Ferrari outlines unusual cause for penalty Leclerc attributed

Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto says Charles Leclerc’s speeding penalty in the pitlane at the Belgian Grand Prix was the result of an earlier incident during the race.

Leclerc pitted for the third time of the race on lap 42 of 44, fitting soft tires in a bid to claim the fastest lap.

This briefly demoted him from fifth to sixth when Fernando Alonso overtook him on the Kemmel straight, but Leclerc passed the alpine driver again the next time. However, his fastest lap bid fell through, with his time finishing 0.630s off Max Verstappen’s best.

And then it was shown to have been actively costly, with Leclerc being penalized for speeding in the pitlane during that last stop and dropping from fifth to sixth behind Alonso.

“The penalty is my fault. Nothing to do with the team,” Leclerc told reporters immediately after the race.

However, Binotto later provided a mitigating detail, claiming the penalty was an “unfortunate” consequence of the very situation that forced Leclerc to pit under the first safety car.

Leclerc had gone from 14th to 10th on the opening lap, but was then forced to pit because he had a broken visor lodged in the front right area of ​​his Ferrari F1-75.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Belgian Grand Prix Race Day Spa Francorchamps Belgium

“The reason we overdid [in the pitlane]It was really on the limit, I think it was by 0.1km/h on the average speed in the pitlane, tough luck,” Binotto said after the race.

“We weren’t using our normal sensors to measure speed because they had failed due to the front right overheating. [due to the tear-off]and ours [back-up] The recovery strategy was perhaps not as precise for this 0.1 km/h.

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“Overall it has been an unfortunate situation, that’s not why we need to stop making up our minds and be brave to go for a fast lap when the conditions are there to do it.”

The stewards’ document announcing the penalty stated that Leclerc had broken the 80km/h speed limit in the pitlane by 1km/h, although it did not detail whether it was a short spike or a constant speed.

There was no infringement during Leclerc’s first two pit stops of the race.

Binotto seemed to indicate that the offensive tear may have come from race winner Max Verstappen’s Red Bull (Verstappen took one out during a “hectic” opening lap), but there is understood to be no way of knowing for sure.

The decision to pit late effectively cost Leclerc two points, with Binotto acknowledging that “that’s the kind of risk you can always take”.

But he emphasized that he did not regret the decision itself.

“I think the call to stop him was the right decision,” Binotto said. “You have to be brave in F1.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Belgian Grand Prix Race Day Spa Francorchamps Belgium

“If there is any chance to try and get the fastest lap, and Fernando had room to stop and try to go for it, I think it was the right call.

“We knew that he would be very close to Fernando, we also knew that he [Leclerc] I could have gotten over it [Alonso] back because I had new tires and that would have helped [for setting the laptime] in terms of DRS and top speed on the main straight.”

Leclerc, for his part, was not convinced by the late pistop during the race.

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Once informed by the team of Verstappen’s time, he said twice that he “wouldn’t take any chances”, though he ultimately made it clear that it was up to the team.

Asked if it was frustrating to lose points because of a late pit stop that he never wanted, he said: “I mean…it is. I don’t want to argue too much about it.

“In the end it’s more frustrating to see the delta of pace between us and Red Bull. Which is what we have to work on.”

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