Formula 1 Racing

Leclerc explains issue that led to setting no time in SQ3 in Austria

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc’s failure to set a lap time in Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix sprint SQ3 was caused by an anti-stall problem aboard his Ferrari cutting its engine.

Leclerc pulled out of the queue for sprint qualifying’s top 10 runners as they massed at the end of the pitlane with the clocking ticking down at the Red Bull Ring, where Max Verstappen would go on to claim the top spot on the grid for the first of two races at his team’s home race this weekend.

Once out of the fast lane, Leclerc was able to get his SF-24 going again and he made it out onto the track for an out-lap adrift of the rest of the pack.

This meant when he came around to start what would have been his sole SQ3 flying lap the session was already over.

Leclerc was therefore confined to 10th place as the only SQ3 runner not to set a time, which afterwards he described as “disappointing” despite feeling Ferrari was not “super strong” in any case here.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said of what had caused the anti-stall and engine issue in the pits. “I was in the pitlane and I got the anti-stall and then everything switched off.

“The team told me that we will speak when I’ll be back in the garage, but obviously I went straight from the car to here so I don’t know.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

When asked what he might have been able to achieve had he put in an SQ3 run, with his team-mate Carlos Sainz finishing fifth in that session, Leclerc replied: “We weren’t super strong, but definitely better than P10.

“So, it’s a bit disappointing. But, yeah, we’ll look at what happened and tomorrow we’ll try to have a good sprint race to try and come back in the front.”

After crossing the finish line a second after the red lights had come on to end SQ3, Leclerc had initially angrily demanded answers from his Ferrari engineer Bryan Bozzi about the problem.

The exchange went as follows:

Leclerc: What the hell happened, guys?
Ferrari: We took the anti-stall.
Leclerc: Ah, thank you, but the anti-stall kind of stopped the engine. The engine switched off.
Leclerc: I don’t know if you noticed? There was no engine. Ignition went to off. So, I had to redo the whole thing.
Ferrari: Copy, box, and we’ll talk about it inside the garage.

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