Charles Leclerc's relationship with Ferrari will have been "severely tested" by recent events, according to Martin Brundle. The Monegasque has had two difficult race weekends back-to-back, with a mechanical issue forcing him to retire from P1 at the Spanish Grand Prix, whilst a pit-stop strategy error resulted in him losing the lead of his home race in Monaco one week later. Leclerc instead finished the Monaco Grand Prix in fourth, and has also seen his deficit to leader Max Verstappen in the World Championship standings grow to nine points.
Brundle expresses sympathy for Leclerc
"You must feel sorry for local boy Charles Leclerc, he aced pole position and comfortably led the race only for strategy to consign him to fourth place," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports . "Pitting on lap 18 for Intermediates, then again three laps later for slicks with a confused radio message meaning he had to wait briefly for his teammate Carlos Sainz to receive his slicks in a double-stacked pit-stop. "Therefore, he was initially undercut by [Sergio] Perez into second place and then delayed into fourth by the second stop."
How might this impact on Leclerc and Ferrari's relationship?
Leclerc voiced his anger about the blunder over the team radio at the time, and Brundle believes that he may have taken the opportunity to continue to express his frustration during the subsequent red flag period. "Unusually during the second red flag for Mick Schumacher's sizeable crash at the Swimming Pool, he was no doubt able to share his feelings about all this with the team," Brundle added. "It was his race to lose, and he didn't even end up on the podium, just to rub salt in his wounds." As such, Brundle has questioned how these recent events may have impacted on Leclerc's relationship with the Scuderia, who he has been racing for since 2019 and is contracted to until the end of the 2024 season. "The mutual admiration and affection between Leclerc and Ferrari reminds me of the relationship Michael Schumacher had with the team," Brundle commented. "But that has been severely tested on Leclerc's side in eight days of two missed glorious victories and wasting the opportunity to regain the lead of the World Championship."