Ferrari hold meeting with Leclerc to ‘fix’ quali strategy fallout
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 21st June, 2023 - 4:29am
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has met with Charles Leclerc to clarify the calls made during Canadian Grand Prix qualifying that left the Monégasque driver fuming.
Leclerc felt he was left in “a shitty situation” during Q2 as the teams found themselves torn by opting for an early soft-tyre run or keeping faith with the intermediates that had been used in Q1.
Williams made a bold strategy call by sending out Alex Albon on softs at the beginning of the session, with the Thai-British driver making the gamble pay off by setting the quickest time.
Leclerc had initially asked for the red-striped Pirellis on his out lap but was overruled by the pit wall as they felt it was more prudent he obtain a banker lap on the inters, particularly with more rain forecast.
By the time Leclerc was switched to softs, the conditions were just starting to worsen, leaving him unable to set a representative lap and missing out on the top-10 shoot-out.
Post-qualifying, Leclerc conceded to being “frustrated”, claiming his life was being made far too difficult by the strategy calls which have also cost him on numerous occasions in the past.
Addressing the thorny topic, Vasseur confirmed that talks initially took place with Leclerc post-qualifying, with a follow-up meeting on Tuesday.
“We have to think about what happened (in qualifying),” said Vasseur. “We will have a meeting to discuss it on Tuesday to fix it. You can always do a better job.”
Vasseur, however, feels Leclerc was not in full possession of the facts from his perspective at the time.
“It is also true that the picture that you have 10 seconds after quali is not always the best one,” added the Frenchman.
“We had a good discussion with Charles. We gave him the global picture of the situation, what happened during the session, and he was much more calm.
“I think the confusion came because perhaps he didn’t get this global picture of the quali. We probably have to improve some areas but he has to put himself in our shoes sometimes.
“We can’t say that we did a good job (in qualifying). I think the pace was mega, but we finished 10 and 11. It means something went wrong.”
Vasseur has insisted that he and the team felt it crucial Leclerc at least post a time on the board on the inters rather than switching to the slicks straight away.
“He was crystal clear but it was not his choice,” added Vasseur.
“At that stage, the rain was coming, and we wanted to put a lap on the board as soon as possible.
“If you pit at the end of lap one to put on a set of softs, then you have two laps to warm up the tyres and you postpone your first flying lap by five minutes.
“It was not the strategy at this stage.”