Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Leclerc: Verstappen’s power unit comments are ‘a joke… he doesn’t know anything’

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc ridiculed Max Verstappen’s claim Ferrari’s poor performance in the United States Grand Prix was linked to an FIA technical directive on power units.

What they say

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto criticised “disappointing comments” which were made about Ferrari during the race weekend. Charles Leclerc referred directly to Max Verstappen’s press conference remarks.

I think it’s a joke, to be completely honest. I mean, he has no clue. He’s not in the team. So we know exactly what we are doing.I don’t know why he’s speaking. He doesn’t know anything about us.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Are Renault really serious about taking the fight to their manufacturer rivals?

I had (naively it now seems) believed that by hiring Ricciardo they were proclaiming an intention to get serious about competing with the top teams.

I was wrong. Have a go at me for being foolish, I have to accept that I was, but I’m still going to go through life being optimistic and hoping for better things.

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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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  • 66 comments on “Leclerc: Verstappen’s power unit comments are ‘a joke… he doesn’t know anything’”

    1. Mike Evens tweet -100% agree.

      1. Yep, absolutely.

        I’d love to see a behind-the-scenes reality show that follows, say… a factory worker, a logistics lead, a mechanic, a caterer, an assistant to a senior in the team (TP, chief designer, etc.).

        I’m sure each of them have a story to tell, and done right, such a show would actually help sell the complexity-in-depth of F1 to current and potential audiences.

        But as “complexity” is often being seen as a four-letter word (not just by Liberty, but also by a majority of today’s audiences with short attention spans), I don’t expect such a show to come to fruition.

        1. Yep,@johnrkh, and that’s something I would very much like to see @phylyp ; show us the effort behind making the Ferrari PU the strongest, getting the Red Bull:oh wait Honda is good, we needed to have downforce to match,bummer let’s get to work,quickly.

          Would be awesome, maybe after a season ‘the tricks that were tried, from spark of an idea, concept to implementation, result, and how it was neutered/discovered/banned’ (2021: what was behind those filigree barge boards, a case study of the most intricate, with cooperation from Mercedes.

      2. Yeah, couldn’t agree more. The sport is nuanced and that’s once of the reasons we love it.

      3. @johnrkh: Seconded. The engineering competition is what makes F1 special. The piranha club politics helps too.

      4. Sign me up for that series too! Show us how even the most mundane things – think about the truck drivers, the guys rinsing those tyres etc, the training and all the analyses that goes into a pitstop, give us all of it.

        Apart from showing the world how interesting these behind the scenes things are, it also helps highlight how one can excell at an at first sight mundane task.

        1. There are some really good old f1 documentaries on youtube that are interesting to watch. There is the one engine documentary for example where you can actually see the engineers trying to fix electricity issues and they are showing a lot of stuff on screen. Sadly the modern documentaries are much more clean and focus more on emotions, drama and hype. Superficial, clean and pretentious. In movie making it is considered a good to show, not tell. Modern f1 is the total opposite.

      5. Interesting. I’m not interested in the team principals or engineers at all. I don’t really care what Toto or Horner thinks, or Newey for that matter. That was a problem with F1 in the past, guys like Ron Dennis or Flavio thought they were a part of the show. I’d rather have a completely driver-centric championship.

    2. The lack of rivalry among F1 fans reflects the overall lack of competition on track. If the teams were more competitive, the fans would be more competitive. As it stands, everyone is friendly, in the stands…

      1. Well I’ve been attending races for over 50 years; so if that’s true F1 has never been competitive.

      2. Lewis champ champ champ champ champ champ
        4th November 2019, 6:51

        I’ve never once had an urge to punch on Schumacher fans even at the peak of his dominance. Max fans are the kind I’d have a beer with after the race and get stuck on the public transport back from the race. Thankfully F1 doesn’t have a kind of toxic fandom

      3. I don’t really support anyone and I’ve been watching the sport for decades. Though I do currently have a soft spot for McLaren as they try to rebuild.

