Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2021

Ferrari’s investigation reveals Leclerc’s crash did cause race-ending failure

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Ferrari have concluded Charles Leclerc’s retirement from the Monaco Grand Prix was caused by the damage he sustained in his crash during qualifying for the race.

Despite extensive repairs to his car before the race, Leclerc was unable to start after suffering a failure in his left driveshaft prior to the start.

A Ferrari spokesperson confirmed to RaceFans there was no visible damage to the part following the crash, which led to the team’s decision not to replace it.

The team believe that when Leclerc hit the barrier with the right-hand side of his car, the force of the impact was transmitted to the left-hand side hub, causing damage which was not visible to them externally.

The failure did not develop until after Leclerc left the pits on his reconnaissance lap prior to the start of the race. According to the spokesperson, the team had not previously experienced a failure of this type with the SF-21.

The team’s concerns originally focused on the car’s gearbox, which they chose not to replace. While the team could use the same gearbox for Leclerc at the next race in Azerbaijan, his failure to start means they can fit a fresh unit without incurring a penalty.

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2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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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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27 comments on “Ferrari’s investigation reveals Leclerc’s crash did cause race-ending failure”

    1. Not at all. Leclerc crashed, his car wouldn’t start the Grand Prix. Straightforward, not ironic.

      Driver error and team incompetence, though.

  1. I certainly hope they learn from this, I hope there is a good reason they didn’t do further post crash / parc ferme testing – whether time, resource effort etc

  2. Is there even any reason to have parc ferme anymore? IIRC, the original rationale was to prevent teams from developing “qualifying specials” to keep costs down. But with the cost cap coming into effect, it’s now legally impossible to spend too much. It doesn’t seem that parc ferme benefits anyone anymore—in this case, certainly not all of us fans who were looking forward to seeing the polesitter take the grid.

    1. Of course there IS a reason!
      Policing and monitoring to prevent cheating.

      You can install any illegal device before Qualifying and then change it in the night, while no one looks.

      When the teams work in the night – they do so with the approval and supervision of FIA delegates, it is not left to the discretion of teams.

      Reply moderated
      1. Do you know this is the first good argumented posting you did in this forum. Congrats, keep up the good work

        1. And the first good comment you’ve made, too.

      2. They could install an illegal device anytime—before qualifying, before practice, before they even arrive at the track. There’s nothing magical about the time between qualifying and the race that makes that different. If the FIA chose, they could still impose a curfew, as they currently do, to stop the teams from working overnight when the FIA isn’t around.

        It don’t have strong feelings one way or another, but I wonder if opening up the rules to allow the teams to optimize their cars for qualifying to a greater extent could potentially add a layer of technical intrigue at a time when technical freedom is being reduced under next year’s regulations.

    2. I seriously doubt that it was any legality reasons they just did not get to inspect this part of the car @markzastrow. More likely they 1. just did not think that part would be hit and 2. possibly felt they were tight on time with the curfew (and unwilling to use one of their waivers) to check more parts of the car since they had their work cut out for them repairing what they knew was needed.

      Still a bit sloppy of the team to not have a look at this.

      1. @bascb Good point on the curfew being the limiting factor. Still, I think that the whole mindset around parc ferme no longer seems necessary. But consider that an unrelated point. :)

        1. To a degree, my post adds to your argument about Parc fermé the way it is being less important @markzastrow since currently both the curfew AND the budget cap go against completely rebuilding the cars in between sessions :-)

          I am not sure I agree that would make it superfluous to just have a clear “no redoing of the car” in between, but it certainly seems like something to reconsider in the coming years with the budgetcap and tech regulations (and those on development) doing some of the work there.

    3. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      26th May 2021, 9:14

      @markzastrow
      You recall incorrectly

  3. Are Ferrari too poor to afford portable ultrasound units or something?

  4. the team had not previously experienced a failure of this type with the SF-21

    Il y a toujours une première fois Messieurs !

    There is a reason why quality control is so crucial because it prevents from failures that were never seen before. Mercedes also faced a wheel nut issue never seen before. This time it’s the left driveshaft, next time the right driveshaft, the upper wishbone, the anti-roll bar (Monza 2012), cylinder fault (Bahrain 2019), spark plug (Japan 2017)… With this kind of mentality Ferrari will never stop innovating with regard to stupid mistakes and will have enough excuses as the number of components that constitutes an F1 car.

    The entire quality control process should be reviewed and the on track reactivity with regard to the operations (pit-stops, strategy…) should be improved. This should be done of course without the need to look for a scapegoat. Ferrari must understand why they are less sharp in the on track operations with Binotto than they were with Arrivabene.

    1. Knowing Ferrari there will be a reshuffling of staff and that’s it.

  5. As unfortunate as this situation has been for him personally, the fact remains that Leclerc was the only driver – including all the rookies – who smashed up his car during qualifying or the race. In his two years at Ferrari he’s already done this quite a few times, which is something he needs to avoid if he and Ferrari want to challenge for the title in 2022.

    That Ferrari didn’t spot the issue is also something that needs to be improved. When you get a car back that’s been thrown into the barriers at that speed, and which starts from pole, a visual inspection is not good enough.

    1. Yes, agree on both counts, it was a really clean monaco gp that way.

    2. He will not make mistakes he is a very self critical and mature guy I am more concerned about Ferrari even if driver is perfect and car is good you still need a flawless team . Look at Red Bull this year max is flawless and car is great . But I still have doubts over Red Bull team compare to merc Monaco was great but I am doubtful if Red Bull team can maintain this level of performance in remaining races whether it is strategy or pit wall let’s see

      1. Lec is undoubtedly a big talent, but makes lots of mistakes. Calling yourself stupid doesn’t solve that.

  6. “Ferrari’s investigation reveals Leclerc’s crash did cause race-ending failure.”
    Noo! Who would have thought?!

    1. They wanted to be sure, I’m glad they confirmed that cause at least leclerc causes his own troubles, would’ve been worse with an unrelated DNS.

  7. This is the type of “miss” that Alonso used to complain a lot in his Ferrari days.

    Simple mistakes that cost a race. Sure, we hit the right side…why bother a full inspection of the left side? Seriously, wouldn’t the stewards agree that the whole rear suspension, plus casing and driveshafts should be replaced?

    Anyway, Leclerc may have been saved from a repeat of Bahrain 2019.

    1. Not obvious really, plus the car in bahrain 2019 would’ve won in monaco!

      1. It’s total obvious imo. I cannot find a simple mechanic friend that hasn’t told me the same. Any vehicle that his in his differential from one side is going to inspection 100% to both sides. Especially a chief mechanic of Toyota Greece who is a friend of mine, still laugh with this level of stupidity.
        In Ferrari case, i will stop moaning if they didn’t had time for change or inspection under parc femme rules but i don’t think this is the case.

        1. Edit: hits no his

  8. Lol @ Ferrari. Every year they do anything in their hands to amuse us.
    Soon they will realize that the earth is spherical.

  9. Señor Sjon
    27th May 2021, 8:50

    It is really odd that with all the previous identical crashes in that same corner in the same way, gearboxes needed to be replaced. Why does Ferrari think the gearbox internals would survive such a thing?

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