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Leclerc's engine irreparably damaged

NEWS STORY
03/08/2021

In a further blow, Ferrari has confirmed that Charles Leclerc's engine was irreparably damaged in the first corner incident on Sunday.

The Ferrari driver was the innocent victim of Lance Stroll at the opening corner, and having been pushed into Daniel Ricciardo, retired on the spot.

Ferrari has now confirmed that on top of the fact the Monegasque missed out on a decent points haul he will now face a grid penalty as his engine was damaged beyond repair.

"Examination of the number 16 SF21 carried out yesterday in Maranello, revealed that the engine was irreparably damaged and cannot be used again," said the Italian tem on Tuesday.

"This is a further blow for Scuderia Ferrari and the Monegasque driver," added the team. "This damage has a financial impact and also racing ramifications, given that over the remaining 12 race weekends this season, it is highly likely the team could be obliged to fit a fourth ICE to Charles' SF21, thus incurring grid penalties."

With Red Bull waiting on news as to whether Sergio Perez' engine suffered a similar fate, the FIA and F1 are sure to face questions over the issue of compensation.

Following the first corner clash at Silverstone, Christian Horner claimed that the £1.3m 'repair bill' would bite into his team's budget - this being the first year of the budget cap - and this, coupled with Sunday's incident, will now further impact the team financially at a time it is challenging for the title.

The Austrian outfit is seemingly not alone in feeling that those responsible for such incidents should foot the bill, particularly in situations like this where the 'innocent victims' face a double whammy.

Speaking at the weekend, Mattia Binotto told reporters: "I think there is value for discussions in the near future with the other team principals, FIA and F1.

"Obviously if you're not guilty, having such damage in the budget cap is something which is even more of a consequence now.

"Should we add exemptions? I'm not sure that’s the solution," he admitted. "I think it may be very difficult to be policed.

"But I think that what we may consider is that if a driver is faulty, the team of the driver should pay at least to the other teams for the damages and repairs. That will make the drivers more responsible."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 09/08/2021 3:57

"@ Max Noble...Thanks for the response. You may well be right but you'd have to agree that a massive surfeit of 'readies' is one of the singular most important assets to have in ones war chest when entering the murky waters of F1 racing. It enables you to acquire the services of some very tech savvy execs to say the least. I'm also interested in your '10%' pre cap estimate? What I am pretty certain of is that with a cost cap in place it won't be quite such a foregone conclusion in the future. If it does in any way make Mercedes think twice then it must be a very good thing for all of us.The elites need to be smashed a few times, if for no other reason than to be grounded in what, for most teams, is 'reality'. "

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2. Posted by Max Noble, 08/08/2021 10:00

"@Kenji - my counter is… with a cost cap Ferrari, and Red Bull can never catch Mercedes. The advantage is baked in… and no one can spend their way to success… I believe the pre-cost cap order will survive for “all time” as Mercedes got ahead of the curve by 10% prior to the cost cap… and will carry that advantage into the future… "

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3. Posted by kenji, 07/08/2021 11:49

"@ Max and C5...I have listened to many different takes on the cost cap and have come to the conclusion that it's a step in the right direction. We've endured the mega boring and the complete domination of the series for seven years by Mercedes and that was, to a large extent, a result manufactured by budgets that exceed the entire GDP of some small countries! Yes, they were clever as well but the sheer size of their operation ensured that they were the 'big enchiladas' of F1. Now compare that with the smaller guys and you can see that it was, and still is ATM, no contest. I am hoping that a combination of new cars and cost caps we'll see some changes to the current order....."

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4. Posted by Max Noble, 07/08/2021 5:55

"@C5 - fully agree with you on the parts limits, but I’m also irritated by the cost cap. It is a silly concept. Some footie chap is leaving Spain as a result of a similar issue I believe :-)"

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5. Posted by C5, 06/08/2021 23:57

"@Max, the cost cap having an influence actually leaves me cold. I don't agree with it, but it's here, and it's not particularly different from a team not having the money to compete. Except now everyone is - in theory - on a more equal footing, which is the stated intention. Luck plays a part, but it always has in motor racing where being eliminated or handicapped for one reason or another, often not by a fault of your own, is part of the game.

But the grid penalty for replacing parts really bugs me, always has. And that it is applies within the count the team is allowed to use during the season is beyond bonkers. If I want to put some miles on three different of my allotted MGU-K's during a weekend, why is that a problem? It's not like it's a tracking issue; if the FIA wanted I'm sure they could use RFID or something to realtime track and log the exact mileage of each component on the car whenever it leaves the garage."

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6. Posted by Max Noble, 06/08/2021 23:35

"@Kenji - yup! Great beaches back here in WA :-)

@C5 - quite agree it is complex to solve… because the FIA have made it so. I’m sure there will be adjustments to the rules because between the penalties and the cost cap they are going to combine to seriously influence the outcome of the championship this year… is that what we really want?"

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7. Posted by kdxrider, 06/08/2021 21:39

"All this talk about making teams pay for other teams damages caused by the team judge to be at fault will only produce "no one racing" for fear of being at fault and cost their team money ---- "

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8. Posted by C5, 06/08/2021 19:37

"Tough luck. In motorsport everyone pays their own way. That's just how it is. If you don't have the money - for whatever reason, cost cap or just being poor, that's just unfortunate for you.

Artificially limiting the number of parts is also somewhat counterintuitive to the entire concept of motor racing. I am not a fan, but I do understand the reasoning. For me the real sporting problem is the entire grid penalty system, regardless if the reason for replacing the part is a crash (no matter who's fault it is) or the part breaking. Grid penalties for non-sporting behavior suck.

