Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019

Ferrari will learn from “huge disappointment” of qualifying blunder – Leclerc

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says Ferrari will learn lessons from the blunder which led to him being eliminated in the first round of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The team failed to ensure Leclerc was running at the end of the session and he was eliminated from qualifying by his own team mate, Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc started the race 15th.

“I think as a team we will have to learn because obviously going out in Q1 has been a huge disappointment,” said Leclerc after the race. “It was not our starting position, 15th. We expected a difficult race but we will for sure learn from this.”

Leclerc retired from the race after making contact with Nico Hulkenberg and a wall while trying to overtake the Renault driver. “I think it was a racing incident,” said Leclerc. “I don’t think he left much space but I clipped the rear on the wall and I think we touched a little bit, that’s it.”

It has been a frustrating start to life at Ferrari for the rookie driver, who was in course to win in Bahrain before experiencing a problem with his power unit.

“Unfortunately it has not been the start to the season we wished,” he admitted. “We had quite a bit of a disappointment since the beginning of the season. But we need to keep our head up and keep working as hard as we possibly can and the results will eventually come.”

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Author information

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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46 comments on “Ferrari will learn from “huge disappointment” of qualifying blunder – Leclerc”

  1. Given Ferrari did this sort of thing before in the not too distant past, I have to say, I agree in that they should learn, but I feel doubt about whether they actually will do so.

    I hope Leclerc finds his calm and trust in himself again, it seems to me that since that Baku training crash (or perhaps after the not-so well executed and sometimes thought through team orders?), he has been a bit harried, and maybe too much in a hurry to prove he can do the job. Hm, maybe a bit like Vettel has been too? Doesn’t point to the team getting things right in the short or long term, sadly. But, we can hope.

  2. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
    31st May 2019, 9:10

    I have doubts about their ability to learn. For instance, they don’t seem to learn that leaving a car 3-4 laps out before taking a decision (to pit, to let the other driver pass) never, ever give a good outcome.

    On the other hand, Leclerc should fly a little lower. He’s kinda behaving like he’s an experienced driver, with Ferrari preventing him to win the championship. No, he’s not, and that’s not the way Ferrari works. They made a (good) exception in taking him so early and I’m happy about that but he needs to understand how things works in this team.

    Let me clarify, I’m all for Charles and I really believe he can be WC soon; but he’s still in his learning phase. Look how Verstappen matured: he’s amazingly fast but until recently he only used his talent. Now that he’s using his head too he’s really shining, best driver of the season hands down. Leclerc’s mistakes are kind hidden in the mess Ferrari’s doing, but he’s not perfect (nor is Vettel, but I think he’s having a much more consistent season compared to the teammate).

    Calm down Charles, your time will absolutely come.

    1. @m-bagattini I couldn’t agree more. I rate Charles highly on his talent and calmness. But in Monaco, his smooth talking doesn’t reflect on how he handle the pressures. He wants to proved his worth too much.

    2. @m-bagattini

      Nicely formulated!

      We all could also be a bit less judgemental and a bit more patient. It’s great to see these guys develop from raw diamonds to polished ones.

      1. Let’s say we are all along for the ride :-)

  3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    31st May 2019, 9:10

    I doubt it. I don’t think it is random that both Alonso and Vettel, who are WDCs, haven’t won a championship with Ferrari. Newey has stated that Vettel is a guy who cares about the team. When the team has awful strategy and makes stupid decision, the pressure increases.

    In order for things to change, Ferrari needs some major changes in management. The last time they were a proper team who could win titles was in 2008. The mistakes they make are amateurish, I could recognize them from my couch and I am not an expert.

    1. This.

      Now imagine Hamilton signs for Ferrari and again fails to win a title.

      It is more or less clear Ferrari are way behind Mercedes in actual race track operations. There is no excuse for that. Mercedes dig deeper in times of trouble and are a more cohesive team. Even when it looks like Ferrari is faster, tires are out of their window Mercedes pulls magic overnight and dials the car in for Quali.

      And come race day, they execute well, there are no team order blunders or indecision that last 15 laps.

      There are windows for decisions, in order to be decisive they need to make them in 1 or maximum 2 laps.

      Mean time between mistakes is a lot shorter for Ferrari, they seem to mess up every second race on average, per driver.

      Mercedes then even with similarly fast car can win titles, and with slightly faster car can run away with 1-2 all year long.

      1. Surely Hamilton signing for Ferrari would be the best thing for the sport right now.

        If he stays at Mercedes for 4 more years, he’ll have 4 more titles if he goes to Ferrari, we could have a more open championship for a few years, although you’d probably expect his replacement at Merc to win at least one championship!

        1. But it would be terrible for Hamilton so he’d never do it. Lewis may be many things but stupid he’s not.

          1. True that!

        2. @eurobrun If Hamilton had been with Ferrari for 2018 he would have taken an easy WDC. It was only the unending array of blunders from Vettel that kept him from the title.

