Vasseur understands Leclerc ‘frustration’ as extent of Ferrari engine woes revealed


Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has revealed the extent to which Charles Leclerc’s power unit was affected during the Canadian Grand Prix.

The 56-year-old also said he would have been concerned if his driver was not “frustrated” by the issues, going as far as conceding he can “perfectly understand” a lack of motivation in such scenarios.

Early into the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Leclerc was told over radio that the team were working to address a problem with his power unit, but that he should keep on pushing.

Having only qualified P11 on the grid, the 26-year-old was left stranded in the midfield and unable to make progress in the early stages of the race with his Ferrari down on power. The issue ultimately led to his retirement from the grand prix, and the Monegasque driver left to rue a disastrous weekend.

“For Charles [Leclerc], when you are in the car, you are fighting in a group [and] you see that you’re missing 10 or 15kph and you have no chance to overtake – your engineers are telling you that we are losing something like 80 horsepower – I can perfectly understand that the motivation is difficult to find in this kind of situation,” Vasseur told media including RacingNews365, empathising with his driver following a difficult race that was out of his control.

“You know that you are in Canada, that you won’t overtake with these kinds of deficits. I perfectly understand the frustration. If he was not frustrated in these conditions, I would be worried.”

Too early to know cause of Leclerc engine issue

It was a poor weekend all-round in Montreal for Ferrari. Team-mate Carlos Sainz was also knocked out in Q2 – lining up just behind Leclerc in P12.

The Spaniard would then make a costly mistake at Turn 6 during the grand prix, spinning off before collecting the Williams of Alexander Albon and forcing both drivers into retirement.

For Leclerc, his failure to finish the race was not the whole story either. In the melee of changing weather conditions, Ferrari opted to gamble on a set of dry tyres before the rest of the field. It proved too early for such a call, and Leclerc was brought back in to switch from his hard tyres back to intermediates – a decision that led to him being lapped by the front five runners, just two weeks after he conquered his home Monaco Grand Prix.

As for the specifics of his power unit woes, Vasseur did not delve further into the details of an issue that eradicated any chance of points for Leclerc.

“No, not yet, because that it’s too early stage. But it’s not just the engine itself,” the 56-year-old replied when asked if he knew what the cause of the problem was. “I think it’s more the control of the engine, that we had to stop the engine completely.”

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