CHARLES LECLERC’S F1 title challenge has been derailed by a series of mishaps and engine failures.
Charles Leclerc has retired from three 2022 races. (Image: GETTY) SUBSCRIBE Invalid email
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Mattia Binotto has admitted that the retirements of Charles Leclerc this season have left him feeling ‘depressed’ as Ferrari bid to address their erratic 2022 F1 campaign. The Monegasque man seemed set to launch a serious challenge for the title when he won the season opener in Bahrain, before notching second in Saudi Arabia and another victory in Australia.
But since then, his title aspirations have been derailed, with a power unit issue forcing his retirement whilst leading in Spain. And despite being on pole for his home race in Monaco, a questionable team strategy saw him end up fourth.
Further engine problems forced him to retire in Azerbaijan, and another pole position went to waste in France when Leclerc spun off early on. The series of mishaps have left him 80 points off leader Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, and facing a nigh on impossible task to deliver the Scuderia a first title since Kimi Raikkonen triumphed in 2007.
In fact, former Sauber F1 star Marcus Ericsson has described the 24-year-old’s season as being “out of control.” Teammate Carlos Sainz has also been hit by a number of DNF’s, failing to make the finish line in Australia, Emilia Romagna, Azerbaijan and Austria.
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Mattia Binotto says he has been left ‘depressed’ by Leclerc’s ill-luck. (Image: GETTY)
“It is very hard for two reasons,” Binotto told Autosport, when asked how he deals with the furore that comes from team mistakes being made in the public eye: “The first if we are speaking about engine failure, I managed that [department] myself in the past. And to see smoke is never great. So this is more a feeling of being depressed.
“No doubt when you see that we are leading the race, as Charles was leading in Baku and even Carlos [Sainz] I would say in Austria, they are problems that you would never like to see. I’m staying calm, but believe me, I’m depressed. It’s difficult and you take a few moments, trying to react, then you really need to think about the next steps.”
Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have also been the victim of some poor team strategy. (Image: GETTY)
All teams are currently in the midst of a four-week break in the F1 calendar, with the action resuming in Belgium on the weekend of August 26-28. And the Italian giants will be under pressure to get things right with their tactics now firmly in the spotlight.
Another former driver, Marc Surer, has also piled on the pressure, suggesting: “I’d fire all the strategy people. How you can get so much wrong – it’s unbelievable.”