Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2019

Team radio transcript: Why Ferrari told Leclerc not to pit damaged car

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Ferrari were slapped with a €25,000 fine and Charles Leclerc received a 10-second time penalty after parts of his broken front wing fell off and hit Lewis Hamilton’s car during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Team radio messages from the incident reveal Leclerc did not follow the team’s first instruction to come into the pits. Ferrari then cancelled another order for him to pit on the subsequent lap.

As a result, Leclerc did two laps of Suzuka with parts falling off his SF90. As well as destroying Hamilton’s right-hand wing mirror, more debris from Leclerc’s car ruined Lando Norris’s race when it lodged in the McLaren’s brake duct, causing his brakes to overheat.

Leclerc sustained the damage when he collided with Max Verstappen at turn two on the first lap of the race. He quickly realised he had damage but he did not think it would affect his lap times too much.

“Only the front wing was damaged,” said Leclerc after the race. “Visually, the left parts of the car seemed a bit damaged. From the driver point of view I was losing a little bit more the front but overall I don’t think it was costing too much, mostly because it was giving understeer.”

However teams also understand they must bring a car in if loose parts present a potential risk to other drivers. Ferrari did call Leclerc in, but did not tell him to until he was almost at the pit lane entrance, and did not say whether it was for reasons of performance or safety. Instead of complying, Leclerc queried the order:

LapExchangeMessage (notes in italics)
1To Hamilton:We think Leclerc has front wing damage.
1Leclerc:I’ve got damage.
1To Leclerc:Copy, we are checking it.
1To Hamilton:So Leclerc’s damage is to the left-hand side of his car. He may jettison some components.
1To Leclerc:Turning into apex of turn 15.
Box now, box.
1Leclerc:Passing pit lane exit.
Why?
2Leclerc:Start/finish straight.
Why, it was too late.
2To Leclerc:Copy, understood.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2019
Leclerc’s damaged front wing hit Hamilton and Norris
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed Leclerc chose not to pit because he didn’t think the front wing damage was costing him too much time.

“Charles is the one that is driving and can feel the car, how it behaves,” said Binotto. “From outside we saw that the wing was broken so it would have to [be] changed at some stage. But at that stage he felt he’d got still the right pace [and] stayed out.”

Leclerc therefore began lap two with his car still damaged. Hamilton, behind him, had already complained about the danger this presented, and as he approached 130R on lap two he was showered by parts as Leclerc’s front-left end plate disintegrated.

At the same time Leclerc was preparing to tackle the high-speed 130R left-hander with only one hand on the steering wheel, as he used the other to hold his damaged left-hand wing mirror in place. Remarkably, at the same time he was also querying whether the team still wanted him to pit.

Once again Ferrari came back with a late instruction, and this time it was to stay out again:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

LapExchangeMessage (notes in italics)
2Hamilton:Parts fall off Leclerc’s car on the start/finish straight.
It’s dangerous, parts are flying out.
2To Hamilton:Exit of turn two.
Copy Lewis, don’t take any risks.
2Leclerc:Approaching Degner one.
Why don’t we continue a little bit more?
2Hamilton:Exiting Degner Two.
It could fall off at any point.
2To Hamilton:Copy, Lewis.
2To Leclerc:Approaching turn 10.
We need to box this lap, box.
2Leclerc:Exit of hairpin.
Copy box but just to let you know the car doesn’t feel that bad. I know it probably looks bad but the car is quite OK.
2Hamilton:Check engine, I’m getting drop-outs.
2Leclerc:Straight between Spoon and 130R. Parts fall off Leclerc’s car, hitting Hamilton’s car.
Do you confirm for me to box?
2To Leclerc:Leclerc approaches 130R and drives through it with his right-hand off the steering wheel as he holds his left-hand mirror in place.
We need to box now, box, confirm.
2Hamilton:Exit of 130R.
Damn, shit came off. Lost a wing, a wing mirror.
2To Leclerc:Braking zone for chicane.
Stay out, stay out, stay out.
3To Leclerc:Start/finish straight.
Stay out.

