After Charles Leclerc initially blamed the throttle for his French GP crash, Mattia Binotto says there was “no issue with the throttle” at Paul Ricard.
Leclerc’s Sunday went from dreaming of spraying the victory champagne to rueing yet another retirement while running up in P1.
Having just weathered the early challenge of Max Verstappen, Leclerc binned it at Turn 11 when he spun off the track and nose first into the barriers.
His race was over with a scream and an “I cannot go on throttle” message to Ferrari.
— Christian Nimmervoll (@NimmervollF1) July 24, 2022
Leclerc’s comment came just two weeks after he suffered throttle problems on his way to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix, his accelerator pedal sticking in the latter part of the race.
Binotto, however, says Sunday was not a repeat.
“First there was no issue with the throttle itself, [it was] nothing to do with Austria,” the Ferrari team boss said.
“What happened is a genuine mistake of Charles which are things that may happen, and I think they do not take off how good he is as a driver and as a fantastic driver. But it was a genuine mistake.
“What you heard on the radio was about when he was in reverse gear trying to get out from the barriers.
“There is a strategy, without going in to all the details, that [meant] he was on the throttle, but didn’t feel sufficient torque from the engine. It was nothing wrong. Simply the strategy there.”
The Italian went onto say Ferrari had already taken action to resolve the Monégasque driver’s Austrian issues.
“Normally we’re not discussing much about details on what’s happening, but what happened in Austria is very simple,” he said.
“There was a damper which was slightly sticky. Not more than that. And we already put in place some actions to avoid it for the future.”
Leclerc subsequently held up his hand, admitting it was a driver error as he pushed too hard.
“It’s just trying to push too much and I lost the rear,” he said.
“It’s been a very difficult weekend for me, I struggled a lot with the balance on the car like obviously [Paul] Ricard, but when it’s warm like this, it’s very difficult to be consistent and [it’s] been very difficult to put laps together and I did a mistake at the wrong moment.”
He left France trailing Max Verstappen by 63 points in the title race.
Highlights from the French Grand Prix
Did Max Verstappen win the French Grand Prix, or did Ferrari and Charles Leclerc throw it away? Probably a bit of both.