Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Paul Ricard, 2022

No link between Leclerc’s crash and Austrian GP throttle problem – Ferrari

2022 French Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc’s crash while he was leading the French Grand Prix was not caused by a repeat of the throttle problem he experienced during the previous race, says team principal Mattia Binotto.

The Ferrari driver crashed out at the high-speed Beausset corner on the 18th lap of the race. The driver said “I cannot go off throttle” in a radio message broadcast on the world feed.

This prompted speculation Leclerc had encountered a similar problem to the sticking throttle he had in the closing stages of the previous race in Austria. In the cool-down room after the race, Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache told the Mercedes drivers Leclerc had crashed out due to a throttle problem.

However Leclerc said he crashed out due to a driving error and did not experience a problem with his throttle.

Binotto said the team identified and fixed the fault Leclerc encountered at the previous race. “What happened in Austria was very simple,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“There was a damper which was slightly sticky, not more than that, and we already put in place some actions to avoid it for the future.”

“There was no issue with the throttle itself, nothing to do with Austria,” he added. “What happened is a genuine mistake of Charles, which I think may happen.

“I think that does not take off how good he is as a driver and a fantastic driver. But it was a genuine mistake.”

The radio exchange between Leclerc and race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros occured “when he was in reverse gear, trying to get out of the barrier,” Binotto explained. “He was on the throttle, he didn’t feel sufficient torque from the engine, but there was nothing wrong.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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16 comments on “No link between Leclerc’s crash and Austrian GP throttle problem – Ferrari”

  1. His error could ultimately prove decisive for his championship hopes, like Seb’s unforced error in Hockenheim.

    1. Only difference being Seb was leading the championship in points at that point but yes it’s starting to look like this year’s championship is slowly slipping away from Lecrec and Ferrari due to mechanical, driver and team strategy errors.

    2. Yeah, driver error might be the thing that puts paid to this challenge @jerejj, although I must say that if not for that, it might well be their reliability issues that do it (pretty sure Leclerc is up for another engine penalty before the end of the season), or for that matter, it could just be Ferrari more often than not making strategic mistakes as @fezza mentions.

      Their strategy with Sainz was clearly the wrong one, they should have just hung on to that and hoped for the best. With Russel and Perez fighting like they did, Carlos could well have had a good chance at building up that 5 second gap to the guys behind.

    3. Leclerc is brilliant like Seb was in his prime, and he seems likewise prone to unforced errors.

  2. I don’t know why people are even thinking he said he had a throttle stuck on – he didn’t even say that on the radio. What it sounded like it ‘I cannot get throttle’, which you could see when he was trying to reverse out and didn’t seem to have any power.

    Massive unforced error by Leclerc unfortunately.

    1. @tflb He sounded like saying’ throttle got stuck’ but irrelevant since he messed up himself.

  3. It looked to me he was pushing a bit too hard, the left front tyres were the problem for all drivers. He was very unlucky, although RB’s early stop could have put Max ahead. Leclerc is sometimes too fast in blaming himself, he has improved a lot and is a very complete driver, perhaps a little error-prone when put under pressure. I hope he will recover soon, we need some fighting at the front!

  4. Leclerc is really esquing other ferrari fan favorite not only by his speed but his errors.. Villeneuve

    1. You are not wrong :)

  5. Just watched the public feed moment (after watching the race on f1 TV). Its the usual sky sports trash feed trying to overdramatize things and misinforming people by combining different times of audio and image on replays.

    The throttle messages started after he hit the wall. The “NOOOOOO” was sent when he realized they would have retired the car when the safety car got deployed not when he hit the wall.

    A similar thing happened in Baku when Max passed Perez (Checo’s engineer was helping him stay in front deploying battery on the straight when Max was attacking) then after the 1st corner Perez tried to show his presence on Max’s mirrors he was told “no fighting”. Skysports went ahead and combined the sound clip with a replay of the overtake.

    1. That’d be the FOM broadcast, not specifically Sky.

  6. Hmmm……”the throttle stuck” blurted out on the radio or a Ferrari driver taking the party line and accepting the blame for an amateur mistake. Can’t prove either, just saying that one is unlikely for a world class driver and one has a historical president 🤷‍♂️

    1. My thoughts exactly… I think it’s less embarrassing for the team to have a driver error as opposed to ANOTHER mechanical issue for the team!

  7. **precedent

  8. Apparently the actual wording was ”Can’t get off throttle”. Whether that was referring to a stuck throttle causing the spin or relates to his inability to get his foot off the pedal so he could find reverse only M. Leclerc and Ferrari will know. However, I agree with Lancer033 above, as his line and speed through the corner on the fateful lap had been identical on the previous laps, it seems unlikely that it was driver error, especially as video shows rear wheels spinning with unabated speed as the car slides sideways of the track. On the other hand Ferrari do have an historical track record of making drivers parrot the company line. Just look at the body language of M. Leclerc when talking to the media afterwards. Couple that with the finger-wagging episode of a couple of weeks ago, after which M. Leclerc also changed his tune and Sainz’ obvious displeasure with the “box” call in the last few laps yesterday, and it is clear that all is not well at House Ferrari.

  9. Leclerc really says he’ll learn from this… but I guess his learning curve isn’t that steep. This was unnecessary risk taking, similar to Imola. It took Max around 4 seasons to get unforced errors out of his driving.. but Leclerc is already in his 5th season. This should have been ironed out by now.. He’s already thrown away a couple of race wins on errors (Monaco 2021 and France 2022) and a podium (Imola 2022) purely on driver errors.

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