Scuderia Ferrari has announced minutes before ahead of today's Monaco Grand Prix that Charles Leclerc will not start this afternoon's race as a driveshaft problem was discovered too late to fix before the start.
The qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix ended in a somewhat unusual way after the final run saw Leclerc clip the barrier at the exit of the Swimming Pool, breaking his suspension before cannoning into the wall and bringing out the red flags. The incident prevented his main rival Max Verstappen from improving his previous lap time with the Monegasque ending the session fastest despite his crash.
However, the severity of the crash meant that there were still question marks whether the crash incurred a grid drop penalty for a possible gearbox change.
Ferrari carried out an initial analysis yesterday following the qualifying session which showed no damage to the gearbox unit. However, Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that his outfit would not take any risks should it discover any reliability concerns.
“No, we will not gamble,” the Swiss-Italian added. “I think for us what's important after such a quali is to try to maximise the number of points for the championship, and obviously to maximise we need to finish the race. So reliability is key, reliability remains the priority. If we have any doubts, we will certainly change and fix it," he said.
The team carried out an in-depth analysis in the evening and this morning and gave the all-clear to the Monegasque's gearbox on Sunday morning.
"Following further in depth checks this morning, no apparent defects were found on Charles Leclerc’s gearbox, therefore the Monegasque driver will start today’s race from pole position, as per the qualifying result," said the team via a tweet.
UPDATE— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 23, 2021
Following further in depth checks this morning, no apparent defects were found on @Charles_Leclerc’s gearbox, therefore the Monegasque driver will start today’s race from pole position, as per the qualifying result.#essereFerrari🔴 #MonacoGP🇲🇨 pic.twitter.com/B4pk6MV6kb
Still, after the installation lap, less than 10 minutes before the start of the race, Ferrari had to revise their statement, admitting they had missed a problem with a driveshaft that could not be sorted in time.