          1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
            31st May 2019, 22:08

            Take into account that the Ferrari environment is vastly different.

          2. @panagiotism-papatheodorou Oh knock it off with that apologetic nonsense. It’s only different because (when) they fail and indeed Vettel fails a lot.

            Ferrari as a team is performing no worse than Mercedes is. Mercedes messed up the strategy too. They just were lucky to get away with it.

      2. There are windows for decisions, in order to be decisive they need to make them in 1 or maximum 2 laps.

        Good point, @jureo. Ferrari needs to scrub the tar off their Mission Windows.

    2. At this point in time I start feeling sorry for the drivers. Leclerc seems to be going the same direction as Vettel went last year (desperation). I feel like the drivers don’t trust the team anymore, Alonso made that quite clear by angrily storming out the team. Seb cares a lot about Ferrari and probably won’t say it to their faces but you can see on-track and through team radio (as he tries to guide the strategies) he doesn’t trust Ferrari. Leclerc is showing his distrust through frustration (understandably so). Kimi just couldn’t be bothered by Ferrari and seems to be having a much better time at Alfa Romeo.

      Ferrari’s envoronment is just so toxic and has worsened since Marchionne passed on. As much as I’m a fan of theirs, they don’t seem too far back in terms of car performance but they haven’t seemed to maximize anything either. The entire team needs a refresh, which could take months. So Leclerc mustn’t expect the situation to improve instantly because he will end up more disappointed.

      1. I think it’s also a case of feeling pressure. The Italian pressure (and F1 fans pressure) is enormous.

        I feel this influences their testing. They always try to please the Tifosi.

        As for Merc, theses guys are fenomenal in their engineering.
        I do feel though that their strategy will crack under pressure. Also Hamilton will. They show hairline cracks if you pay attention. Currently through they can make a 1-2 with two fingers in the nose, on an offday with the engine at 90% power. Yeah no pressure.

        Formula one would be great if Ferrari and Redbull had an car in competition and Ricciardo would have stayed. A 5-way for the championship (Bottas is nr.2 material) would be greatness!

    3. But you’re a couch expert, so there’s that.
      ;)

  4. Eduardo Stark
    31st May 2019, 11:54

    Oh my sweet summer child, you must be new here.

  5. This being Ferrari. They will find even newer ways to lose.

  6. In order to improve chances of winning races F1 drivers have to point out weaknesses in the car that need to be improved, this is accepted practice for all teams except Ferrari who regard criticism of their car as treachery and unacceptable: both Alonso and Prost have been pushed out of the team for being too honest in this regard.
    Hamilton only mentions driving for Ferrari in the context of his periodic contract negotiations, it is a negotiating ploy only, as only an idiot would leave the sane, well balanced, team that is Mercedes for the funny farm that is Ferrari.

  7. I’m more worried that Ferrari will now overcompensate – they’re probably going to end up burning additional sets of tyres in quali, leaving no fresh tyres for use on a circuit that can benefit from it.

    1. Charles: Why am I on a set of hards for Q3?
      Pits: No Kimi you won’t have the bottle
      Charles: No no no, are the tyres on?
      Pits: Sorry we forgot we have two cars and who drive them

  8. Alonso made that quite clear by angrily storming out the team.

    Rofl. Alonso was sacked out of hand by Ferrari for gross misconduct. He was sabotaging the team because he didn’t care about anything except ensuring he had a performance advantage over his teammate. He would rather have had an uncompetitive car that let him easily beat his teammate than a competitive car that didn’t.

    Arguably all Ferrari’s problems to this day stem from Alonso’s time there, due to a failure to sufficiently purge his poisonous crew after he was sacked.

    1. Evidence or another BS.

    2. That is a nice made up story you’ve came up with. Its completely utterly ridiculous and you should be embarrassed to even come out with rubbish like that.

    3. Blaming Alonso for Ferrari incompetence? That’s a bold strategy let’s see how it works out…..

  9. It has been a frustrating start to life at Ferrari for the rookie driver, who was in course to win in Bahrain before experiencing a problem with his power unit.

    @keithcollantine Leclerc isn’t a rookie

  10. Sadly it seems that Ferrari just don’t learn.

    It’s a team effort. Having the best driver or the best car no longer guarantees a win.

    Leclerc and Vettel are good enough, the car is good enough, but the team just doesn’t cut it.

    Because of that, both are having to drove beyond the limits of the car to try and get a win and sadly that ends up reflecting mostly on the driver rather than the team.

    I’d lay money (well 10 bucks AUD) that if the Mercedes team had the same car and drivers, they’d have a win or two this year and would have been closer in previous years.

    Hats off to Merc and to Red Bull – they have a well oiled machine that hopefully at some point Ferrari will actually become. Not holding my breath though.