This appears to be the point at which the FIA intervened.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2019
Hamilton repeatedly complained Leclerc was shedding parts
“The FIA asked us for safety reasons simply to come in and we immediately accepted the decision,” said Binotto. “But anyway the stewards realised that maybe we should have come earlier and we have been penalised for that as well.”

FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed he was told Ferrari would pit Leclerc. When this didn’t happen, and personally ordered Ferrari to bring the damaged car in.

“I was originally advised that they would be pitting the car,” he said. “They then chose not to. And then subsequently they were instructed, Ferrari were instructed, to pit Charles’s car.”

This happened even though the most damaged part of Leclerc’s wing had fallen off. “Obviously we couldn’t confirm if there was was going to be anything else that was going to come off which they subsequently did,” Masi added.

He admitted he was “more than slightly annoyed from a safety perspective” that Ferrari hadn’t brought Leclerc in more quickly.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

LapExchangeMessage (notes in italics)
3To Leclerc:And SOC 6 when you can, SOC 6.
3Hamilton:How he’s not been given a warning flag I don’t know.
3To Hamilton:Copy Lewis, it’s been said to race control.
3To Hamilton:So DRS has been enabled.
3To Leclerc:Straight between Spoon and 130R. Leclerc lets go of his mirror before reaching 130R this time.
And box now, box, we need to box this lap.
4Leclerc:Leclerc pits.
I… It was quite OK.
4To Leclerc:We needed to change it so change the nose.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

73 comments on “Team radio transcript: Why Ferrari told Leclerc not to pit damaged car”

  1. Glad Ferrari were penalized – they deserved it.

    It’s ridiculous to be driving around with debris falling off no matter how the car feels to drive.

    1. Bits of car falling off at 200 mph and they don’t see how that’s dangerous? Never mind the driver behind, What if that had hit a spectator? Imagine razor sharp bits of carbon fibre.

      What if bits of that wing had found its way to the rear wheel for be flung behind. Under what circumstance would they have seen to clear the track of this debre?

      The real question is why did it take the FIA so long to call Lecrec in. What were *they* thinking?

  2. With so many games going on about pitting or not, stewards/race director should have said “pit the car” even if they believed it was in Ferrari intention. Just to make it clear. Same message is different depending where it comes from.

    1. He’s lucky it wasnt a black flag / DQ.
      It should be mandatory to at least pit for inspection if something comes loose or falls off. That’s no joke at those speeds, people can get seriously hurt.

      1. Agreed.

        This really is a bigger deal than was conveyed in the race. Imagine the force of impact it took rip off Hamilton’s mirror. Imagine if that had impacted Hamilton’s helmet. At those speeds he would have been concussed and then possibly driven the car into wherever…

        How Leclerc wasn’t disqualified for driving on when he was ordered in, is beyond me, but then it is Ferrari .. Normal rules and conduct doesn’t apply to them. ;(

  3. I think Ferrari is in fault here, they failed to inform him that the situation is unsafe and that he needs to pit. It is one thing to have a “safe” damage wing and go on because the pace is good, and we’ve seen this happen before and it’s completely another to have parts hanging from your wing, ready to detach at any moment and hit the following car.

    1. As the transcript shows, Charles Leclerc did not pit even when Ferrari called him in. He just kept going, ignoring the call to “Box now, box.”

      1. Because they didn’t tell him it was potentially unsafe. He probably assumed that the part had already fallen off and therefore there was no danger, and as he felt the car was still pretty good, he could continue.

      2. It is not illegal to ignore the team’s orders. Not even ferrari’s. Charles was well within his rights to ignore and question the radio orders. Especially considering what kind of radio debacles they have had in the past. Charles also had no idea how or what kind of damage his car had. And if the car drove well there is no reason for him to think something serious was wrong with it. If you look at the transcripts he was never told anything about the damage either. He can’t see the front wing.

  4. This is quite ridiculous. Ferrari dithering, Race Control dithering, Leclerc “. . . used the other to hold his damaged left-hand wing mirror in place”. Stupid and dangerous!

  5. Should have been a flag out straight away – it was a case of safety and letting the team or driver decide was not a good call.

    FIA should have a penalty for allowing Ferrari the choice….