      4. F1 has a different breed of fans from other sports, we are fans of F1 first and our favourite teams/drivers second.

        1. it’s one of the best things about the sport for me.

      5. Wait, are you suggesting that is a BAD thing there Jon?

        I think it is one of the things making F1 as a sport great.

    3. Max talking out of his butt like always

      1. It’s not just Verstappen saying this.
        And I doubt that Leclerc would even know if Ferrari did something ‘special’ with the fuel flow in the previous races.

        PS Binottos denial (in the other article) is a bit weak as he only claims not having changed anything to the PU; the alledged infraction can easily be switched off through some SW reprogramming.

      2. Or let’s be glad not everyone is PC these days.

    4. Both Binnotto and Leclerc have gotten a bit too defensive since the directive. There is no fire without smoke and if this team is guilty then they would be getting away scott free as usual thanks to Ferrari international assistance.

      1. So, you say FIA knew about it? Dude, get serious, first it was oil burning, then some extra battery…. now it’s a cable! The amateurism is starting to show, how many tries until you, RBR, Mercedes & Co. get it right?!

        1. When was the last time you saw F1 cars accelerating in middle of straight? That is not normal behaviour so last year teams had a valid point to lodge a protest. This year it seems like teams want to exploit a gray area due to which they have asked for clarification. Also why Binotto has flipped in last couple of days from saying if rivals want they can file a protest to now himself pointing figures to Mercedes(even though RBR have started this protest with gaining support from Mercs in last week or so) asking for clarifications regarding suspension. He is behaving like a guilty kid who is trying to hide something and is throwing a tantrum himself.

        2. @mg1982 Well the FIA knew about the oil burning installation which Ferrari had to remove from their car in Baku 2017. They also claimed they changed nothing, but suddenly their advantage was gone and they were only on par with Mercedes.

          Then in 2018 they claimed they didn’t change anything with regards to the MGU middle of 2018. Yet also then they suddenly lost some advantage they had accelerating in the middle of the straight.

          Now again, they changed nothing, but they are again losing their advantage after a clarification

          They keep getting away with these things

        3. Oil burning did happen, @mg1982.
          The different battery layout did happen (but was deemed legal).
          One would almost conclude that RBR/Mercedes/rest were right again this time.

          1. Definitely.
            It would also explain why Ferrari did run a lower downforce setup than Red Bull and Mercedes.
            If you can burn extra fuel undetected in one phase you still need to save fuel somehow to not run out in the end. A low downforce setup does that.

        4. @mg1982

          Funny… every time there is an investigation in to the Ferrari’s power unit legality (be it some funky wiring system or some oil burning) , they seem too drop their performance slightly.

          But you’re right .. nothing fishy there. I guess Ferrari just get really distracted with FIA delegates monitoring them and their car just slows down as a result.

      2. Also, isn’t it funny that Leclerc mentions others speaking about their team only because they don’t know what is going on? Isn’t that exactly the point – that the others can’t figure out how and where Ferrari are getting that performance?

        I’m sure all would be really happy if Ferrari cleared things up in the details!

        1. All very true @bascb,Chaitanya, of course Max, as he likes to do, put it very bluntly and without nuances, but their reactions indicate he hit a nerve.

          Also, maybe it was this, and oil burning, and the battery control, all at different points, and in different combinations @mg1982, it hardly ever is the one thing that makes a car/team the best in F1; also referring to that Mike Evans tweet!

          1. when I read what Max had said at first I thought it was something lost in translation but one of my Dutch friend explained translation is correct. Apparently more appropriate translation of word Max used is “foul play” rather than cheat. I still think the whole formal protest for clarification is so Honda/RBR can exploit what essentially might be a gray area of current regulations unlike last year where Ferrari were certainly doing something against the rules. Both Binotto and Leclerc by going defensive and pointing fingers have handed the keys to rivals to poke them further into making mistakes.

