From his first year in Ferrari to the 2023 Brazil GP, Charles Leclerc has a long list of unfortunate events. But is it really just bad luck?
Charles Leclerc, after his DNS in Brazil, complained about his usual misfortune. Later, during his interviews, he said to the microphones of Sky Sports Italy that he should do a religious trip. For a driver who stated to not being superstitious, this is surely an unexpected statement. But looking at the 2023 season, Leclerc has all the reasons to believe in misfortune.
Actually, the 2023 Formula 1 season isn’t the only one where bad luck seems to follow the Monégasque. Since his debut in Ferrari, back in 2019, mechanical issues, failed strategies and race accidents happened to him. In some cases, these caused the loss of important podiums and wins. Here’s some of them since his first year in red, but can we really talk about bad luck or there’s something more?
"A season to forget"
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 5, 2023
More and more mechanical problems for car 16
Mechanical issues can happen to every driver on the grid, that’s a granted. However, Leclerc definitely had some troubles. And to make things worse, most of them costed him wins and podiums.
Back to Bahrain 2019, his first race in Ferrari, he started from pole position, but he lost the position to Sebastian Vettel, in Ferrari back then. Later in the race, he went back to lead, however the car started to lose power due to a short circuit in the control unit. He had to give up his position to Lewis Hamilton and then to Valtteri Bottas in Mercedes. Charles Leclerc still ended up on the podium, his first in F1.
In Spain 2022, he qualified in p1 and lead the race until lap 27. The Ferrari had an engine problem and the team had to retire the car. The same thing happened in Baku, when his pole and a good strategy seemed to lead to a sure win. The expectations were disappointed when another engine problem resulted in another DNF.
Once again in Bahrain, at the beginning of the 2023 season, another possible podium was lost. Leclerc was third in the race when the engine shut down at lap 41.
Events that costed a championship
At the beginning of the 2022, Charles Leclerc lead the Driver Championship. However, both the driver and the team made some errors that resulted in losing the Title.
In France, on the Paul Ricard track, he took the pole position and then lead the GP for the first 17 laps. Before the pit stop, Leclerc made a mistake at the Beausset and the car did a spin, ending against the barriers. It was the third DNF of the season after Azerbaijan and Spain. Max Verstappen’s win increased the gap between the two in the Championship, with the Ferrari driver at 63 points behind.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) July 24, 2022
In Monza, once again he was on pole and kept the position at the start. When Sebastian Vettel’s DNF caused a Virtual Safety Car. The Scuderia called him to the boxes, anticipating his pit stop for medium compounds. But when he went back on the track, the VSC was already over, and he finished the race in p2, without getting the chance to overtake Verstappen. At this point, the Red Bull driver was at 116 ahead of the Monégasque in the standings.
At the end of the season, Leclerc was second in the championship while the Dutchman won his second World Title.
The Monaco’s curse
Tifosis started to talk about a curse on the knight of the Scuderia for his ill luck in Monte Carlo, his home race.
Back in 2019, Leclerc didn’t make to Q2 because the team didn’t send him back on track in time for another lap. He was 16th on the starting grid. On Sunday, on lap 9, there was a contact with Nico Hulkenberg which made the Ferrari spins and touch the barriers with the right rear tire. Later on, the home hero had to retire after some damages on the floor.
In 2021, during the qualifying session, the number 16 hit the barrier at the Piscine with the right front tire, and he lost control of the car. He still ended up on pole, but couldn’t race on Sunday for problems at his driveshaft.
In 2022, Charles Leclerc started on pole once again and things seemed to go in the right direction. This up until lap 27 when the Scuderia decided for a double pit strategy for him. He pitted for inter tyres and went back on track behind Sergio Perez. Later, the team called him to the boxes, but then told him to stay outside. Unfortunately, the driver was already in the pit lane. He crossed the finish line 4th and lost the win and the podium.
During the 2023 Monaco GP, he had a 3 place grid penalty for an impeding on Lando Norris in the Tunnel during qualifying. Apparently, his race engineer didn’t notify him of Norris’ position in time and the Ferrari driver had to get away from the McLaren’s path at the last second. So, even if Leclerc qualified 3rd, he started his home race in p6.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 27, 2023
“Why am i so unlucky?”
The 2023 season is coming to an end, which is probably good news for Charles Leclerc and the Scuderia Ferrari. This was a very difficult season for the team of Maranello and its drivers. But things aren’t getting better for number 16. In the last leg, the American one, before the grand finale in Abu Dhabi, Leclerc had a disqualification and a DNS in the span of two races.
In Austin, he got a pole position, but a miscalculation from the team lead to losing a win and a podium. The Scuderia decided for a one pit stop strategy for him. The tyre degradation costed him some positions and Leclerc crossed the line in p6. Not only that, but his car was checked by the FIA at the end of the race. They have found that the plank thickness of the Ferrari was under the minimum allowed. Following the regulations, the FIA had to disqualify him.
In São Paulo in Brazil, the driver started from the first row, behind Verstappen. Yet, during the formation lap, the car had a problem with the hydraulic system. The engine went out and the Ferrari, after a spin, hit the protective barriers. The team radio after the accident showed all Leclerc’s disappointment.
After these events, Charles Leclerc became the second driver with a long list of poles (22 after Mexico 2023) that didn’t lead to a win after René Arnoux between 1979 and 1982.