Charles Leclerc will not start Spanish GP on the grid as FIA release statement

Spanish Grand Prix preview at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Charles Leclerc will not be able to start the Spanish Grand Prix from the grid after breaching FIA rules after qualifying. Leclerc had qualified P19 after a dismal Saturday saw the Ferrari star knocked out in Q1. 

Ferrari opted to change the suspension setup from the one which had taken part in the session which promoted the FIA to intervene. The changes were approved by the governing body but the 25-year-old will be forced to start from the pits. 

An FIA statement read: “The setup was modified whilst the car was in parc fermé with the approval of the Technical Delegate further to a written request. The suspension setup has been changed from that previously used in qualifying. 

“The competitor is therefore required to start the race from the pit lane per article 40.9 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

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Leclerc stressed there was something wrong with the car as team-mate Carlos Sainz comfortably made it into Q3.

He said: “The left-hand corners were really bad with the rear-right, and I thought it was the tyres. So, we went for a new set of tyres. But on the new set, it was exactly the same feeling – right-hand corners were really good, and left-hand corners were completely off. We’ll have to check, but I would be very surprised if we don’t find something on the car.”  

Despite the issues, Leclerc still appeared shocked that he didn’t have the pace to get out of the bottom five. Moments after the chequered flag, Leclerc moaned over team radio: “We are out right? Unbelievable.”

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But, the team were unable to do a deep dive due to parc ferme rules which restrict teams from tampering with cars between sessions. The changes to the rear end were therefore made as a precaution to allow Leclerc to move up the field on Sunday.

Ferrari team boss Fredirc Vasseur confirmed the team would be looking into Leclerc’s issue in more detail. He explained: “​​We are investigating Charles’ problem: he was complaining a lot about the car in the left hand corners. It’s a shame and it shows how close qualifying is now between the teams. 

“In the past, two or three top teams could get through Q2 on the medium tyre, but that’s no longer possible as the gaps are so tight and the slightest issue, like the one Charles had today, and you are out.”

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