An electronics problem crashed Leclerc’s Formula 1 team’s formation lap in Brazil

An electronics problem crashed Leclerc’s Formula 1 team’s formation lap in Brazil

The Ferrari driver suffered a power unit failure and a hydraulic failure in the shaping cycle, due to an electronic control problem.
This resulted in him crashing into the barrier, and despite his best efforts to get the car going again, he was unable to do so.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur confirmed that Leclerc’s failure to move away from the scene of the accident was due to “the same problem, where the system switched off the hydraulic actuator.”

He explained: “I went into the corner, lost the power steering first, then the engine cut out for safety reasons. Then the rear wheels locked up, which made me spin.

“So I had no control over the car to any point. Hydraulics, that’s how I felt. But in the end, I don’t think that’s the problem in talking to the engineers. We know what this is, but I can’t go into too many details.

Leclerc said he could have continued because only his front wing was damaged in the crash if the electronic problem had not continued to occur.

He explained, “I moved the car again. Only the front wing was damaged.”

“But apart from that, nothing else. I started up again, got the hydraulics going for about 15 seconds. But then exactly the same thing happened. I lost the hydraulics, and then the engine cut out.”

“And of course, it was clear that I couldn’t go any further, because I had gone 20 metres.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photography: Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Vasseur explained that the problem did not occur this season: “No. At least not in the last 10 months! “It was the first time.”

His non-start came after a series of disappointments throughout the season that saw him fail to win the race.

While still sitting in the car he used the team radio to vent about his ongoing misfortune.

“Maybe it was part of the moment, and I was very disappointed,” he said when asked by about his comments.

“I’m upset because obviously, especially in the second part of the year, I finally found confidence in the car, and then you start second, sacrifice a whole weekend for the Sunday race, do six turns, and that’s it.

“So, I’m very disappointed at the moment but now I need to move on and focus clearly on the last two races, which is the best thing I can do as a driver.

“But of course it’s disappointing to lose so many opportunities throughout the season. I just hope that after this race, we can anyway continue to compete for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

“That’s my only motivation for the rest of the year, because after that all the rest is nothing very exciting.”

He added: “I would rather face a lot of problems in a season in which I fight for these positions, rather than in a season in which I fight for the championship.” However, I would rather not face this kind of issue at all.”

Vasseur believes it “could have been” for Leclerc to finish on the podium, and said not starting was all the more disappointing as the team focused its efforts on Sunday’s main race. His teammate Carlos Sainz finished sixth.

“It’s definitely very frustrating for Charles and for the team as well, strategically, on another weekend we put all our efforts into the long run to save the tyres, so we had new ones,” he said.

“We didn’t put new tires on the short tire, we put everything on the long tire, and we didn’t get the start.

“It’s definitely frustrating. It’s been very frustrating, but I’m sure he’ll come back and we’ll focus on Vegas.

He added: “Now, we have to remain calm to understand what happened to avoid any problems in the future.”

“I think the pace over the weekend wasn’t that bad. We were in a good position today and it was a missed opportunity because we were catching up to Mercedes a little bit over the weekend but with Charles on the front row with two sets of tyres, it could have been It’s much better.

“We still have two attempts with Vegas and Abu Dhabi. Vegas can be chaotic, and if we have the same pace that we have this weekend and Mercedes has the same pace that we have this weekend, we have a chance.”

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