  6. 1 To Leclerc: Turning into apex of turn 15. – “Box now, box.”
    1 Leclerc: Passing pit lane exit. – “Why?”

    All anyone needs to know about the team dynamic.

    1. The turn references might be mistaken.
      T15 is 130R. You don’t really Yun into the apex of say, but take a flowing line at full speed. It might therefore be T16, just before put entry.
      And Leclerc’s response was probably after passing pit entry,, as the response from the team came on the start/finish straight.

    2. Asking why is perfectly reasonable question. Drivers don’t have tvs or ipads in the cockpit which they can use to watch themselves race in tv. He did not know about the part that was about fall off and ferrari did not tell him anything useful either. From charles’ perspective the car may have had damage from the earlier contact but the car drive fine. Charles saw no damage either because the drivers can’t see the front wing from the cockpit. From the tv cameras it is obvious but it is not obvious to the driver because he can not see what we see.

      1. If that’s the way you wanna play, fine. Penalize leclerc for driving in an unsafe manner, since his car was unsafe.

        No, drivers don’t have iPads In the cockpits, what they do have is better… a dedicated pit wall team watching over them at all times, with tons of external information and real time communication, LISTEN TO YOUR PIT WALL! No excuses, leclerc showed his inexperience at Suzuka!

        1. That magical pitwall did not tell him. He was asking why should he pit. He asked why because he did not know because ferrari did not tell him. Look at the transcripts and show me the message where ferrari tells leclerc his car is in dangerous condition. Ferrari never told him. There was nothing to listen to.

          1. They don´t have to, if they say a pilot to pit he most do it.

          2. JGTorres, that’s how alonso lost the title in ferrari, they don’t have to do it, they have to question wrong calls!

  7. Binotto must step down with immediate effect this level of incompetancy is beyond reason from both team and driver.

    1. you’re overreacting…

      1. And the full Board of Exor should resign :P

      2. As a team principal it his responsibility to make sure drivers are under team’s control and obey whats ordered off by the team. This disobeying of order comes a week after whole Russia saga ending with drivers visiting factory.

      3. Have you seen his other comments? @nickthegreek

    2. I’d say most of the blame falls on the stewards for not giving him the black and orange flag

      1. The stewards are pretty much useless nowadays. Imagine any other sport taking so long to implement the rules! “we’ll see if it’s a penalty kick later, just keep going for now.”

        1. Its makes you wonder what else the stewards are allow to let slid, in the name of entertainment. Oil anyon?

      2. I really am not sure why is Masi and stewards acting in this manner. Doesnt he even care of safety of drivers?

        1. The stewards’ decision tree:
          Is the car a Ferrari?
          Yes; No investigation and we will defer to the team if they think the car should pit.
          No; Full investigation and race control will flag the car to come into the pits.

  8. Ferrari should of had points taken off them and given to Lando. They ruined his race just because leclerc thought he knew better & the bosses are too scared to stand up to one of their drivers if he’s winning them points.

    1. He almost ruined Ham s race too but he is still saying that he is ok.
      What a sassy boy.
      Ham is not ok luckily he did not have to pit and Lando also…

  9. Leclerc was told to pit by his team, knowing his car was severely damaged, and simply ignored that instruction. A 3-race ban would have been an adequate penalty. Maybe next time he’s told to get off the track for safety reasons, he’d listen. A 10-sec penalty is not a deterrent. At some point Masi is going to realize that this way of stewarding is disastrous – the hard way. For someone else, on track, not him, obviously. Also I think it’s time we called out the lenient treatment of Leclerc by stewards and the fact the FIA president’s son is his manager. Or are we supposed to pretend it’s not connected?

    1. Where did Ferrari tell him the damage was unsafe? He can’t see his front wing. Come off it dude. How much do you dislike this guy?

      1. @hugh11 Don’t worry about it. Every time there’s a new superstar level driver, there is a bunch of haters early on. Max used to get the exact same treatment a couple years ago. It’s just a bunch of salty fanboys that are annoyed that their favourite driver has a new challenger. Most of them will either grow to like him or just not bother anymore after a while.

