Ferrari respond to Ralf Schumacher’s latest criticism of Charles Leclerc

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc and Fred Vasseur speaking on the grid. Canada June 2023

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur speaking on the grid. Canada June 2023

Fuming with Ferrari after qualifying in Montreal, Ralf Schumacher has put the blame for Charles Leclerc strategy complaints on the driver as he feels that’s his “responsibility”.

Qualifying on a drying Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday afternoon, Leclerc was out on track on intermediate tyres in Q2 when his rivals pitted for slick tyres.

Ferrari told him to stay out, he argued that a dry line was already formed, but was again told to stay out and set a time. He did so and then pitted for slick tyres but that meant he didn’t have time to get them into the right window.

Finishing the session 11th fastest, he yelled “come on” at the team while later telling the media that there have been too many similar mistakes in the past from Ferrari.

Schumacher, however, believes the driver needs to own his part.

“As a driver, something like this would not have happened to me,” the German told Sky Deutschland. “As the driver I made the decision as to when to come in.

“I think it’s the responsibility of the man behind the wheel. Only I can see out there how wet or dry it is.

“It’s Leclerc’s fault, especially since both Ferrari drivers make too many mistakes.”

The six-time grand prix winner also isn’t impressed with the way Leclerc and Carlos Sainz carry on over the radio as it shows a disconnection between the drivers and the team.

“I also don’t like the radio communication at Ferrari, since Sainz and Leclerc are yelling quite often,” he added.

“It gives the impression that drivers and engineers are at odds with each other. Ferrari should change that.”

Vasseur has defended his driver saying he understands that Leclerc had his “own opinion” about what should happen. recommends

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But even then, he insists, the driver has to listen to the team as they “don’t see the big picture” while sitting in the car.

“These were not accusations,” Vasseur said of Leclerc’s criticism. “He just had a different perception of the situation from the car.

“It’s always good to have feedback from the drivers, but we have a decision at the command post because we have the information.

“We had a very good pace in practice and it made sense to make that decision. When you’re in the car you don’t see the big picture. You can have your own opinion.

“We had a good explanation after qualifying on Saturday night. The perception was different, but it wasn’t a completely wrong decision.”

Ferrari rebounded from Saturday’s troubles, which included a three-place grid penalty for Carlos Sainz for impeding Pierre Gasly in qualifying, to finish fourth and fifth.

“It was a good weekend overall,” said the team boss. “When you start from P10 and P11 and finish P4 and P5, it’s that’s good.

“It’s a nice reward for the team. We’re rewarding ourselves and now you can see the light at the end of the tunnel that we’re developing the car in the right direction.

“I know very well that Montreal isn’t the right track to go to to judge that. The track is very special, it’s a lot about the kerbs and it’s difficult to drive here. Overall, we did a good job.

“Now we’ll see in Austria in two weeks. If we want a better result, we have to have a perfect weekend with no mistakes.”

Ferrari will bring further upgrades to the car at the Red Bull Ring.

“We will bring something,” Vasseur acknowledged. “It is now clear that we are competitive in qualifying – no matter which track.

“What is missing now is to get a clean weekend. Then it is so tight when if you don’t get it all together, you lose.”