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Ferrari caught off-guard by Leclerc's issue

NEWS STORY
23/05/2022

Ferrari team boss, Mattia Binotto has admitted that there were no warning signs of an issue with Charles Leclerc's engine, revealing that the first the team knew of a problem was when the driver told them.

Seemingly cruising to his third win of the season, with a comfortable lead and the added bonus of a buffer - in the form of George Russell - holding the Red Bull pair at bay, on lap 27 Leclerc suddenly began to slow.

"No, no, no," he cried, "what happened, I lost power!" He subsequently pitted and retired, just one lap after Guanyu Zhou - another driver powered by Ferrari - had become the first retirement of the day.

While admitting that it was engine-related, Ferrari was unwilling to say much more about Leclerc's problem, other than to reveal that it came without warning.

"It was a sudden issue," said Binotto. "I think we learned it first from Charles, first going on to the radio, and then from the engineers looking at the data. So it was really sudden.

"We do not have yet an explanation," he admitted. "So the power unit will be sent back to Maranello, travelling during the night, and we will disassemble it tomorrow morning."

The DNF, together with Max Verstappen's win, meant that Leclerc lost the championship lead it has held since Bahrain, as has Ferrari.

"I don't know anything more than what happened basically," said the Monegasque. "I had no indications before and then it just broke, lost the power completely.

"It's a shame," he sighed, in a masterpiece of understatement. "In those moments I believe that there's nothing else I can do but look at the positives and there are plenty this weekend... there's the qualifying pace, the race pace and most importantly, the tyre management that has been a weakness in the last two races.

"I think we have definitely found something this weekend on that, so it gives me the confidence for the season. But on the other hand, we'll look at this issue, and we cannot afford for this to happen many times during the season, so we need to find the problem."

Asked if he was confident that without the issue he would have extended his lead, he replied: "Everything was going really, really well. I think it would have been difficult for them to catch back because obviously there was already quite a bit of a gap, and we had a very good degradation also on the soft tyre.

"We could do quite a few more laps compared to them. So yeah, overall, I think we had the race under control.

"What is most important is the overall performance," he insisted, "and performance-wise, we are performing very well. So I can't wait to go at home next week and hopefully we'll have a great result."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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1. Posted by Tardis40, 23/05/2022 23:31

"Sounded to me like it lost boost"

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