Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Paul Ricard, 2021

Leclerc says Ferrari must address “very bad” degradation after slump to 16th

2021 French Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc admitted he was at a loss to understand the tyre degradation which led him to finish 16th in the French Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver took the chequered flag ahead of just three other cars after pitting twice at Paul Ricard. He said the team “really need to understand” what went wrong.

His team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr also failed score, finishing the race in 11th place. Both drivers started on the medium compound then switched to hards, and Leclerc made an extra stop for another set of mediums.

“It was very bad for both of us, for Carlos and I, we struggled massively on both compounds,” said Leclerc.

“At the end, we tried, with me, a medium to see whether there was something that we could have done better. But it was the same as the first stint, I did three or four laps quite okay, and then we degraded like crazy.

“So for now, I’m struggling to find words and I’m struggling to find an explanation. We just really need to understand it and to work on that, because it’s a big weakness.”

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli will bring the same three compounds to next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Leclerc said Ferrari will see if they can identify the case of their problems before the next round.

“If we find something, I expect some things to change,” he said. “But we need to find what is going on first. So, let’s work hard as a team and we can find something for the next race.”

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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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15 comments on “Leclerc says Ferrari must address “very bad” degradation after slump to 16th”

  1. I was equally baffled over Ferrari’s weird struggle on the hard, especially Leclerc’s.

    1. How come? This is a problem they have for years, including 2017-2019.

  2. As a tifosi, this was painful to watch. Hope they are able to get to the bottom of this soon.

    1. tifosi is the plural of tifoso, for your info

  3. Sooo … Ferrari were cheating, again, and are now finding themselves once more down the order after the new flexi wing and/or tyre pressure regulations?

    1. it’s not really cheating if there’s a regulation change in the middle. what you are referring to is a policing change to already existing rules

  4. It really seems to depend on the track. First couple of races they were doing a solid job then they were flying in Monaco and Baku. Now one of them was behind Williams..

    1. Yeah, they have strong mechanical grip so excel on street tracks but lack a good aero package for high speed corners. Probably because they run as little wing as possible to compensate for lack of top speed.

  5. Ferrari are wasting talent with Leclerc. He was meant to be their leader for the coming years, their future, but I unless they take something out of the bag next year with new regulations, I see Leclerc coming out of his current contract without titles and leaving the team.

    1. Agree. But the same thing applies to RIC, NOR etc… pretty much every driver that is not racing for Mercedes or RBR. The sport in general is very harsh sometimes.

  6. One of the worst things I’ve seen in a while. Who can explain it?

  7. I guess that they were best able to switch on the softs in the last few races might be due to the same basic characteristics that make them chew their tyres during this race. I guess we’ll see how the Ferraris fare next weekend and the one after with their tyres.

  8. Good that they tested something different with the mediums in the end, since they were out of the points anyway, but really strange this degradation, I think I heard something like it even in the baku long runs in practice.

  9. All teams had this problem as the track was colder and cleaned of the rubber because of the rqain and the F3 race. I think they had nog much downforce in combination of the harder pressure of the tyres more sliding so more degrading of the tyres. I think Alpine had on the mediums a worse problem then Ferrari but on the harder it was the other way around.

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