Charles Leclerc agrees with George Russell as he urges Ferrari to immediately ‘solve’ reliability troubles

Charles Leclerc won the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday following a chaotic weekend of action.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc tends to agree with Mercedes’ George Russell on the issue of the presence of two race directors in Formula 1.

Michael Masi was removed as race director after the controversial season finale in 2021 that saw Max Verstappen overtake Sir Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Australian had not technically broken any regulations, because they were rather vague when it came to Safety Car procedure, so these were changed ahead of the new season.

The wording of “any” lapped runners being allowed to pass the Safety Car was changed to “all,” hopefully leading to more consistency as the rule is now a lot tighter.

READ: Ferrari boss reveals why he stopped watching 2022 Austrian GP as he addresses Max Verstappen challenge

Less consistent is constantly alternating between different stewards at different races, and the likelihood of them all reading the rules in the same way has always been relatively low.

The FIA’s report into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last season noted a high turnover of staff who are on short contracts, so new employees are constantly being brought in to assess, understand and apply the regulations.

It was evident in the report that this was something new president Mohammed ben Sulayem was keen to change but, if anything, he seems to have added to that problem.

Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas have been appointed as co-race directors, and they alternate between races; ben Sulayem has even floated the idea of adding a third.

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This, coupled with a range of different stewarding combinations, is not entirely conducive to consistency from race control.

11 rounds into the 2022 season, some of the drivers seem to be growing impatient with the lack of clarity over what is acceptable and what is not.

Fernando Alonso said ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend that he was “confused” as to why Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc had not been punished for the same indiscretions as he was found guilty of in previous races.

The Spaniard felt that Leclerc had been moving across on the Hangar Straight – for which Alonso was penalised in Canada – and he was adamant that Perez had left the track and gained an advantage, the same indiscretion which earned the Alpine driver a time penalty in Miami.

Further, track limits as a whole in Austria were stringently judged, whereas there was hardly ever a mention of it at the British Grand Prix beforehand – or any races in 2022 for that matter.

Russell indicated ahead of the race in Spielberg that it might be wise to “stick to one race director,” as Wittich and Freitas look in danger of losing control of the drivers.

Sebastian Vettel was given a suspended fine for walking out of the drivers’ meeting on Friday when his colleagues spent more time bickering about driving standards than talking about the weekend, and the stewards’ handling of Perez’s qualifying penalty was a sign that all is still not well in F1’s hierarchy.

Leclerc conceded that he does not have a definitive answer to the issues surrounding race control, but shedding one of the race directors may be a start.

“I think we have always strived for consistency in decision-making,” he said.

READ: Carlos Sainz criticises marshals after explosive Ferrari engine failure

“We always strive for the best, but perhaps the presence of two race directors complicates the task.

“Is it possible to achieve a good level of consistency? I don’t think so, and at the moment I don’t have a solution for this problem. 

“However, I think with one race director maybe it will be a little easier to solve such problems.”

Leclerc went on to win the Austrian Grand Prix after the briefing debacle, but it might have been a one-two had it not been for another engine failure for Carlos Sainz.

The engine blowout was Ferrari’s fourth reliability failure of the season, so there is work to be done in Maranello to prevent further problems.

“Of course the meeting is a concern, we need to find the cause and make sure this doesn’t happen again,” added Leclerc.

“In the last five races I had problems twice, and now it happened to Carlos, the team must solve the problem as quickly as possible.”

The Monegasque would experience a scare of his own when his throttle began to feel strange, but he held off Verstappen after a “very nervous” final few laps.

The win saw him leapfrog Perez for second in the Drivers’ Championship after the Mexican retired following contact on the opening lap with Russell, and he is now 38 points adrift of leader Verstappen.