Ferrari accused of forcing Charles Leclerc to lie about crash

Charles Leclerc took full responsibility for crashing out at Paul Ricard.

Former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck has suggested that it was a car issue rather than a mistake from Charles Leclerc that caused him to crash out of the French Grand Prix, but that the team forced him to say otherwise. 

Disaster struck for the Italian team at Paul Ricard when Leclerc, leading the race, crashed out on Lap 18, allowing title rival Max Verstappen to claim victory. 

The Monegasque took full responsibility for the incident, saying that it was solely caused by a mistake on his part.

Stuck isn’t entirely convinced of that explanation though, saying that footage of the crash shows that wasn’t the case.

READ: Mattia Binotto makes surprising comment about Ferrari’s ‘mistakes’

Instead, he feels Mattia Binotto and co told Leclerc to take the blame to cover up an issue with the car.

The Scuderia have had many reliability issues this season, with engine failures forcing Leclerc to retire in Barcelona and Baku.

Stuck feels Binotto and his team forced their driver tell the press he made a mistake in France to hide the fact that they’d had such problems again, and isn’t sure how much longer the team principal has before he’s replaced.

“I don’t know how much longer Ferrari will give him credit,” he told Eurosport.

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 “For me, however, something else is still a mystery: Charles Leclerc’s departure from Le Castellet.

“If you look at the accident a hundred times: the oversteering didn’t come from him. I can imagine that he was instructed by the team to claim that he made a mistake even though there was a problem with the car.

“I wouldn’t rule that out. There is enormous pressure there.”

Reliability problems haven’t been the only thing putting Binotto under pressure this year, with the Italian and his team being heavily criticised for their race strategies that have caused Leclerc to drop behind Verstappen and other drivers on multiple occasions in the first half of the campaign.

READ: Christian Horner downplays importance of Ferrari misfortune

As a result, the Monegasque and his team trail the Dutchman and Red Bull by considerable margins in the standings, and Stuck isn’t sure that those margins can be closed.

“As long as the title is mathematically possible for them, Ferrari must not be written off,” he said. 

“The basis, however, is that they put an end to their mistakes. Technically, they are at a very high level. 

“But one thing must not be forgotten: driver Verstappen and team Red Bull are currently on a pedestal. It just works for them.”