Harsh criticism of Charles Leclerc after a blunder: How does Ferrari handle the pressure on the title?

Updated on 26/4/2022 at 16:22

  • Ironically, at the home game in Imola, nothing coincides with Ferrari, Scuderia experiencing a debacle.
  • Charles Leclerc in particular had to take harsh criticism for his mistake.
  • The anxious question that Tifosi asks himself: will Ferrari now become an unpredictable diva again?

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There are things that never change, they are part of the “laws” of motorsport. Like the mystery that Ferrari likes to fail tragically. The racing team fascinates fans all over the world, but as a notorious diva, he also regularly drives the tifosi to madness. As now at the fourth race of the season in Imola. The race weekend was a strong reminder that Scuderia likes to come in its own way. It was a warning shot that the battle for the title will not be a sure success.

The Italian press is an indicator of how bad the weekend went. She did not leave good hair on Ferrari – especially the spearhead Charles Leclerc got his fat off. “Leclerc, you win the World Cup by avoiding certain mistakes,” wrote Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Scandal for team manager Binotto”

The two-time winner of the season “broke down”, assessed La Repubblica. And Tuttosport said: “Too much does not work: the start, the second pilot, pitstops. A disgrace to team manager Binotto, who had hoped for a better performance ahead of Tifosi.”

Actually because starting places two and four were promising, but a lot went wrong after that. On the one hand, Leclerc and Carlos Sainz start, who were soon pushed out of the race by Daniel Ricciardo in McLaren. It was not the Spaniard’s fault, but he had already spun in qualifying. With him, the pressure from a winning car has been felt for some time. The icing on the cake was Leclerc’s blunder in the final stages as he spun off the field undefeated and threw third place and a total of seven points. He was only sixth.

“The spinning should not have happened. I was too greedy and paid the price for it,” Monegasse said. He knows that in Formula 1 there is a short way from “Hero to Zero”, especially with Ferrari, it is after all not his first mistake. The big difference to usual: So far, the consequences in the front midfield were manageable, but now he is in the title fight. He also knows, “This must not happen again!”

The key to a World Cup

Experts agree: Leclerc should not have made this mistake. “He just wants too much – in a situation that is not necessary at all. He should have agreed to take third place home. That is also the key to a World Cup,” said Sky expert Ralf Schumacher, who believes that the bummer at Ferrari can still have internal consequences: “It needs to be discussed.” Because Leclerc and Sainz are both experienced and well-paid race runners who failed to remain flawless over a race weekend, Schumacher said, “It’s frustrating for the team.”

Former world champion Nico Rosberg was also tough on Sky with Leclerc. “Such a thing should not happen to him, especially if you are fighting for a World Cup against Max Verstappen. He should not turn away from himself, also because there was no pressure from behind. He actually only had pressure going on. Forward “would overtake Perez. It should not happen, it was not good,” said the German.

Can Leclerc do that for an entire season?

Former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger also made it clear that one could not afford such mistakes in such a tough championship: “He was completely alone and had all the time in the world,” he said on ServusTV. The intriguing question that Berger is not the only one who has asked himself: “Leclerc is a fast pilot, no doubt. But now we have to see how good he is in a title fight for an entire season.”

That’s the issue: Leclerc has been able to show off its impressive capabilities over and over again in its three high-level Ferrari years. The enormous pressure from a title fight, the exorbitantly rising expectations, the boiling emotions surrounding Ferrari when it comes to winning the title for the first time since 2007 – all this the 24-year-old is experiencing for the first time. Before him, completely different pilots failed due to the title pressure in Maranello, for example Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel in the last ten years.

Learning from mistakes

“It has always been my strength to learn from mistakes. It will not happen again,” Leclerc said. One thing is clear: He must not allow himself more mistakes, his lead after four races over Imola winner Verstappen is 27 points. However, the propulsion belongs to Red Bull Racing.

But one thing is also clear: It’s not just his fault. How does the racing team handle the setback? How is the further development of Ferrari going? How does the mood change when Red Bull permanently eliminates the initial reliability issues, and the performance of Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s cars continues to improve after a one-two? It would not be the first time that relaxed ease has turned into a cramped desperation at Ferrari.

Team manager Mattia Binotto remains calm and explains that one can still keep a smile on one’s face, “because the season is still long and we still have a development ahead of us. And the drivers will have opportunities to do better again”. Or even worse. Because some things are known to never change.

Sources used:

  • TV broadcasts by Sky and ServusTV
  • press conferences

Charles Leclerc remains the target of all things in Formula 1. In his Ferrari, the 24-year-old also wins in Australia. Max Verstappen does not finish in the third race for the second time. Also for Sebastian Vettel, everything is over long before the checkered flag.

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