Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari’s Team Principal, rued the team error that saw Charles Leclerc receive a three-place grid penalty in Monaco following Qualifying, admitting he can only apologize to his driver.
Leclerc’s bad luck in Monaco continued as he raced around his home town for the fifth time since he became a Formula 1 driver back in 2018, as errors of his own making along with Ferrari strategy and operational errors, meant he is yet to step on the podium in front of his own fans, let alone winning.
Last weekend, Leclerc qualified third for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, missing out on pole by a tenth of a second, and while pole and the Grand Prix win would’ve been his aim, his qualifying efforts ensured he had a good shot at a podium finish.
The 25-year-old driver was found at fault for impeding Lando Norris, the latter on a Q3 hot lap in Qualifying, when Ferrari failed to inform the #16 red car to get out of the way of the #4 McLaren. That meant Leclerc was slapped with a three-place grid penalty for the race on Sunday, effectively ending his podium aspirations.
Leclerc’s position in the tunnel made matters complicated
Frederic Vasseur was asked about that qualifying mistake, he explained to Sky Sports F1: “Under the tunnel, Charles was not able to see in the mirror where was Norris, and if you tell him after the tunnel he can see where is Norris, and avoid to be on the line. Also, the line under the tunnel is not very clear.
“But we made a mistake yesterday clearly and this cost us a lot because I think starting from P3 it could have been another race, but we have to learn from it,” he added.
“He’s been a bit frustrated in Monaco for a couple of years now and for sure Saturday was tough. It was tough first to lose the pole position for one tenth or something like this, to lose the first row for two hundredths, and then the call.
“What can I do else than apologize on behalf of the team and to understand how we can do a better job, and to improve the communication between the pit wall and Charles in this condition, but on both sides,” the Frenchman maintained.
“I think it’s also due to the circumstances where it’s happened, into the tunnel and so on. But, we have to avoid to try to find excuses because it’s the worst way if you want to improve, we just have to correct,” Vasseur concluded.