Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc was handed a five-second time penalty just a few moments after the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, due to speeding in the pit lane when he came for a tyre change with two laps to go.
The five-second penalty meant Charles Leclerc finished in sixth place behind Fernando Alonso, and came after the Monegasque had been running comfortably in fifth: the idea behind the final pit stop was an attempt by Scuderia Ferrari to take the extra point for the fastest lap of the race in Belgium, but the plan backfired: Charles fell behind Fernando Alonso, regained the position on track but the time penalty sent him to P6. At the same time, the Monegasque driver was not able to put it a lap time fast enough to take the bonus point from Max Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc took the blame for exceeding the pit lane speed limit in the final pit stop, but Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto pointed out that a sensor failure due to a visor tear-off from Max Verstappen getting stuck in Charles Leclerc’s front-right brake duct meant the Maranello team’s measurements may have been slightly incorrect:
“It was really, really borderline,” Mattia Binotto explained at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix, when asked about what happened in the final moments of the race – “We were not using our normal sensors measuring the speed because they have failed during the overheating of the front-right due to the tear-off of Max, and our recovery [system], maybe it was not such accurate. I think overall, it has been an unlucky situation. It’s not because of that we stop deciding and being brave, to go for a fastest lap when conditions are there to go for it.” – he added.
Charles Leclerc was found by the stewards to have exceeded the 80km/h limit in the pit lane by 1 km/h, leading to the five-second time penalty. It therefore represented another setback for the Monegasque driver and the Maranello team on a day their title hopes took another big hit after Max Verstappen started the Belgian Grand Prix from 14th on the grid but was still able to take an easy win at Spa. The Dutchman now has a huge 98 point-lead over Charles Leclerc in the standings.
Mattia Binotto insisted the decision to go for the fastest lap with Charles Leclerc in the final laps was the right one: “It’s the opportunity to try to get the fastest lap, and there was the margin on Fernando to stop and try to go for it. I think it was the right decision, and we knew it would have been very close to Fernando. It just tight losing the position. But we knew as well he could have overtook him back because he had the fresher tyres, and that could have helped in terms of DRS and top line speed in the main straight. Once again, I think it was the right decision.” – he continued.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection from Puma! Enter the online Puma Store and shop securely! And get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
Scuderia Ferrari has suffered a handful of strategy setbacks during the 2022 Formula One campaign and in today’s race Charles Leclerc was asked several times about what tyres he should opt for by his race engineer. However, Mattia Binotto felt there was “no need at all” to rethink Ferrari’s approach to its strategy discussions.
“Obviously there is always a need to try and improve, and there are lessons learned which we are looking at and reflecting. But if I look back at the season, I think there are a lot of perceptions from outside compared to what are the true and the reality, I think sometimes we are not doing mistakes when it may have been perceived as a mistake. More than that, if I look at today, and I focus on today, I think that the call to stop him was the right call. You need to be brave in F1.” – the Ferrari boss concluded.
Leave a Reply