Missed chance to beat Red Bull to win “hurt” – Leclerc

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc felt hurt to miss out on being the driver who stopped Red Bull going unbeaten in grands prix this year.

In brief

Leclerc says it “hurts” to not be the one to interrupt Red Bull’s winning run

Charles Leclerc fell to fifth in the standings in 2023, after being world championship runner-up last year, and saw his team mate inflict the only defeat on Red Bull all season long. Carlos Sainz Jnr lost the team mate battle at Ferrari by six points, and got four podiums to Leclerc’s eight, but he won the Singapore Grand Prix, the only time Red Bull’s RB19 did not lead the feel home.

“That hurts especially in a season like this, in which there was only this one chance,” Leclerc admitted in an interview for Auto Motor und Sport.

“That’s where I didn’t get the qualification right, which ultimately cost me the race. But it was absolutely important for the team. Because we did everything right as a team.”

Leclerc started third while Sainz took pole, and to make up ground off the line he chose a softer tyre compound even though it tied him to a less favourable strategy that ultimately led to him finishing a distant fourth.

“The thing with the soft tyres was my idea,” he said. “Not to help Carlos, but because it was the best thing for our race. In moments like this you have to accept that the team comes first. They would do the same for me if I was ahead.”

Wolff labels FIA investigation as “personal attack”

Mercedes’ Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff has spoken out about the FIA’s recent and short-lived investigation into a potential leak of confident information.

The FIA’s disclosure of the investigation, and reports elsewhere linking the Wolff to it, drew strong rejects from them, Mercedes and Formula One Management. Within two days of the investigation being announced the FIA declared it was over. However Mercedes have indicated they are considering legal action.

“That was a personal attack in which a red line was crossed,” Wolff told media in Germany. “After 10 years as team boss, I’m already pretty hardened and can hardly be surprised anymore, but this story was shocking,” said Wolff. “If I’m caught in the crossfire, it’s no problem for me at all. I have developed thick skin and can handle it. But when you attack my family, it’s a different level.”

Palou confirmed at Ganassi for several more seasons

Reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou will be part of Chip Ganassi Racing’s line-up for 2025 and beyond.

Palou had signed to join McLaren for 2023, but following a lawsuit from his current team an agreement was reached that meant he stayed at Ganassi for this year. He was then expected to join McLaren in 2024, but Palou announced he would stay with Ganassi instead for next season. Now McLaren are taking Palou to court, but he admitted this week he now has a multi-year deal with Ganassi.

That information came to light when the team announced DHL as the primary sponsor of Palou’s car for several seasons, despite being yet to announce Palou’s place in their line-up for 2025. The driver himself cleared up the confusion in a press conference a few hours later.

“It’s another new deal. It’s going to be multi-year as well,” explained Palou. “It’s not been announced specifically, but it was announced today [within the DHL news]. I cannot really mention more than that. But it is going to be a multi-year deal.”

Montoya and Leon finalise their 2024 F3 plans

Campos Racing have completed their 2024 FIA Formula 3 Championship line-up with the signing of Sebastian Montoya.

The 18-year-old Colombian is the son of Juan Pablo Montoya, a winner in Formula 1 and the Indianapolis 500 as well as a CART and IMSA champion, and is currently backed by Red Bull.

The younger Montoya came fourth in Italian Formula 4 in 2021, was a Formula Regional Asian Championship race-winner last year and picked up one podium in his rookie FIA F3 season with Hitech GP this year.

Meanwhile Van Amersfoort Racing have signed Noel Leon for the 2024 FIA F3 season. The 18-year-old Mexican was champion of the F3-level Euroformula series this year, and is also a NACAM and United States F4 champion. The first of his team mates will be announced next week.

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Comment of the day

Alpine have made yet another management change, this time getting rid of former racing director Davide Brivio entirely. After another ambitious signing has provided little reward, and two-and-a-half seasons with no wins, what is keeping the brand and its parent company Renault in F1?

