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Ferrari offer Leclerc apology over costly mistake

Leclerc's chances of a first home-race podium evaporated with this crucial error at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur has apologised to Charles Leclerc over the communication breakdown that dropped him from third on the grid at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monégasque is yet to feature on his home-race podium after rotten luck thus far in his F1 career, but had qualified third fastest on Saturday with Alpine's Esteban Ocon a buffer to Mercedes and Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in fourth.

But Leclerc was dropped three places on the grid for impeding Lando Norris' McLaren during Q3 in the tunnel, with Ferrari not alerting its driver to the Briton's presence in time for him to take evasive action.

Ocon was the cork in the bottle on the way to finishing on the podium with race-winner Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso breaking clear of the pack, indicating Leclerc would likely have scored a podium without his penalty.

“He's been a bit frustrated in Monaco for a couple of years now and [qualifying] was tough," Vasseur told media, including RacingNews365.com.

“It was tough first to lose the Pole Position by one-tenth or something like this, to lose the front row by two hundredths, and then the call.

“What else can I do than apologise on behalf of the team and 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.

“I think it's also due to the circumstances where it happened, into the tunnel. But ok, we have to avoid trying to find excuses because it's the worst way if you want to improve, we just have to correct.”

Vasseur 'not looking for excuses'

Expanding on the mistake made by the team, Vasseur explained: “Under the tunnel, Charles was not able to see in the mirror where Norris was, and if you tell him after the tunnel he can see where Norris is, and avoid being on the [racing] line. Also, the line under the tunnel is not very clear.

“But we made a mistake clearly and this cost us a lot because I think starting from P3 could have been another race, but we have to learn from it.

“Honestly, I'm not looking to find an excuse or something like this, we have to review the situation completely.

"I didn't want to do it [on Saturday] evening because we are focused on the race. But we will have a look at this.”

F1 2023 Monaco Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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