        1. @retardedf1sh that was gonna be the gist of my reply if he ever replied to me haha. So true…

          1. So pleased you’ve found each other, you’re a good match!

        2. @retardedf1sh Mr-aptly-named, actually I’m a fan of Hamiton, Verstappen and Leclerc. However he’s going through that early ‘entitled’ phase where hasn’t really learned why rules exist and why he isn’t an exception. I can understand his exuberance at wanting to race, but he was a major hazard, and missed taking out, literally, one of his competitors by a tiny margin.

          1. @david-br Sorry, I wasn’t talking about you specifically, just all of these toxic people in general.

            Besides, Leclerc cannot see his front wing so he could not have known it was dangerous. He was told to stop very late by his team and he wasn’t informed that the stewards had requested it or that it was potentially dangerous so he asumed it was only to repair the damages which he thought was not necessary considering his pace. It’s the team job to keep the driver informed about this. Of course it could’ve all been avoided if the stewards had done their job and given him the black and orange flag.

            Also just a side note; does Kvyat also get this special treatment because he has the same manager?

          2. @retardedf1sh OK, I just don’t like the dissing of other people as ‘mere fans’ as though the poster isn’t – of F1 in general or of some drivers or teams in particular. I tried to answer the point below to @socksolid if you want to read it. As for the Todt manager thing, I don’t know. It just seems to me a very strong pattern of leniency with Leclerc and it’s not going in a good direction. As you pointed out (and I defended him on most occasions) Max got the opposite treatment from fans and FIA. As he himself has ironically pointed out.

      2. @hugh11 What bit of ‘that’s why he has to listen to his team when he knows he has damage’ don’t you understand? Try linking up brain before commenting.

      3. @hugh11 there’s no reason to get defensive.

        Ferrari communicated poorly, but they shouldn’t have to explain themselves. If Ferrari tells you to pit… PIT! There’s a reason they pay all those guys on the pit wall to be in contact with spotters, and be in communication with the driver.

        If I was Ferrari, leclerc would be sitting out a race or two until he learned that he works for the team, not the other way around!

        I like leclerc, and I actually like watching Ferrari fail… but this is a primo lesson in why you don’t hire children to race at SF… and when they behave like this… time to slap a peepee.

        Not a single word David BR said was wrong, and it you that is over reacting, and defending a drivers actions for no other reason than to argue.

  10. Charles Leclerc is a great driver, a great talent, but someone has to reel him in a little bit. The way he is going about things at the moment, I can see him causing a very serious accident. Hamilton and Norris were lucky that only their cars were damaged, and that none of the debris from Leclerc’s car hit them.
    The decision to punish Ferrari and Leclerc was justified, but I am not convinced that Leclerc will alter his approach, and that is the concern. These rules are in place for a reason, if you disrespect the rules you disrespect the sport and its fans. My criticism is also of Ferrari as a whole on this one, if it had been a Mercedes shedding carbon fibre at 195mph into 130R there would have been major ramifications and we all know it. We must remember that Justin Wilson was killed by debris much smaller than a endplate, and the HALO is only really good at stopping tyres and large items.

  11. What a weird comment section. You have a solid proof in the transcripts that keith has provided that charles had no idea there were parts falling off his car (show me the message where ferrari tells him anything about the damage) and yet some people here are claiming charles knowingly drove it like that and knowingly put other peoples’ life at risk. All charles knew is that he had car contact earlier but his car drove fine. How does that make him at fault? Ignoring ferrari’s orders is not illegal either. Explain to me how he knowigly put lives at risk when you can see that he was never told about it in radio. And he physically can not see his front wing (nor the damage) unless he can turn into giraffe.

    1. It’s almost like people don’t actually read what is written before posting. Intriguing.

      1. Leclerc knew he had damage. He said so after the Verstappen contact at the start of the race. These guys know the rules. So your wrong, he knew!