Renault is among the works teams, makes the least amount of sense to be in F1. Ferrari is a luxury supercar brand primarily, Mercedes-Benz is the oldest and biggest and probably the most successful luxury car brand ever, McLaren is yet another luxury supercar maker, same for Aston, and Renault doesn’t compete with any of those brands outside of F1 so their presence makes you scratch your head. If they make a competitive powertrain in the 2026 regs then I guess they could stick around but their motorsport history has always been strange. I think rallying makes sense given that the rest of the competitors are similar manufacturers but not F1.
Arthur Zakaryan

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Dermot Farrelly, Carlo Grlj and Majed Almadani!

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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10 comments on “Missed chance to beat Red Bull to win “hurt” – Leclerc”

  1. On COTD:
    1. Yes;
    2. Maybe that is why they run under the Alpine banner. Alpine is not a hypercars/luxury car brand, but possibly in competition with special series Japanese sports cars and kind of make sense marketing wise;
    3. It shows how broken is F1 as a open competition series. Renault is involved with F1 since the 80s, as a team or a engine supplier. In the current instance (2 seasons), they had spent hundred of millions, and got 4 podia – being 1 win (Ocon in a odd hungary race.) Taking part of F1 for REnault under current regulations is seems like an overpriced showroom or parade.

    1. *(3 seasons)

    2. However – Renault remains in F1 for the exact same reason every other participating manufacturer does: Marketing and brand awareness. They are at least perfectly equal to Ferrari, Mercedes and all the others in that sense.

      Then there’s the more immediate financial factor – F1 teams are now (apparently, although as yet unproven) worth a lot more money than they were a handful of years ago, thanks to the new franchise system they collectively created for themselves.
      And I say “unproven” as the only proof of ‘value’ is when an existing team actually changes ownership under this system, which hasn’t happened yet.

      There’s the common argument the Renault’s F1 team isn’t run very well – but it’s not really any worse than Ferrari’s, is it… Money in compared to results out – and Renault aren’t spending anywhere near as much as Ferrari, but still getting roughly the same media exposure.

      1. And I say “unproven” as the only proof of ‘value’ is when an existing team actually changes ownership under this system, which hasn’t happened yet.

        Don’t tell F1. They believe that saying something is worth X means it’s worth X. In reality, it’s just an asking price. A starting bid.

        As you rightly note, the last team to be changed hands was sold for about 200 million USD if reports are to be believed. A far cry from the fantasy land figures being thrown around now.

    3. Beating a Ferrari, Aston Martin, and/or McLaren in all but four races they finished this year doesn’t sound too bad for Alpine.

      Even if you don’t win you can explain/spin the achievements in F1 to help your narrative.

      And also the CFO will support you, seeing the increased market value of the investment.

  2. I dunno, Carlos seems to have a lot more race craft than LeClerc. Thankfully Ferrari are a competitive platform for the #2 so he was able to show up this year.

    1. Where did you get that from? Sainz did not invent DRS trains. It’s a common practice to back the field up in tracks where overtaking is difficult. Leclerc on the other hand showed his racing IQ by what he did in Bahrain and Jeddah 2022 in tracks where overtaking is easy.

      Also worth mentioning that Sainz only showed up for 2 races when the car was at its worst for Leclerc due to the ungodly amount of understeer that they had to induce to make the car work. Even then Leclerc was very close to him, within a tenth.

  3. Mercedes have indicated they are considering legal action.

    What I’d give to see that play out publicly, defamation lawsuits make for great content… I’d bet on a confidential settlement in this case though.

    All I want to know is whether (and if so, in what manner) the press release was run by Sulayem. The story had absolutely no teeth before that. One would think it had to be right?

    when you attack my family, it’s a different level

    This got me thinking of his aggressive response in Vegas… How close is he with FOM exactly?

  4. Those Hamistans are a special bunch, following Oracle Racing on X so they can post their circa 2021 tearfest blubbering in their posts.

  5. Well, Toto ‘you reap what you sow’. It is not just large parts of the audience that have run out of liking you. I would strongly suggest to take a hint and do some solid introspection. Or continue the antics and run into more of these situations in the future. Whatever makes you tick.

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