Why Leclerc failing to start is a big issue for Ferrari

F1 Monaco GP 2021 – race analysis

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Hamilton goes down, Verstappen takes the leadership.

Hamilton had a low key weekend, qualifying in seventh and finishing in seventh. His teammate Valtteri Bottas was in contention to pounce on any mistake by Verstappen. But then his race came to an embarrassing end when a routine pitstop took a disastrous turn as a wheel refused to come off.

A shameful mistake of Ferrari after Binotto said ‘no gamble’

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto made it clear: If there was the slightest concern Leclerc’s gearbox was at risk of not finishing the race, they wouldn’t take it. “We will not gamble,” he said. “What’s important after such a quali is to try to maximise the number of points for the championship. Despite these words, in 24 hours of available time, the Scuderia didn’t manage to make the P16 single-seat of Leclerc ready for race start.

Ferrari, a problem on the inspection check?

Leclerc crashed his car during the last lap on Quali. It was a very long time since a team, having the necessity to repair and inspect the car, didn’t succeed in the fixing operation of the car. We are not talking of ‘last minute problems’ which may occur sometimes (i.e. do you remember the spark problem on Raikkonen car in 2017?): the Italian team had a huge amount of time to take care of all the necessary inspections.

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So why Ferrari failed to check Leclerc’s car?

We’ll never get the right answer, but we can add more details. For example referring to what Micheal Masi said about the parts Ferrari asked to swap after the acciddent.

FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed Ferrari did not request to change any parts other than the ones they swapped. They did not ask to replace the part which eventually failed.

“Ferrari made a number of requests to change parts in parc ferme through the normal process after the incident in qualifying, which is run through the FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer and the technical department, and all of the requests that were made for changes of components in parc ferme were all approved,” said Masi.

Which component failed on Leclerc’s car preventing him to take part to Monaco GP 2021?

It has been reported that the failed occured on the left driveshaft. “Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time for the start of the race,” read a short statement from Ferrari.

Binotto continues to cover apparent faults.

“There is a clear regulations that you can only change parts which were damaged,” he explained. “So the parts we changed were really the ones damaged: The front wing, the front-right suspension and the rear right corner. Of course those were clearly damaged and we had got permission to do it. These was the defense of Mattia Binotto. However, the  real ‘Tifosi’ (Ferrari fans) know that there’s a big difference between taking and not taking part to a race GP. Enzo ‘the Drake’ would have been raging for these kind of excuses. Ferrari on this weekend had a lifetime opportunity (for this season) where both the car could have been on (or very close) to the Podium.

What is a driveshaft? The component which failed on Leclerc single-seat at Monaco GP 2021.

To better explain what is a driveshaft we can refer to a FSAE car. The power produced by theengine is transmitted to the wheel via a half-shaft, which is connected to the differential coupling at the inner end and tothe wheel at the outer end. Constant-velocity (CV) joints are used on both ends of the half-shaft, in order to provide a certain degree of angular displacement.

How driveshaft works.

The driveshaft is a cylinder, (for example made of steel or sometimes aluminum), which connects the rear differential and your transmission. It works together with an axle and CV joint to allow torque from the transmission to reach the wheels and drive your vehicle at a steady speed.

The role of a CV joint and driveshafts.

When you drive, your vehicle isn’t always gliding over smooth terrain. Even when a road seems steady, there are dips, ridges, grooves, and rocks to cause bouncing and shaking. The implementation of a CV joint helps the force caused by the terrain you drive to be more easily absorbed.

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Race results. F1 Monaco GP 2021.

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A tough debrief for Hamilton-Mercedes.

“We’ll look internally, have some good discussions and come back stronger the next race,” said Hamilton. “We obviously have some weak points with our car, and this race and the next race will be just as tough I think. For us, at this cold circuit it’s really hard to get the tyres working.

What Toto Wolff had said after Monaco GP 2021.

“We just had a very productive and tough debriefing, and those are exactly the days where we learn the most. This team has a brutal honesty and transparency within itself, and we didn’t get things right.”

In fact, the disappointment of the 7-time world champion comes from the engineers not have been following his direction for the set-up, given the problem of heating-up the tyres.

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How do Racing tyres work? What’s the working temperature? Check our article!

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