    1. @dbradock

      Leclerc and Vettel are good enough, the car is good enough, but the team just doesn’t cut it.

      I’d say you’re 2 for 3 there. The car is not good enough. Outside of Bahrain—which I don’t think anyone has a good explanation for their dominance there—the Ferrari is second best, and in some cases third.

      1. @hobo Vettel is not good enough either. Just look at 2017 and 2018. Especially 2018 where he blundered 7 races away. 7! Most of which he could/should have had an easy win instead of P4 or P5 (or wall hug) which he scored instead.

        We don’t know how good Ferrari was in Baku and in Monaco since Leclerc wasn’t present in Q3. Vettel’s Q3 in Monaco was atrocious. In fact his whole weekend was an utter mess of wall banging and mistakes upon mistakes. In Baku his Q3 was also poor.

        1. @f1osaurus – I agree, in the current situation. If they had the best car and best strategy, like Mercedes, VET and LEC would be fine though. In my opinion.

      2. @hobo I think the car is pretty much there although Melbourne and Monaco in particular probably not.

        Baku, Leclerc was pretty much dominating but overdid it, Monaco, who knows really after the stuff up, Spain, they definitely seemed off the pace but that I think is a symptom of a team making panic setup changes.

        And now, because everyone is in a panic, RBR seems to have caught them.

        Pretty poor considering the potential that was/is in that car.

        1. @dbradock – We will have to agree to disagree then. Because I don’t think the car is there at all.

          1. Think I agree that ferrari’s car isn’t on par either, red bull didn’t really catch them, they are just more suited to different tracks than ferrari is.

  11. F1 2035 season, after 4th of 27 races. “we just discovered YouTube and are watching our races from 2 decades ago to learn from our mistakes. We will update our driver and pit team software accordingly”.

  12. One of the things you discover as a professional driver is that some people don’t actually want your ideas and suggestions. “Improvement” is not a necessity unless someone who has clout actually demands it. Yes, make suggestions, but don’t fret if nothing happens. It won’t be long before you’ll find something else that could be improved by some slight modification, and suggest that, and if they don’t like that idea either then don’t fret.
    My advice to Charles is to let this be. Yes, go out and do well in the practice sessions, but if the team doesn’t want you in Q2, then that’s their choice. Yes, you could have easily been in Q3, but they didn’t want you in Q2 because they didn’t want you to be near the front at the start of the race. Your job is to finish the race, which you didn’t do.
    Stress is caused by uncertainty, so it is important to put things into “Certainty Baskets”. If the car breaks down, then that’s the mechanics fault; if there’s too much aerodynamic drag or not enough downforce then that’s the wind tunnel’s fault; if, despite your best efforts, the tyres don’t last then that’s the FIA’s fault; if the team believes you and Sebastian are faster when he’s in front, then that’s the Team Principal’s problem; if they fail to notice some advantageous situation for 5 or 10 laps then that’s the Strategist’s problem. Yes, let them know you’d like to overtake Sebastian while your tyres are fresh and his are nearly worn out … but don’t fret if it doesn’t happen. As I said, your job is to come home with the maximum points attainable with the tools given to you. You were given a fast car and a poor position to start the race from, so being wise was essential. Unfortunately, instead of being wise you were impetuous … and then made more decisions that weren’t really wise as well … which meant you couldn’t finish the race.

    1. Don’t think he said he’d have done otherwise already on saturday, if ferrari wanted him to be cautious they’d have warned him after his quali interview.

  13. Mercedes also made a mistake with the tyres for Hamilton. They were lucky here to still take the win, but they also could have completely thrown the race away with that mistake.

    1. Well. No. Not at Monaco. You could loose a wheel and still win because how is anyone meant to get past?

      1. Hamilton could have hit a wall, the tyre could have delaminated, that sort of thing…

      2. @falken Are you trying to be funny?

        If not, then look at Leclerc. First of all he was able to overtake slower cars (with a much lower delta even) and second of all, he got some damage and … didn’t finish.

  14. I really don’t accept this “will learn” excuse, the qualifying format hasn’t changed in years, last time I checked it wasn’t Ferrari’s first visit to Monaco, I mean these are petty excuses, they should know the deltas and margins, they have been racing for many moons in F1 so this “we learn from the lessons” stuff is nonsense, fix the people who are in charge.

  15. If you learn from your mistakes Ferrari would be invincible.

  16. But will Leclerc learn to control his emotions?

    He seems so eager to impress everyone [not sure why as most ppl are already impressed], he seems to be overdriving the car at times.

  17. Leclerc is a huge talent but I don’t think it is in Ferrari’s style to destroy a car in a hopeless situation. They will not be happy with Leclerc and this behavour will be punished either way. Vet is now nr1 without any doubt.

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