    2. Given that must be indirectly about my comment too, I’ll reply. You’re missing how the situation panned out: FIA contacted Ferrari to tell them to pit Leclerc, and they told FIA they had already told him. That’s not in the transcripts. As a consequence, direct action (e.g. a black and orange flag) wasn’t taken to stop Leclerc, on the basis that he would follow the team’s instruction. Personally I’m not convinced he didn’t know how much damage he had on the wing – he’d see the sparks flying off and feel the drag, surely. It reminded me of various instances where drivers have had wing damage and it hasn’t made much difference (Raikkonen was one example I think, can’t recall the race). So my guess is that Leclerc was hoping the damage would ‘clear up’ – with the loose bit detaching at some point maybe. But whatever he thought, it was clear from TV feeds that the wing was ready to fly off, Ferrari knew that, and yes they should have been clearer and firmer. But they placed responsibility on the driver to come in, so, in my view, the penalty should be applied to him – fairly or not – and in proportion to the severity of the situation created. I was really angry seeing how close that wing was to smashing into Hamilton’s head. Remember Massa? Bianchi? To my mind all three were irresponsible – Leclerc, Ferrari, and the FIA stewards.
      This isn’t some personal animus with Leclerc, I like him from what I’ve seen in terms of personality and as a driver. But I don’t like where this FIA leniency is going.

      1. It is unlikely he even saw the sparks either. While it looks obvious from the tv cameras the drivers have much narrower field of view. Not to mention the sparks were on the side of the car which had the mirror that was about to fall off. In fact that mirror was the only reason why anybody could say charles should have pitted but there have been cases where the mirrors are about to fall off and nobody was required to pit.

        So my guess is that Leclerc was hoping the damage would ‘clear up’

        He had no knowledge that anything was going to “clear up”. He knew nothing about the nature of damage. Try to see it from charles’ perspective.

        But they placed responsibility on the driver to come in

        Of course the driver is going to stay out if he thinks the car is fine. From charles’ perspective it was fine. Ferrari did not tell him there was a danger of any kind and charles does not have tv inside his cockpit so he can see his car from the tv camera perspective.

        The point is charles was not given any useful information, he could not see the damage and yet you expect him to pit because from tv cameras it is obvious. There is just no logic in it. The fault was with fia not ordering ferrari to pit him and with ferrari not telling him to because fia wants him to pit. Instead ferrari told fia they might pit and fia only reacted once the damage was done.

        1. only conclusion is you are similar to what holigans are in football… you are blatantly claiming things from some orifis, and ignoring a lot of facts about the conflict of interest that high level FIA personal has with Lec and Ferrari. You cant dis it or brush it under rugs like it aint nothing… The pattern to not penalize Ferrari and bs reasons and clarification created despite the clear rules, is very overwhelming! You are only in denial because read first sentence again… you cant reason with hooligans so not gonna waste time with you and advice others to follow case, because there are enough of your kind…

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      14th October 2019, 15:58

      I do think he should be disqualified, just to show the gravity of the whole situation. I agree that for a driver the only thing that matters is if he loses time and Leclerc has no idea how his front wing was, but it’s the responsibilty of Ferrari to act right away with a potential dangerous situation and as soon as Leclerc went past the pit the first time, the meatball should have been shown. Stewards should send the message that if they tell you to come in, you come in right away. If not, there will be serious consequences. The time penalty and money is absurd, it’s nothing for Ferrari.

    4. He was holding onto his mirror and you think he did not know parts of his car were falling off? Seriously??

      Leclarc has been let off too many times by the stewards. This is essentially the phase where the crowds are excited to see a new and great driver like Leclerc and the stewards in general give him the benefit of doubt. The honeymoon phase will end soon and you will see either a raft of penalties for him or one of the other driver will teach him a lesson.

      1. For Leclerc read Ferrari

      2. Vishy. Leclerc is not a mind reader. He saw his wing was wobbly but that is all he knew. The mirror wasn’t even an issue and he had no knowledge of other parts. Ferrari did not tell him. He could not have known.

  12. Stewards on this race were disgraceful.
    He did all this stuff and they only got him a penalty later because of “new evidence”.

    I was at home watching and didn’t new any new evidence to see how absurd and dangerous it was.

  13. If there is one team that understands items falling from cars and the possible consequences. Then that team has to be Ferrari, remember Massa’s incident in Hungary. Also the Stewards should have instructed Ferrari to bring him in. A failure by both organisations. The fine for Ferrari should have been a thousand times higher, so that they, and all other teams, not to be stupid about safety. And sacking or retraining for the Stewards, ultimately the control and safety of races is in their hands.

