Ferrari won’t tell Leclerc to “calm down” after third crash in eight days

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Ferrari won’t tell Charles Leclerc to rein in his aggressive approach to qualifying despite his third crash in eight days during qualifying.

Leclerc crashed twice in the high-speed left-hander of turns six, seven and eight over the first two days of running at the Miami International Autodrome. The second occurred during Q3 and left him seventh on the grid for today’s race.

He took pole position for both races in Azerbaijan one week ago, despite also crashing during the sprint race qualifying session. Leclerc’s coach Jock Clear said the incidents were a result of him taking risks in order to overcome the team’s deficit to Red Bull.

“In some ways this maybe is a reflection of his mindset when he’s up against a car that is demonstrably quicker than his. It’s a sort of ‘I’m just going to have to make the difference myself’. Which, of course, physics ultimately catches you out.

“We’re not going to say to him, ‘look, calm down Charles’, because over the course of a year his qualifying is outstanding and that puts him in a very strong position for a lot of races, as he did last weekend, clearly.

“But the car’s been relatively quite nice here. It’s not been a car they had real struggles with this weekend. I think he’s felt the opportunity for another pole position to be honest and maybe he just got a bit ahead of himself.”

Ferrari have repaired Leclerc’s car for today’s race and replaced its upgraded floor without incurring any penalties. “We went in backwards so rear wing, we changed the gearbox and obviously the floor was damaged so we changed the floor and rear suspension,” said Clear.

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“None of which caused a problem in terms of penalties or our pool of gearboxes or anything. So we’re comfortable with that. But obviously from a from a safety point of view, we have to change everything and then take it back to the factory, check it all.”

In his first crash at the corner on Friday, Leclerc hit the barrier nose-first, which spared any damage to the car’s new floor. However he hit the barrier rear-first when he crashed on Saturday, which Clear suspects he did intentionally out of “self-preservation”.

“If you watch the video, he ends up pointing straight and then it’s almost like he thinks ‘no, I think I’ll go in the other way’. He was going quite quickly at the time, I think it might have been a bit of self-preservation.”

“He had a bit of a bit of a bang the day before going in front-wards and I don’t think he wanted to repeat that,” Clear added.

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2023 Miami 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...
RJ O'Connell
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6 comments on “Ferrari won’t tell Leclerc to “calm down” after third crash in eight days”

  1. If only they said ‘calmez-vous’ instead.

  2. Jonathan Parkin
    7th May 2023, 17:14

    But the same could be said of Mick Schumacher who lost his drive because he crashed too much. At some point Charles is going to do the same

    1. Yes, however haas are\were in a different situation than ferrari: their car was horrible in 2021, improved a bit in 2022 and seemed to have improved again now, they’re on the way up and on a limited budget, more so than many other teams, so crashes are more impactful for them; ferrari is pretty stable as one of the best teams but never quite the best, so few mill lost through crashes is no big deal.

  3. I guess they can afford all the repair bills. Not like I dislike Charles’ approach, mind you, but I can’t see him challenging for the title without a vastly superior car if he keeps crashing. Verstappen was fairly crash-prone some years ago but learned to keep his car out of the walls.

  4. I like also what Leclerc is doing but as we saw today you cannot count to the Italians after a crash to give back the same car. His car was a bumping disaster today so if i was him i would had second thoughts of goinf too much over the limit again.

  5. Overdriving is clearly an issue for Leclerc. He did it last season when he was in the championship hunt and put a huge dent on his title hopes by binning it in France. This season he’s not got the car to challenge, so he’s pushing even harder to get as close to the bulls as he can… and binning it.

    I can’t criticise his approach this season though.. as he’s got nothing to lose. Might as well put in some hail mary performances and get a few poles and maybe a suprise win in by pushing to the maximum. It’s a heck of a lot better than finishing between P5 to P8 in every race and not putting in anything memorable for an entire season .. like his teammate is.

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