‘Charles Leclerc can’t afford another crash… but really wants to win in Monaco’

Oliver Harden
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, looks sad. Bahrain, March 2023.

Charles Leclerc looking rather sad in the Ferrari garage. Bahrain, March 2023.

Formula 1 commentator Peter Windsor believes Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc must strike a fine balance at the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix following an error-strewn weekend in Miami.

Leclerc returns to his home race in Monte Carlo next weekend after a up-and-down run of results at the start of the 2023 F1 season.

The Monegasque retired from two of the first three races, but set two pole positions over the course of a sprint weekend in Azerbaijan before securing Ferrari’s first podium finish of the season.

However, Leclerc crashed twice in less than 24 hours at almost exactly the same spot Miami in FP1 and again qualifying, and in the grand prix was beaten by team-mate Carlos Sainz en route to a disappointing seventh.

In the aftermath of the Florida race, Windsor pinned the blame for Leclerc’s crashes on Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, whom he claimed did not manage his driver effectively enough after the initial error in Friday practice.

And speaking via a recent YouTube stream, the former Ferrari team manager believes the emphasis should be on Vasseur and other members of the 25-year-old’s entourage to have a quiet word in Leclerc’s ear ahead of Monaco.

“Poor old Charles,” he said.

“He’ll be thinking after Miami: ‘Can’t hit the wall at Monaco again, I’ve done enough of that… but I want to be quick! I want to win Monaco!’

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“I just hope he’s got good management around him who can put his mind at the right sort of level, which is: ‘Let the track come to you.

“‘It’s a street circuit. It’ll be a very different circuit on Sunday to the one you drive on Friday morning.

“‘Let the track come.

“‘Don’t push harder than the track wants you to go and let that time come with the tyres and the grip and be patient.’

“Patience is what Monaco’s all about and I suspect that’s the one thing that Charles at the moment doesn’t have a lot of.

“But I hope Freddy Vasseur after Miami has thought: ‘Hmm, I didn’t really get that right.

“‘I shouldn’t have allowed that to happen and we need to make sure Charles is in good shape for Monaco.'”

Leclerc has famously never stood on the podium in Monaco, where in 2021 he memorably crashed in qualifying having already set a time good enough for pole position.

Although repairs were made, the discovery of a driveshaft issue on the pre-race reconnaissance lap forced him to withdraw.

Leclerc was back on pole at the principality last season and led comfortably in the wet in the opening phase of the race, but confusion during the pit stops dropped him to fourth as Ferrari’s 2022 title challenge started to falter.