    Too many questions about this race above and beyond the above, one, the non-jump start jump start, two, the racing incident changed to investigation.

  14. I’d blame the stewards more in this incident. It’s common to not show the black and orange flag immediately when a car is damaged and become safety hazard under the assumption / good faith that the team will inform the driver and bring him in. However, if – for whatever reason – the car is not immediately enter the pit on first chance it got and still a safety hazard, the black and orange flag should be shown, without any exception. And probably add a penalty too. It doesn’t matter if the team still discussing with the driver or the driver didn’t knew the extent of the damage, the stewards job is to make sure the race is safe and proceeding according to the rules.

    1. This, completely.
      The stewarding of races has started to swing too far towards trusting teams, who have a vested interested, to do the right thing. If that were the case, then stewards wouldn’t be needed. Regardless of trust / good faith, immediate action in the form of the black and orange flag should have been taken. There are only downsides to not doing so and when those downsides are a clear risk to the safety of others, there is no justifying or excusing not doing so.

      With regards Ferrari asking him to pit but him querying it, this was clearly Ferrari trying to game the system… they were telling him to pit with no good information too late in the lap. They knew if he had to pit then his race and points finish were pretty much ruined. This race being the first opportunity for MB to clinch the Constructors championship and leave Ferrari out in the cold for another year, they were hoping the debris would clear itself at some point and allow him to continue for a few more laps to reach a normal pit window.

      The punishments for the team were not consequential enough to ensure they put safety ahead of points / championships in the future and this is why people get so annoyed with such behaviour.

      I’d be inclined to give LeClerc the benefit of the doubt on the debris piece though given they cant see the damage and rely on the team to tell them this and from the information provided, it doesnt appear the team did so, most likely for the reasons above. He does seem to be going through the same kind of pattern as Max was a year or so ago, so it did seem somewhat ironic it was Max complaining about his driving from the start.

  15. The stewards from this race shouldn’t be called again so soon.
    Back in Japan, five years after Bianchi’s accident and they are negligent again.
    What did they expect? The broken wing to fix itself?
    It could have got under his car at some high speed sector and it could have been really dangerous. Not to say about debris that other cars hit that could have got someone hurt.

    Obvious decision for them to make the call after 90 seconds. Leclerc couldn’t see the extent of the damage, so they should’t go for his word that “the car feels ok”. That means nothing into the situation.

  16. I’m relieved that most of the readers know how seriously bad this was. I just couldn’t help but imagine what if a sharp carbon fiber bit went through the halo and struck Hamilton’s visor… It was powerful enough to break off parts of his car.
    Really poor, abysmal, and beyond amateur showing from Ferrari.
    Also pretty incompetent for a F1 driver not to feel a major dynamic difference when the front wing is loose and scrapping the track

    1. Of course the stewards should have waved the black and orange warning flag at the start and a harsher penalty too

    2. Darren Pritchard
      14th October 2019, 21:47

      Inconsistentcy all season,
      F1 needs to utilise the same stewards at every race . This would ultimately lead to more consistent stewarding. Also the stewards need to be answerable to the FIA ( POSSIBLY A CHIEF STEWARD, ROSS BRAWN ?). There are a number of ex drivers at every race, surely one of them could be full time steward.
      I put myself forward if need be , full time steward..

  17. First off, Ferrari should have been penalized *immediately* for not bringing in Leclerc straight away. That much is certain.

    But what I thought was interesting – why pit Leclerc AFTER the piece fell off?? At that point:
    1) pitting isn’t going to excuse the non-activity, because the damage has already been done,
    2) therefore they’ve already doomed themselves to any FIA rulings, and
    3) the car wasn’t driving THAT bad, he was still staying in front of Hamilton

    At that point, why pit at all? You have to assume you’re going to get a penalty anyway, but the car is going fine. Why put Leclerc back in the pack and force him to overtake midfielders? I actually think the prudent strategy decision for Ferrari would have been to accept any penalty coming to them but not compromise the race strategy any further?

