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Formula 1

Ferrari suggests Leclerc driveshaft failure unrelated to crash

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Mattia Binotto says the driveshaft failure that took Charles Leclerc out of the Monaco Grand Prix before the start “may be completely unrelated” to his qualifying crash on Saturday.

Poleman Leclerc faced an anxious wait after qualifying, having wrecked his SF21 in a crash exiting the Swimming Pool area and requiring Ferrari to investigate whether it would be forced into making changes that would lead to grid penalties.

But a cautiously optimistic prognosis on Saturday evening was followed by an all-clear on the gearbox – which was a particular source of concern – a couple of hours prior to the race, only for Leclerc to then report a gearbox issue on the reconnaissance lap.

Ferrari ultimately corrected that description to “left driveshaft failure” but the end result was that Leclerc stayed in the pits instead of starting the race from pole.

Speaking to Sky after the race, Binotto said: “We need to fully understand what happened. The failure is on the driveshaft into the hub on the left hand side. So it’s not a gearbox problem we have.

“The gearbox has been inspected yesterday evening, it has been reviewed and I think the gearbox was OK for the race.

“What happened is on the opposite side compared to the accident and so it may be completely unrelated to the accident, but something which we need to carefully understand and analyse and we have no answer right now.”

Charles Leclerc Ferrari Monaco Grand Prix qualifying crash 2021

He reiterated his pre-race stance that “there was no gamble for the gearbox”, and when asked whether the left-side area where the failure occurred had been checked, said: “No, this was an area that was not checked because it was not damaged.”

Leclerc said it was “very very difficult to feel OK” in the immediate aftermath of the problem.

“I’ve never finished a race here,” he told Sky. “This year I don’t start it [when I’m supposed to be] starting from pole, so it’s a difficult one to take.

“But, I also feel for the team to be honest. The mechanics have done such a hard job yesterday to try and check everything and the mechanics were finally a bit happy this morning to see that everything seems fine and all the parts were fine.

“And then this happens. So it’s a shame for everyone.”

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