            1. Honda wanted to used the same loophole as they suppected Ferrari was using something in that area but asked for clarification. Max translation would be more foul play then cheaters. Cheat isn’t a Dutch word but is being used by Dutch speakers when then mean Foul play (The English would say Not sporting)

            2. That’s interesting, I am Dutch and I would translate ‘vals spelen’ as ‘cheating’… but I understand there’s more load in ‘cheating’ than in ‘foul play”?

              Loop hole, cheating or foul play…. the rules say you may only inject a certain amount of fuel…. the sensor sends data to the FIA to check if the teams don’t exceed fuel limits. If Ferrari fiddled with the data send to the FIA and injected more fuel than that’s clearly cheating.

      3. The FIA knows what they did and it was not against to rules as they used a loophole which is normal in F1. We ofcourse think it’s NOT in the spirit of the game but was legal. Now with the directive it’s illigal.

    5. i would very much like Ferrari to launch a legal action against Verstappen. He would then have to prove that his comments were based on the truth rather than speculation. To allege that Ferrari are cheating is a very serious allegation especially given Ferrari’s reputation globally. If they were somehow acting illegally then i’m reasonably certain that the FIA would be all over it. They picked up an anomaly with the Renault covering a spike calculated at 1 / 1000000the!!!!! Verstappen is becoming far too big for his boots and needs a slap down…IMO.

      1. Yeah death penalty would be appropriate

      2. Hey look, it’s Xi Jinping! Ni hao.

        1. Patrick (@anunaki)
          4th November 2019, 10:17

          Yeah death penalty would be appropriate

          Profile Photo
          Oxnard (@montalvo)
          4th November 2019, 10:55

          Hey look, it’s Xi Jinping! Ni hao.

          This cracked me up! :)

      3. i would very much like Ferrari to launch a legal action against Verstappen.

        That’s some solid advice there, mate.
        Maybe they should send their private lawyer to Ukraine and stop sending cars there until he digs up some dirt on Max.

      4. however that would mean that Ferrari has to prove it – showing how their engine is not affected at all by the FIA ruling, I seriously doubt they would ever like to be close to any such deliberations.

      5. Maybe Karun Chandhok can do an analysis …

      6. Maybe Verstappen should focus on not running into other cars, and not making baseless accusations about rivals. If he doesn’t grow up, he’ll never win a championship.

        1. Don’t you think other cars are running more often into Verstappen…?
          Vettel crashed into the back of Mac
          Kimi ran over Max frontwheel
          Leclerc crashed into the side of Max
          Bottas steered into his rear wheel, ow and most missed it but Bottas over steered a bit at the last start in the US clipping Max frontwing

          Max, yes, he once clipped his wing starting from the back in Monza… he should really be more careful

    6. COTD; @nullapax, you were not alone with that assumption. Next year ???

      1. Thanks for the COTD guys, and fingers crossed @hohum ;)

      2. Next year they should beat McLaren first, and then think about the big 3.

    7. GtisBetter (@)
      4th November 2019, 5:51

      Max is saying what everybody is thinking, Leclerc. And teasing a bit. No need to get so angry. It is curious how Ferrari has not been as fast, but one GP is not enough to know if they have slowed. We will see if they lack the speed they had in the next one.

    8. Verstappen needs to be very carefull not to become the next Alonso. Regardless if he’s right or wrong, he is burning too many bridges. In the future he might want alternatives when he goes looking for a different seat.

      1. @me4me
        yeah, totally agree.
        He should be way more carefull.
        In his F1-life after Red Bull (if any), the options become more and more limited of he goes on like this.
        Renault is no fan of Max, and he is now attacking Ferrari.
        I wonder how many teams want a driver like him, when he has no feeling for the political side

        1. All the teams?

          1. @rethla Yes, pretty much all of them.
            I think the teams have a fairly high tolerance threshold. Alonso’s real issues seem to have been with the engine manufacturers, Honda and Mercedes, neither seemingly wanting much to do with him. On that basis, Verstappen could have more of a problem with Renault than Ferrari.

