Leclerc set for new chassis after Ferrari identify crack


Ferrari will build up a new chassis for Charles Leclerc after the team identified a crack in the Monegasque's tub after qualifying in Qatar.

Leclerc was at a loss to understand the lack of grip that impacted his Saturday evening session and prevented his passage into Q1.

But a thorough check by the Scuderia's crews after qualifying revealed a crack likely caused by Leclerc running over one of Losail's destructive kerbs during his first run in Q1.

The track's boundaries have caught out several drivers so far this weekend and damaged several cars. Haas' Nikita Mazepin required a chassis change after FP1 while AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly broke a front wing and suffered a puncture in Q3 as a result of running wide.

"It’s clear the damage to the chassis that will now be replaced, influenced the car’s behaviour," said Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies.

"Now the mechanics face a major task to get the number 16 car fixed in time."

By "fixed in time", Mekies implied building up the new chassis within the time required for Leclerc to avoid a pitlane start for Sunday's race.

Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz will start his Qatar Grand Prix from P7, but Mekies underscored the importance of reliability on race day.

"Reliability will be even more crucial than ever, as we learned this afternoon to our cost," he said.

"For our part, we will do our utmost to ensure any changes go in our favour, especially when up against our main rivals.

"Despite it having been a difficult day, it’s not over yet and we still have the opportunity to pick up plenty of championship points."

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