Sky F1’s Martin Brundle believes the relationship between Charles Leclerc and Ferrari has been “severely tested” by the Scuderia’s failure to carry its driver to successive wins in Spain and in Monaco.
Leclerc lost the lead in the Drivers’ standings following an engine failure in Barcelona while comfortably leading the race, while the Monegasque lost a commanding lead at home last weekend in Monaco through the fault of his team’s ill-timed strategy calls.
After last Sunday’s race, a frustrated Leclerc acknowledged that “mistakes can happen” but that there had simply been “too many mistakes” made by the Ferrari pitwall in Monaco.
You must feel sorry for local boy Charles Leclerc,” Brundle wrote in his post-race column for Sky Sports.
“He aced pole position and comfortably led the race, only for strategy to consign him to fourth place.
“Pitting on lap 18 for intermediates, then again three laps later for slicks with a confused radio message meaning he had to wait briefly for his teammate Carlos Sainz to receive his slicks in a double-stacked pit stop.
“Therefore, he was initially undercut by Perez into second place and then delayed into fourth by the second stop.
“The mutual admiration and affection between Leclerc and Ferrari remind me of the relationship Michael Schumacher had with the team, but that has been severely tested on Leclerc’s side in eight days of two missed glorious victories and wasting the opportunity to regain the lead of the world championship,” added the ex-F1 driver.
Brundle’s Sky F1 colleague Damon Hill cautioned Leclerc over publicly criticizing his team, insisting Ferrari “will always win” if a relationship between team and driver falls apart.
“I think they are big enough and Ferrari understand,” Hill told Sky Sports News. “But you can only criticise your team so many times before there becomes a PR problem for the team.
“Ferrari are not the people who will give way here. If you’ve got a driver versus Ferrari, Ferrari will always win.