Kubica collide)
Kubica is moving now, backwards.
Leclerc:Guys we need to stop. I’m so slow. I’m struggling so much.
To Leclerc:Copy, understood, box now.
To Leclerc:(Giovinazzi passes Leclerc approaching the Fairmont Hotel hairpin)
Box now, box.
Leclerc:Yeah I’m coming.
To Leclerc:We will change the tyres and we will take off a lot of front wing.
Leclerc:Yeah but the car is… OK.
Leclerc:The car is…
To Leclerc:Let’s try again and if not we’ll try to find another solution. Box now, box.
Leclerc:(Leclerc enters the pits)
I’m the first one to not give up but the car is extremely difficult to drive.
Leclerc:(Leclerc leaves the pits)
I’m not managing to put any temperature in the tyres.
To Leclerc:OK, understood, we can see that on data.
To Leclerc:So now Hamilton, Verstappen, the lead cars at turn 16, 17. Track is clear.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc accelerates towards Massenet)
And let us know if it’s slightly better.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc exits Casino)
And slow down and box now, box. Slow button on.
To Leclerc:The leading cars at turn three, turn four.
Leclerc:Why do we need to box now?
To Leclerc:So slow down, box. And we will retire now.
To Leclerc:The lead car’s now at turn 10, 11. And box now.
To Leclerc:Sorry about that.
To Leclerc:(Leclerc is pushed into the garage)
There’s quite a lot of damage on the car.
Leclerc:Yeah I told you it was very difficult to drive. Anyway I’m sorry guys. To be honest… did Hulkenberg get any penalty because he has to leave a car’s space normally, which he didn’t really. But anyway. I’ll get out.
To Leclerc:Copy.

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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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14 comments on ““We think you can push”: Leclerc’s radio from his race-ending collision”

  1. We think you can push, yes.

    Why would you be scared if your engineer, who is safely in the pit whilst you drive at huge speeds through the narrow streets, gives you this comforting message :P

  2. ”did Hulkenberg get any penalty because he has to leave a car’s space normally, which he didn’t really.”
    – It was a racing incident, and the Stewards rightly so took no action on it.

    1. Stewards only got one wrong penalty call yesterday it seems.

      Also didnt engineer see on tv screen Leclerc is shedding car parts faster than a reptile shedding skin before telling him to push and endangering other drivers on track. Anyways a blackflag for dangerous car was moot point since Leclerc retire couple of laps later.

  3. I was outside, and only had commentary via the F1 app on Saturday, so watching the qualifying back now, Crofty and Brundle were pretty late to spot the trouble for Leclerc there, but not as late as the Dutch guy, who only saw it after the session (and the Germans missed it until only at the very end either).

    I do think missing the weighbridge maybe unfocussed the team a bit, including Leclec – it had alerady been a difficult car, difficult weekend for him and the whole team already, witness how messy both drivers were there in the FP and qualifying. Also, I wonder if he has the same (with previous years F1, and before F2 also not going according to any plan) home-race-bugbear we see with several other drivers too. Ferrari doesn’t look like a team that can talk a driver down from that (not to the extend Mercedes has a structure to get Hamilton down from ‘tyres are gone, I am going to be done’, certainly :)

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      27th May 2019, 17:39

      The Dutch guy … let’s just be glad that he spotted it at all :-) I would have expected him to muddle on lap 6 of the race that Leclerc seems to be rather behind and that he must have made an early pit stop.

  4. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    27th May 2019, 16:04

    It’s tough to see how his first few races with Ferrari have gone, I think his team has done an utterly useless job of helping this kid and if he loses confidence and can’t somehow gain back what I thought was absolute raw speed to begin the year, Ferrari management has no one to blame but themselves. It’s like their team mentality is backwards or something with how they treat a “number one” driver compared to their second driver. Maybe a non Italian team principle is what they need.

    1. Witnessing the pace Raikkonen had once he was clear of a contract with them @canadianjosh, does suggest that’s the case.

  5. Me thinks Leclerc and Ferrari won’t enjoy a long relationship together.

    One or the other is going to pull the plug sooner than later.

    1. It does not look like Leclerc has a future with Ferrari, especially if Hamilton joins the team and replaces Vettel in 2020 … Leclerc should be looking for an opportunity elsewhere, while trying to do the his best for the rest of 2019.

  6. This weekend was filled with errors by the Ferrari team and by Leclerc himself. Something to quickly forget.

  7. When I heard Leclerc say “I can push, right?” live, it sounded to me like his voice almost cracked, on the verge of tears… definitely was a heart-breaking moment.

  8. Almost as bad as Hamilton’s floor damage in Australia.

  9. One might have thought Ferrari or Leclerc had never seen a car damaged by a punctured tyre. Why didn’t Ferrari tell Leclerc to slow down on his return to the pits? Every man and his dog knows that if the SC is deployed, all of the lapped cars are allowed to unlap themselves before the race restarts. If Leclerc had returned to the pits at a sensible speed, his car wouldn’t have been damaged and he’d have only been last, with another chance of getting into the points.

    I expect to see even more schoolboy errors from Ferrari during the rest of the season. Watch the heads roll during the winter, if not before.

    1. There wasn’t a safety car until Leclerc destroyed his floor driving back, scattering carbon fibre everywhere.

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