Ferrari was hoping for red flag to solve Leclerc PU issue


Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur says the Scuderia was hoping that an early red flag in the Canadian Grand Prix would offer the team a proper opportunity to solve the engine issue that undermined the performance of the Monegasque’s car.

Leclerc was on the backfoot from the outset due to a technical gremlin plaguing his SF-24 and costing the Monaco Grand Prix winner five-tenths of a second a lap.

Unfortunately, the potentially salutary red flag that would have paused the race never materialized while Leclerc’s power unit troubles steadily worsened.

The Italian outfit opted to pit Leclerc for a hard reset and a switch to slick tyres as the track conditions improved. However, a brief rain shower shortly after forced the Ferrari charger to return to the pits for inters, losing a significant amount of time in the process.

The combination of engine woes, strategic decisions, and the unpredictable weather ultimately resulted in Leclerc falling a lap behind the leaders. With his race effectively over, Ferrari made the decision to retire him.

"With Charles, on lap two we lost part of the power," Vasseur explained. "We were expecting a red flag to do a power cycle and to try and come back but the red flag never happened.

"It was not just the engine itself; I think it is the control of the engine that we had to stop the engine completely. We went through a cycle but it was 30 or 40 seconds.

"For Charles, when you are in the car, fighting in a group and see you are missing 10 or 15 kp/h, you have no chance to overtake, your engineer is telling you you are missing 80 horsepower, I can perfectly understand that motivation is difficult to find in this kind of situation.

“If he was not frustrated in these conditions, I would be worried.”

On the other side of the Ferrari garage, Carlos Sainz’s afternoon was equally forgettable. A sluggish start off the line immediately compromised his race strategy, leaving him outside the points zone from the very beginning.

To make matters worse, Sainz spun on a wet kerb at Turn 6 on lap 53 which sent him into the path of Alex Albon’s Williams. The subsequent contact permanently put the Spaniard out of his misery.

Ferrari’s dismal performance in qualifying, which Leclerc and Sainz concluded respectively P11 and P12, set the team up for a challenging Sunday.

However, Vasseur said the Scuderia gained some valuable insight overnight into the root cause for its subdued display on Saturday, which fueled optimism for race day.

"The pace was strong on Friday,” he explained. “Conditions were tricky [on Saturday] a and a couple of cars had the same issue - I won't go deep into details - but we were quite confident for the [race] pace," he explained.

"The issues in the beginning... everything went wrong and I hope we have put all the shitty parts of the season on the same weekend."

Vasseur suggested Ferrari had been a victim of Murphy’s Law on Sunday: when something goes wrong, everything goes wrong.

But despite the Scuderia's Montreal setback, the Frenchman insisted there was no reason to change the team’s approach to its execution.

"Sometimes you get the feeling everything is going wrong and going against you but we don't change the approach,” he said.

"We are working as a team with the drivers in the good and bad moments and we will keep the same approach for next weekend and continue together.

"I'm not [bothered] at all by this kind of weekend, it is what it is."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter