Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Visor tear-off which spoiled Leclerc’s race was Verstappen’s – Ferrari

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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The visor tear-off which forced Charles Leclerc to make an early pit stop in the Belgian Grand Prix was dropped by his championship rival Max Verstappen, Ferrari believe.

The coincidence occured after Verstappen removed a tear-off on the first lap of the race at the exit of Curve Paul Frere, turn 16. He said he did so because he “couldn’t see anything” due to dust kicked up by other drivers. Leclerc also removed a tear-off at the same point on the opening lap.

Verstappen dropped his tear-off from the right-hand side of the car. Leclerc was following behind him at the time and his front-right brake duct ingested the tear-off, causing overheating which prompted Ferrari to call him in for an early pit stop in order to remove it. That early pit stop compromised his strategy, and Leclerc finished sixth while Verstappen won.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the tear-off came from Verstappen’s car. The overheating it caused also damaged a sensor which meant the team could not measure Leclerc’s speed as accurately as usual, which led him to break the pit lane speed limit later in the race, collecting a penalty.

“The reason we over-sped is because simply it was really borderline,” Binotto explained. “Unluckily we were not using our normal sensors measuring the speed because they had been failed during the overheating of the front-right due to the [tear-off] of Max and our recovery simply strategy maybe was not [so] accurate.” The FIA confirmed Leclerc broke the 80kph pit lane speed limit by just 1kph.

Verstappen and Leclerc followed behind cars which kicked up gravel and dust on the first lap as drivers avoided Lewis Hamilton’s slowing Mercedes following his collision with Fernando Alonso.

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“People were going off in the gravel, coming back on the track and of course they are defending their spots,” Verstappen explained. “I was literally just trying to stay out of it. But you also don’t want to lose too much time.

“Then of course with Lewis driving there, I don’t know, the car was broken, I think he was holding up everything. And then everyone of course tries to benefit from that. So then people were going two wide and I went on the inside, but then of course Lewis pulled off, which is correct to do. But then I had to move to the left.

“It was super-hectic and so much dirt as well. I pulled off my tear-off because I barely could see anything just because of the previous sector, like everyone just going on the grass and the gravel. But we survived without damage.”

Verstappen said he was unaware what delayed Leclerc early in the race until Carlos Sainz Jnr explained to him.

“Carlos told me it was a tear-off,” said Verstappen. “I didn’t know. I hope it’s not mine, but there was a lot of stuff. Honestly, people were all pulling stuff out.

“It’s just super-unlucky, to be honest, that that happens. You’re always scared that it happens, especially when you are in the pack, especially on a track like this, you are taking them off very quickly. That is your worst nightmare that these things happen. But unfortunately they do happen.”

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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33 comments on “Visor tear-off which spoiled Leclerc’s race was Verstappen’s – Ferrari”

  1. I am afraid this might inspire Liberty to introduce the Mario Kart race on Saturdays.

    1. Four-barrels and 4-speed manuals … like “men” …

    2. If they can create a suitable turtle shell launcher I’d allow it.

    3. Ah yes… let’s bring a blue spike shell. LATIFI TO VER PUNT TIME

  2. What a coincidence.

  3. Leclerc is nobody’s championship rival! It’s been over for a long time now…

    1. @fanatikosf1 He has been his own enemy and fighting against ferrari

  4. Remind me why drivers don’t stick the tear off in the cockpit?

    1. They tried adding something like a pocket for that into the cockpit, but it really is just too tight in there to be able to tuck the tear off into @blueruck.

      I think they even tried it in testing and found the actual movement to tear them off and then move them down while driving fast on a straight meant that did not work more often than not.

      1. Add to it that a plastic tear off could fall deeper into the cockpit and it would be reasonable to expect one would end up on the pedals, preventing proper use of brakes, for instance. It would be an odd occurence but I much more likely that a half square feet tear off finding its way on the turbulence into a quarter square inch gap.

      2. To be fair even driving in the highway my accuracy is probably only 2 out of 3 of getting stuff in the bin.

    2. @blueruck They did briefly try to bring this in as a regulation a few years ago but there were practical challenges such as where to put them. They’re not exactly blessed with extra space. As I recall, having a pocket in the drivers’ overalls what’s considered, but the possibility that the tear-offs could melt in a fire and pose a risk to the driver came up.

  5. In all fairness, it does look a bit like Mario dropping a banana out of his cockpit whenever a driver throws away a tear-off during the race. That one of Verstappen got stuck in the Ferrari of Leclerc is unfortunate, but I hardly doubt it was deliberate. With the speeds they are going and the downwash of those cars, it’d be a 1 in a million ‘shot’.

    Having said that, I do think the FIA/FOM should spend some time trying to finding a way to prevent this from happening, as we’re starting to see it more often. Then again, I believe a piece of paper towel did something to a driver in Canada and we’ve had bread-bags in brake ducts as well. Which might happen more often at street tracks, but still.

    1. I honestly don’t see anything wrong with what I typed, so I can only imagine a certain piece of fruit being marked as problematic. I was only refering to Mario Kart and the fruit being dropped on the track there, blocking the entire word seems a bit silly…

  6. They practice this stuff in the wind tunnels and simulators you know!
    Oh yes.

  7. Drivers should a mini compartment to discard the tear-offs inside the cockpit, simple.

    1. They were going to do that a few years ago but found that drivers struggled to get them in it while driving.

  8. Even redbull’s tear offs are well organized.

  9. Why on earth hasn’t F1 go to a “roll off” system?
    I have been using for years ( heck decades) in the dirt.
    Some are manual others it is just a wave of the hand and the roll moves across the shield.
    This was a big push for off road due to the tear off being discarded trash .

    1. F1 has a long habit of ignoring other series and fields while claiming to be innovative all on their own. Imagine the confusion in F1 if someone told them some series race with three times the number of cars, on the same tracks, and don’t need to throw plastic Mario Kart obstacles at other drivers.

  10. Devious strategy from Red Bull! Spoil their race with visor tear offs, Ferrari will never see it coming!

    1. The Red Bull strategists think of every eventuality. Devious but brilliant ;-)

  11. Verstappen, while twirling his moustache..muahaha!

  12. Even in this, RBR strategy is brilliant. It’s just 4D chess. They think 5 steps ahead. First throw the tear off at the right time out of the cockpit exactly in the airduct of Leclerc so that he has to pit and then the foresight that Ferrari will probably make an attempt 2 laps before the end to get the fastest lap and RBR knowing all along that because of a broken sensor due to the tear-off Leclerc would drive too fast in the pitlane causing a penalty which dropped him from 5th to 6th

    This was a joke btw ..

    1. Yes, it’s a real masterplan!

  13. Ya, I bet the tearoff had the letters FER- SAN #1.

  14. “Made in ITALY”

  15. They shoukd use degradable tear offs.

  16. Next up, f1 to install windscreen plus wiper?

  17. Wow, so that tear off caused Leclerc’s early pitstop AND his penalty. This is butterfly effect in overdrive.

  18. Damn, verstappen isn’t happy with dominating the race from 14th, has to sabotage leclerc’s race too!

  19. Errari’s… i mean Ferrari’s pathetic behavior is rising

  20. Ferrari can’t catch a break can they?
    But their brakes can catch strip offs.

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