    9. Even though he has absolutely no proof what-so-ever, I don’t think it’s hard to make that assumption tbh. You would really expect Ferrari to be fighting in this race as COTA has such a massive straight yet they were nowhere. LEC +/- 30sec behind before fastest lap pit is not something I expected.

      Binotto even challenged everyone before the weekend to do all their investigations to prove they are legit. And all of the sudden they have no pace. So for me it’s not such a weird accusation even though his words could one again be a bit more .. diplomatic. But thats Ziggo for yah.. they crave drama and he gives it to them.

    10. Leclerc wins are a joke if the car was illegal. Let’s see what their pace is in Japan and Abu Dhabi

      1. Yes, indeed, maybe that’s the reason why Charles is so upset. If this is true, then suddenly Charles isn’t the wonderboy his fans desperately want him to be

      2. @anunaki He only won 2 of those 7 races though.

        Brazil is next.

        1. Yeah somehow I typed Japan where i meant Brazil

          1. fun fact: Sao Paulo has the biggest concentration of people of Japanese decent outside Japan (and some great sushi restaurants).

            1. @coldfly aka Japanese diaspora – and I never knew that, I always assumed the Japanese diaspora was largest in the USA – Brazil would never have occurred to me!

      3. I wonder what does it say about Vettel then who has even lesser wins than Leclerc.

    11. ”He doesn’t know anything about us.”
      – Well, everyone knows at least ‘something’ about Ferrari, so more precisely what happens inside, LOL.

    12. Looks like Max hit quite a raw nerve.
      Lec needs a crash course in keeping that cake hole zipped, and Ferrari can afford to pay for it.

      And maybe someone can bring Max and the kid together over a glass of milk.

    13. Vasseur is kidding himself to find positives.
      Since the loss of S Resta in august they have just kept ahead of Williams.
      They need more sponsorship and better engineers. And maybe replace Gio.
      Vasseur should quit news conferencing and rush off pronto sharp to find solutions to these two glaring omissions. Otherwise Alfa is ‘romeo’d’

    14. Dutch are famous because they talk straightforward. If it is bad, it is bad and not a bit disappointing. If it is cheating, it is cheating. Prove me wrong, Ferrari.
      Brilliant move from RB btw. Fia, can we do this? No. Goodbye Ferrari.

    15. The difference between what Hamilton said and what Verstappen blurted out is the differentiator between a thinking driver and a very fast fool.

      Calling someone a cheat is, with no evidence available, slander and he could be sued for what he said. Ferrari won’t bother to do that but Verstappen is off their shopping list – and possibility other teams list too as he is proving a loose cannon on and off the track.

      Hamilton’s phrasing left open the possibility that Ferrari were using a clever fuel flow device that they thought was legal and now know it isn’t and had to take it off.

      All teams ‘push the envelope’ and skate near the edge of illegality – remember the Mercedes wheels last year, the Renault brake bias this year and Racing Point saying they might have considered the same system. But to call that or a fuel flow innovation ‘cheating’ is rather to condemn the all the teams and to condemn innovation which is, for me at least, a key part of F1.

      1. Yes, but a team that hypothetically messed up a sensor isn’t being ‘innovative’ to extract performance with an unexpected new design, it’s just cheating.

        1. But if the fast fool is right and Ferrari did find a trick to cheat, what shall we do with Ferrari? Being harsh on the messenger means being merciless to the offender. Maybe it is better to wait.

      2. it has been reported by a Spanish source who witnessed a ‘contretemp’ between Horner and Binotto that during the heated exchange ‘legal action’ was mentioned by Binotto and that Horner was left looking rather silly!!! This is great news. The offer was there by Binotto for the FIA to check them out. Hardly the response if they were in fact bending the rules. The fact is that Red Bull are wusses and weren’t game to place an outright protest and in the outcome look like complete
        tools. Yes, if any team does cheat then they should be penalised but to allege cheating without any proof is a denial of justice.

    16. Come on, something stinks at Ferrari.
      Don’t blame VER.

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