Handed a new chassis in Qatar, one he’ll likely use in the last races of this season, Charles Leclerc says he does “not have any concerns” as there is not much difference between chassis.
Leclerc struggled for pace in Saturday’s qualifying at the Losail circuit, the driver making a shock exit in Q2 where he was more than two-tenths down on his team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Speaking after the session, the Ferrari driver said: “We need to look into it, whether there was anything strange or not. If there’s not anything strange, I will be very happy to understand what I did wrong.”
Turned out he didn’t do anything wrong, his chassis was cracked.
Going over the car in the wake of qualifying, Ferrari confirmed that they had found a crack and would change his chassis overnight.
“After checking Leclerc’s car, a crack was found in the chassis, probably following a passage on the kerbs during the first attempt in Q1,” the team said, adding that it “will have to be changed”.
Ferrari got that done in time, Leclerc lining up P12 o the grid and racing his way to eighth place.
Thanks for being by our side over the past three races, #Tifosi 🙌
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 23, 2021
Although his previous chassis has been sent back to Maranello to be repaired, Leclerc is likely to keep that new chassis for the final two races of the season.
He’s not at all worried.
“No, no, I do not have any concerns once I knew the chassis was changed,” he said as per GPFans.net.
“It is normally not a thing where you have much difference if you are going to another chassis.”
While Leclerc’s old chassis will be returned to the track once it has been repaired, team boss Mattia Binotto said the driver will stick with the new one for Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
“The chassis will certainly be repaired,” he said.
“If that will be the chassis that will race, I don’t think so at that stage of the season.
“I think what we discovered, there was not time to repair it and the chassis we fit onto the car was the same specification to the one he had so I don’t think there is a preference between the two.
“The one that will be repaired will very likely be the spare for the rest of the season.”
Ferrari’s double points-haul at the Losail circuit, Sainz P7 to Leclerc’s P8, means they have pulled 39.5 points clear of McLaren in the battle for third place.
Third, though, is irrelevant to Ferrari with Binotto saying the team’s main focus this year has been preparing for 2022.
“All our efforts were focused on the car for 2022 from the start. We never compromised on that,” he said according to Motorsport-Total.com.
“So it never crossed our minds to try at any point to penalise 2022 in favour of 2021. Not even in view of the battle for third place.”