Charles Leclerc says he suffered the same issue that caused Marcus Ericsson to crash heavily during practice for the Italian Grand Prix but is confident Sauber has found a fix.
Ericsson’s DRS stayed open when he hit the brakes at the end of the pit straight, which pitched the Swede’s car into the barrier at high speed before it rolled numerous times as his car dug into the grass on the outside of the track. Ericsson was able to walk away from the incident but Leclerc says he easily could have had a similar incident himself.
“It was quite tricky obviously because we would arrive at the end of the straight and we didn’t really know whether it would close or not,” Leclerc said. “I had the same issue but I have been a bit luckier with it, it closed a bit earlier than Marcus.
“Then we found the issue, we resolved it but that required a bit of a sacrifice in performance. We know what to do for tomorrow to not have this problem and be at full performance so there’s still a bit of potential, and I think the rhythm was good today so it’s looking good for tomorrow. I think the main thing for today is Marcus is fine and looking at the crash it was not a given.”
Asked to clarify if speed will have to be sacrificed on Saturday, Leclerc added: “Today yes, tomorrow no.
“Tomorrow we think we’ve found a way to resolve this issue without it costing us some performance. It’s minor anyway but we think we have found it.”
Having gone out twice after Ericsson’s crash only to find he was still suffering a DRS problem, Leclerc said he retained full trust in his team once a fix was found.
“You just focus on the job and forget what happened before. I have full trust in my guys and I know that they are doing the job. If they tell me that it will be fine on the next run it means that it will be. I think that they did and in the end we found the issue, we finished the day on a high and good to see Marcus is fine too.”
Ericsson did not speak to media — with the team claiming he was not at the track when he was actually relaxing in the motorhome — but team principal Frederic Vasseur says further work will take place overnight to establish the exact cause of the crash.
“We are still investigating precisely but as you saw on the TV, the DRS stayed open on Turn 1 when he hit the brakes,” Vasseur said. “We had the same issue with Charles on the second stint, so we stopped the car to fix the problem so we will be on the safe side.
“This is the first time [this has happened] and probably due to the developed downforce for today. It is a new rear wing, but it is not the wing, just the DRS flap.”