I've floated this before, but I'll do it again. Within the allowed number of parts for a season, replacements should be allowed freely (within the parc ferme monitoring system), no penalties whatsoever. Equally, limits should apply only to race and qualifying, not to practice.

This latter change will mean mean replacing limited component like PU and gearbox between practice and qualifying. But this was common practice in the past so it should pose no problem to do again, other than maybe adjusting the race weekend to have the "actual" practices all on Friday, with Saturday practice allowing primarily for installation laps in preparation for qualifying. If teams want to put additional mileage on their limited race gear at this time to do additional practice they're of course allowed to do so.

Using a replacement component in additional to the ones allowed will dock a percentage of the accumulated constructor championship points, as accumulated at the time the replacement component is first used. To make sure a team and driver is not getting a sporting advantage getting a fresh component, and to prevent teams taking points penalties early in the season when fewer points have been accumulated, exceeding the allowed number of parts for a season is only permissible once all "allowed" units are no longer serviceable, proven to the satisfaction for the FIA stewards.

In the case of parts being "obviously" damaged through "no fault of their own" - like being clobbered in a kamikaze move like we saw in Hungary, the team can appeal to the FIA for an exception to use a "practice" component that is proven to have been stressed for at least the same time and number of laps the damaged equipment. Such "gratuitous replacement units" may be used for racing only once all the allowed units have reached their intended design use.

This may sound overly complicated but I don't think it's worse that the current rules, a lot more fair in a sporting sense, and most importantly won't have drivers take grid penalties for something that isn't a driving penalty.

And given replacing components will cost constructor championship points, I'm sure an engineer request to use an additional component will get the team manager's attention a lot more than a mere 5 grid penalty, which is the entire point of having the limit in the first place."

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9. Posted by kenji, 06/08/2021 11:16

"@Max Noble...great choice of location...am an old Scarborough beach boy and still have some family there. Lovely beaches and a super city. Am now a Surfers/Gold Coast local but fond memories growing up in WA. My life was in the water hahaha."

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10. Posted by Mad Matt, 05/08/2021 16:23

"Just to put another side to this:

First point is that it's easy to make a mistake at the first corner when it's suddenly started raining, the difference between getting it right and making a mess can be braking a meter late which is no time at all in an F1 car. Valtteri was also squeezed a bit between Sergio and Lando (probably more Lando's fault) meaning he had to back out and suddenly he's behind Lando with reduced down force. Then we have Lance getting it wrong and I think Pierre was lucky not to hit Sergio... Still Valtteri's fault but perhaps it's not right to call for him to get a race ban.

Second point, again just to put an alternative point of view: Before the cost cap a team like Haas were operating on the proverbial shoe string. Getting hit by another car meant they'd have to give up something to pay for it, give up a new development, less time in the wind tunnel etc. Now, with the cost cap, the big teams face the same problem..... wasn't that the point of the cost cap, to make things a bit more equal?"

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11. Posted by Max Noble, 05/08/2021 10:32

"@Kenji - UK born, Perth WA for many years now… :-)"

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12. Posted by kenji, 05/08/2021 4:57

"@ Max Noble...real good one Guv' Meant to ask..Perth, Scotland or Perth WA?"

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13. Posted by Max Noble, 05/08/2021 1:13

"@Kenji - Us Poms, and ex-poms, all dropping our “Achees” at the wrong moment… :-) ‘Orrible ‘abit…."

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14. Posted by kenji, 05/08/2021 1:12

"@ elsiebc...Your suggestions re new rules is a perfect example of OOTB creative thinking ...oh what a gallimaufery eh? F1GP as a series went down the wrong path in 2014 with the introduction of the new PU's and since then it has gone downhill. Tokenism designed to appease the 'green left'
was the catalyst for mind blowing costs and the additional resources deemed necessary to support the same. Yes, from an engineering viewpoint, a superb piece of kit..as an economic reality a disaster. One reaps what one sews, says it all really."

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15. Posted by elsiebc, 04/08/2021 16:35

"The FIA, just like every power in control, has opened yet another can of worms which they will attempt to micro manage. Here we are discussing the various new rules options to move forward when these discussions didn't occur pre cost cap when the free market determined budgets, not the FIA.

We see the obvious cost, the damaged car in the barriers. We add to that the the grid penalties incurred as the result of another mandate imposed by the all knowing. We start to discuss the the lost points and the financial hit from that. But what about the loss of air time for the sponsors?

And we discuss who should pay and what percentage. You'll have to apportion blame. No more "racing incidents". You could make the drivers themselves pay. That probably won't have an effect on driver salaries! Or you could make the teams pay. Faced with financial hits well in excess of their own vehicle's damage, I'm sure that won't have an effect on teams signing up rookie drivers! And, as kenji points out, the appeals process that will follow these mega million dollar incidents will surely engage the fans well past the podium ceremonies that aren't actually the podium!

But not to worry. Ross and his crack team will work it all out. If a rule doesn't work, just add six more rules on top to fix it. The best part of that approach is the rule makers will always have a job.

Me? I'm just passing time until next year's Great Reset that will see Williams win their tenth Constructors Championship and Mercedes fighting for points.

PS: Not enough on track overtakes? Just make a rule for that! For a driver to earn maximum points for his finishing position he has to have at least three on track passes for position. That will keep a driver from getting too far out in front and running a solo race. He'll have to pit where he can come out behind another so he can complete his pass. Could also encourage more pit stops! Gotta go now. My phone's ringing. I think it's Ross!

"

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