“Everywhere”: Charles Leclerc talks about Ferrari’s power unit issue in the Canadian Grand Prix

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on, on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc claims the power issue thwarted his ability to push the car to its limits in the 2024 Canadian GP. Speaking to onsite media in Montreal, the Ferrari driver felt that sorting the engine issue clouded a majority of his race from which he retired.

Starting 11th on the grid, Charles Leclerc started to complain on his radio about power issues from the opening laps of the race. After pitting to change tires under the first safety car around lap 25, the Monegasque dropped places on the grid but complained about a similar issue.

He was seen coming into the pits again at lap 29 to fix the power issue and switched to slicks when the track had not completely dried up. The switch to hard tires proved wrong and he was brought in again at lap 32 to switch back to intermediate tires. By then the majority of his race was at the back of the grid and he retired from the race at lap 43.

According to Charles Leclerc, it is unclear what the issue with his power unit was. He reckons he kept losing approximately a second or more on every lap. He explained that he had to make multiple switches to reset the engine, making it a frustrating race at large. The 25-year-old felt that their performance in the wet conditions was much better compared to when the track dried up.

Describing the power range in which the issue began, Charles Leclerc said:

“Everywhere yeah as soon as I was going on power, there was an issue.”

Further explaining his frustrating race, he added:

“I don't know what happened. Obviously, we were losing a second to I mean, at first I think it was six tenths, but then some laps it was 1. 2 (seconds), sometimes it was 1 .5, sometimes it was 1 second. So every time I was going on power, I didn't know what I would get. And that was, first of all, very difficult to drive, very frustrating because in the straight I will get overtaken by everybody and very annoying.”
“Because I had like 10 or 15 switches per laps to change to try and reset everything and to try to make it work. But in the first part of the race I think we did quite a good job managing that and because we were in very wet conditions or wet conditions. We could recover in corners so I was still believing we could finish in points but then as soon as it dried up I was sitting back in the in the straight so that was it.”

Charles Leclerc felt that Ferrari's pitstop to slicks was the only chance to score points

Charles Leclerc reckoned that the pitstop to gamble to a set of slick tires amid the race was their only chance to score points. However, he felt the engine issues thwarted any chances of being in the points. The Ferrari driver also claimed that ninth or tenth was the highest they could have finished at.

Overviewing their performance over the weekend at large, the 25-year-old suggested that tire temperatures were the key issue. He feels that tire preparation remains a concern, which compromised their performance in the qualifying.

Asked about the frustrating pitstop to the hard tires, Charles Leclerc said:

“Yeah, it felt annoying, but at the end that was the best we could do at that point. I knew we would finish out of the points whatever happened with that issue, so we had to try something with the slicks. I was more frustrated about the whole situation and the engine performance in the straights, than the actual choice. Because if that was working out maybe that was our only chance to maybe finish 9th 10th and without that working out or staying in the position we were in before we will have lost the only point.”

Asked if maybe a used set of soft tires from Q2 would have made the difference in qualifying itself, Charles Leclerc said:

“I mean, again, there was, I think, lots of people have asked me this question, but we had used one more set compared to the others and we had no sets left at the end of Q2. So the only thing we could have done is maybe to put scrub at first and then the new. But to be honest, when you look at everybody, It wasn't making a huge difference. I mean Mercedes did the pole on scrubs. So I don't think that was the biggest problem I think the biggest problem was mostly the fact that we were on fast whatever laps we were doing on whatever tires We were slow and this we've got to look into it. I think it's more tire preparation once again because We have seen some really good surprises of some teams and some others that weren't as good including us.”

For Ferrari, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz retiring from the race was a dent in terms of championship points, especially against McLaren. The Spanish driver retired after making contact with Alex Albon during the race.

Fortunately, Sergio Perez crashing out of the race has not allowed Red Bull Racing to pull out a significant gap in the championship. In the constructors championship, Ferrari are still second but McLaren have closed in. In the driver’s championship, Lando Norris is only seven points away from the Monegasque.

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