Ferrari did not gamble with Charles Leclerc’s gearbox, and his driveshaft issue on the way to the grid might not have been a result of his crash in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.
Leclerc crashed at the end of Q3 and damaged his car significantly, bringing out the red flags that secured him pole position. After extensive checks overnight and on Sunday morning, Ferrari stated that the gearbox was showing no signs of damage and didn’t need to be changed, following comments from Binotto that the team would not take any risks with reliability.
However, Leclerc radioed in with a problem on his first lap out of the garage on Sunday and what turned out to be a left driveshaft issue caused him to fail to start his home race at all.
“It was a failure on the left hub – driveshaft – something that we need to carefully analyze, but it is not gearbox related,” Binotto said. “If we would have changed the gearbox, those parts would still have been on the car because they were not damaged from the accident and the failure would still have happened.
“So it is not a matter of gambling with the gearbox, the gearbox was OK and the gearbox did not fail. On our side we need to understand what happened, why it happened, and more than that if we could have detected it in parc ferme … so it’s important to understand why we didn’t detect a problem on the car.
“The problem started to appear in Turn 6, so the part on the car was not showing any cracks but the cracks happened already only later, so that is something we can only analyze by looking at the parts in the next days and all the data.”
Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time for the start of the race.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari)
Binotto also believes there’s a chance the crash had nothing to do with the damage, but isn’t willing to say for sure that it wasn’t a problem that was overlooked after the accident.
“So no, I’m not, eventually it could be related to the accident,” he added. “It’s not a gearbox failure, that’s for sure, so it is not a matter of gambling with the gearbox itself. I think that all the inspections we made were right, the gearbox was safe and working properly. It is something else.
“Is it a consequence or not? I don’t know, honestly, right now. Could we have detected it or not? Again it is something we need to analyze and eventually find an answer, but it was on completely the opposite side, on the other corner, but again maybe not related or maybe it is and that will be part of the analysis in the next days.”