    Idk, maybe Ferrari were seeing more damage than was evident through lap times, or maybe the FIA said they’d completely DSQ the car if they didn’t pit, but it just seemed very weird to me. Either force Leclerc to pit immediately, or carry on with the accepted penalty and minor damage.

    1. The stewards woke up only after the wing bit had fallen off. Plus you could say the car was still in dangerous condition as parts had fallen off earlier. While no more parts weren’t falling off it was still possible it had more damage and cracks developing which could have caused more damage later on. So fia called them in to check the damage which then meant that ferrari simply replaced the wing. Apparently fia thought the shaky mirror was fine as well even though it came off later.

      As for fia asking them to pit even after the part had fallen off I think it was important to do so for an other reason as well. In a situation like this when the car is still fast the team and the driver want to stay out because pitting will severely hurt their strategy. This can lead to situations like sunday where the team leaves the car out hoping the bit will fall off on its own and they don’t need to pit after all. It was a close call with hamilton and it could have ended much worse if the part had flewn to the grandstands and had injured a spectator or track marshall. Ferrari also put leclerc in danger and hamilton as well. They did not tell leclerc that he must be pit because the car is dangerous. Leclerc unknowingly was also driving a dangerous car.

      For fia it is important that the car was ordered to pit even after the part had fallen off to remove any incentive for any team in future to hope to continue racing and hope that the part falls off on its own. Ferrari was gambling on it and by forcing them to pit will hopefully removes the incentive to stay out for teams in similar future incidents. Hopefully this was a wake up call for fia as well. What ferrari did was dangerous as they put the lives of leclerc, hamilton and the marshalls and spectators at risk. And similarly fia totally dropped the ball and created a dangerous situation by allowing ferrari to continue.

  18. This was a horrific moment in the race. I saw it in/on a slow replay too and I don’t want to see something like that ever again! All these inadequate stewards must be sacked for allowing Leclerc endanger everyone for 2 laps! FIA must react otherwise their words about caring for safety are under cat’s tail. Ferrari given just a 25.000 euros fine? Are you serious? Is that the cost of Hamilton’s life?

  19. The debris was enough to rip HAMs mirror off, he was so close to getting that straight in the visor.

    Ferrari and Charles must take some responsibility but the stewards should be ashamed. I didn’t give him the flag because I thought he was going to come in?!

  20. Just think, Hamilton could have claimed yet another mirror for him to gaze at himself (and his corn rows). Flame suit on

    1. Surprised you’ve shown your mug around here after yet another race-losing mistake by Vettel… and this one was before the race even starte! Fantastic work Seb.

  21. Who were the stewards for this race?

    1. Gerd Ennser;
      Dennis Dean;
      Yasuhiro Yodono;
      Tom Kristensen (driver).
      FIA must ban them all!

    2. Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La La and Po.

  22. Thanks @bulgarian. The first three names don’t mean much to me, but I’m disappointed in someone with Kristensen’s experience.

  23. Gunther Steiner’s ire was directed against one steward at Sochi, but I guess what he said applies to all the stewards at Suzuka. Were they sipping cold beer and relaxing on lounge chairs when parts were flying off Leclerc’s car? And why didn’t they penalize Leclerc’s shenanigans at the start of the race then and there? They were clearly being partial to Ferrari here. In fact the FIA and organizers totally made us question their integrity and efficiency this weekend, with the race even stopping earlier than it should.

    1. It is a modern trend that front runners rarely get penalties because the stewards don’t want to affect the race result. But once leclerc had dropped off from the fight for the win the stewards probably felt safe in thinking that leclerc was out of contention for the win so the penalty could happen.

  24. Firstly The stewards need to take this out of the teams hands as the competitors in them will obviously push the boundaries to avoid a pit stop. Over all it was clearly an incident caused by leclerc losing the front end, not a deliberate crash but he lost control so a penalty is correct. I love Leclerc especially since Silverstone with his newly sharpened elbows but the guy needs to trust the team when they give instructions. Totally understand why he doesn’t though as Ferrari has made a mess of dean orders this season!!

  25. Curious how many laps Charles intended to drive while having to hold his mirror in place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.