Why he didn’t get the desired team order from Ferrari

(Motorsport-Total.com) – It wasn’t just Red Bull that had problems on the radio at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix due to the team order. Charles Leclerc has urged his Ferrari team to swap places with team-mate Carlos Sainz on the back of second place in the drivers’ championship, with Monaco battling Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez.

Did Ferrari let Charles Leclerc down at the Brazilian race for the second time this weekend?


A late safety car period following the retirement of Lando Norris brought Leclerc back into the game after the two touched on the first lap, causing Leclerc to hit the tire wall at turn six. However, his F1-75 was only damaged on the front wing and was therefore able to continue.

Both Ferraris were fitted with relatively new soft tires in the closing stages, allowing them to easily pass Perez in the Red Bull, who was still running on older mediums. As the places appeared to be taken by the two Mercedes at the top, followed by Sainz and Leclerc, the Monaco man tapped on the radio to ask if he could take Sainz’s place on the podium.

Radio traffic from Leclerc: why he was not allowed to pass

“Think about the World Cup if the positions stay like this,” he tells his race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros. Shortly before the end, he asks again, “Please think of the championship!”, to which Padros replies, “We think it’s too dangerous.”

Background: While Leclerc trailed his team-mate by around three seconds, there was danger from behind from Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen, who were just over a second behind and slightly better off the pace than Leclerc. At that moment, the Alpine pilot had the best tires of any rider in the field.

After the race, however, he is not exactly thrilled with his team’s decision. “Fantastic job,” his race engineer congratulates Leclerc on a strong race over the radio, to which Leclerc sarcastically replies, “Yes! Unbelievable! Mamma mia. Come on!”

Leclerc disappointed: it was agreed before the race!

Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies, who is deputizing for team principal Mattio Binotto, who remains in Maranello as head of Ferrari in Brazil, also radioed into Leclerc’s car after crossing the finish line: “Well done Charles, you did the best you could for us. There were other reasons why we couldn’t make the exchange in the end.’

Leclerc’s response promptly follows: “I have no idea what other reasons you’re talking about, but whatever.” After the race in interviews, Leclerc is a bit friendlier but still disappointed as there was an agreement before the race for such a case.

“I understand [die Entscheidung] a little bit because of course Carlos is on the podium and I don’t usually ask such things,” Leclerc said. “I did it because we had a discussion before the race where we mentioned this case and for some reason we changed our minds. It was very frustrating in the heat. But it is so.”

Binotto elaborates: The looming penalty against Sainz was the main reason

But according to Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, there was another reason why you didn’t switch places. During the safety car phase, Carlos Sainz briefly drove past Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri, prompting Ferrari to fear the Spaniard would receive a five-second penalty.

Tsunoda wanted to get a lap back like the two Williams drivers and went through the first sector together with Sainz. However, due to a software error on the FIA’s part, Tsunoda was unable to get the lap back, causing confusion during the race.

“First of all, changing two cars on the last straight would certainly be difficult because Charles had Fernando and Max right behind him, so it would certainly be dangerous,” says Binotto.

Photo gallery: Formula 1 2022 in Brazil: The most important thing about Sunday

“However, we also knew that we were being investigated due to the incident behind the safety car with Tsunoda. But then the race management was relieved,” explains the head of the Ferrari team.

“So we were quite happy, but without a decision on this matter it would have been risky because, for example, a five-second penalty would have meant that Carlos would have lost more than one position. So as far as the Constructors’ Championship is concerned, we decided that it would stand .” it was better to stick to positions and distances on the track.’

How important is the Charles Leclerc P2 now?

What’s interesting about the whole thing is that Leclerc said a few weeks ago that second place in the championship means nothing to him and he just wants to use the last few races to help Ferrari improve their race weekend processes.

But now he seems to have changed his mind. Asked after the Brazilian race how important second place in the drivers’ championship is to him, he says: “It’s always nicer and of course we’ll do everything to finish second in the teams’ championship, but I also want us to finish second. Watch the position of the riders.”

He is now level on 290 points with Perez at the last race in Abu Dhabi, with Leclerc second as he has one more win than the Mexican this season. So it’s clear: whoever finishes the Abu Dhabi race higher will get second place in the World Championship. If both do not score points, Leclerc is assured of the runner-up position.

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