Ferrari explains Monaco strategy errors

Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images

Ferrari explains Monaco strategy errors

Formula 1

Ferrari explains Monaco strategy errors

By

Ferrari has explained the decision-making behind its strategic calls that resulted in the team failing to win the Monaco Grand Prix despite locking out the front row.

Charles Leclerc started from pole at his home race with teammate Carlos Sainz second, giving the Scuderia a golden opportunity on a track that is almost impossible to overtake on. However, strategic errors dropped Leclerc from the lead to fourth place, while Sainz failed to win after he was jumped by Sergio Perez.

“With Carlos, we had a very good race,” said head of race strategy Inaki Rueda. “He started P2, and after the first round of stops he found himself leading the race, because although our initial plan was to try and cover Perez, we had the piece of mind to realize it was not going to work, and at the last second we told Carlos to stay out and he duly did so.

“Furthermore, when the time was right, we judged that the track could be quickest on dry tires, and Carlos was the first car on the lead path to stop for dry. This gave him a definite advantage. Unfortunately, he came out behind (Nicholas) Latifi, and this cost him over three seconds. Had he not been blocked by Latifi, we are quite confident he would have won the race.

“With Charles, we made two mistakes. The first one was to cover Perez. While with Carlos we realized very late in his lap that we could not cover Perez, with Charles we had a big gap and we thought we could cover Perez.

“At the start of his in-lap, Charles had over 10 seconds advantage on Perez, and we thought this advantage would shrink because Perez on the intermediate tires was lapping much faster than Charles on the extreme (wet). We had looked at other people, we had the live data from the cars, and we though that this gap would shrink from around 10 seconds to maybe five, four, three seconds at worst.

“As we were coming in, we saw the 10 seconds gap shrinking: seven, six, five, four, as Charles was coming through the Swimming Pool. The last timing reference we had indicated that he would come out one second ahead of Perez.

“What we did not expect was Perez to go nine seconds faster overall on that lap. Because of this, we lost the race with Charles.”

Rueda said a similar miscalculation came soon after that demoted Leclerc out of the podium places.

“The second mistake we made with Charles was a gap mistake again,” he said. “We wanted to pit both cars onto dry tires. On lap 21 we thought the track was good for dry tires, and at the same time we were bringing Carlos in to try to keep the lead of the race, we though ‘Let’s bring in Charles to try to undercut Perez so we can finish P1 and P2’.

“As we were coming in, we were looking at our tools and our gaps. The gap in between our cars was five seconds. It was tight for a ‘doppio’ (a double stop). A comfortable ‘doppio’ is done with six seconds in between the cars, but we thought five and a half seconds might be enough.

“As the cars got closer and closer to pit entry, the gap was narrowed and at the pit entry the gap was only three and a half seconds. We made a last-second attempt to try and tell Charles to stay out, but it was too late. He had already veered into the pit lane.

“In this ‘doppio’, Charles lost two seconds. This was crucial. Why? This is what allowed Verstappen to come out ahead of Charles a lap later.

“We come away from Monaco with a bittersweet taste in our mouth. We did some very good things, but we did some other things we’re not so proud of. We come back to the factory, we analyze what we did right, what we did wrong, we update our tools. our procedures, and we make sure we come back stronger from this experience.”

MX-5 Cup | Watkins Glen – Round 8

More RACER