No engine problem for Leclerc in Baku, just forgetfulness

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc stands in the Ferrari garage. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Charles Leclerc stands in the Ferrari garage in Baku. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Charles Leclerc revealed that his loss of engine power on Friday in Baku was caused by his memory, not a problem.

Leclerc may have topped the second practice session ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but in the closing stages of that session, there was a great deal of concern from his side.

The Monegasque driver took to team radio to report a loss of power to the Ferrari crew, concerning considering the failure which they had in Barcelona, costing Leclerc the lead and most likely the victory as well.

Ferrari were confident nonetheless in Baku that the power unit was fine, and as it turned out, it was.

Rather than a gremlin creeping in, Leclerc explained that he had altered a setting and then forgot to reverse it, which had resulted in that loss of power.

“Actually it was no power unit problems,” he told reporters after FP2.

“It’s just me that forgot that I had changed something, which obviously made me lose power. But yes, nothing weird.”

Plenty of drivers were taking to the run-off during practice in Baku, triggering a plethora of yellow flags and wrecked push laps.

As such, Leclerc felt like no driver, himself included, was able to deliver a truly representative FP2 time on the soft tyre.

But the positives for Ferrari’s sessions, according to Leclerc, was that tyre degradation and race pace looked strong.

“We’ve had a hard Friday because overall I think we’ve improved quite a lot from FP1 to FP2, but there’s still another step that we have to do from today to tomorrow,” he said.

“I also feel Iike in FP2 nobody really put a lap in and neither did we – actually I think Max [Verstappen] and Carlos [Sainz] didn’t actually improve on the softs, so there’s still quite a lot of question marks.

“I think the positive to take away from today is that the tyre degradation was good and the race pace was very strong, so that is good.”

Despite Ferrari’s impressive performance, porpoising was a real issue for the Scuderia on Friday, the F1-75 bouncing away viciously down the straights.

And Sainz, who previously expressed concern about the long-term health implications of this bouncing, says the issue needs looking into as it appeared to be impacting him more than Leclerc.

“Well, it is certainly something I’m looking into because today for some reason I struggled quite a bit with this phenomenon that hasn’t been there in the last few races,” he said.

“And it looked particularly bad on my side of the garage, so it’s something I need to dig into the data with the engineers because it is something really annoying round here.

“It was taking out quite a bit of the confidence on the straights and on the braking, so hopefully for tomorrow we can solve it.”

That being said, Sainz did feel that he had followed a positive trend throughout the day.

“With these new cars you can feel a lot more the bumps and the challenges of this circuit,” he said.

“But it was a good day, I think we made good steps as a team, we moved in the right direction with the car and we certainly felt more competitive in FP2 than in FP1, together with feeling a bit more at home, so we’ll get there.”


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