A Ferrari mess-up may cost Charles Leclerc his place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc could face disqualification from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a fuel discrepancy. Just over 20 minutes before the race was due to start the FIA released a statement regarding the Prancing Horse’s vehicle.
Technical delegate Jo Bauer’s report said: “The fuel declaration of car number 16 was checked before the car left the pit-lane.
“There was a significant difference between the declaration of the team and the amount of fuel inside the car.
“As this is in non-compliance with TD/12-19 I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”
Leclerc started third on the grids and is vying to finish in that position in the final standings ahead of Max Verstappen.
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But the 22-year-old’s hands may be tied if he is disqualified from the final race of the 2019 season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that is the exact fate which awaits Leclerc.
“Theoretically, I can’t see how he won’t be,” Horner told Sky Sports. “It’s a technical reg.”
Leclerc nonetheless began the race and got off to a fine start around the Yas Marina Circuit.
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Leclerc did not have the best of preparations heading into Abu Dhabi after Ferrari “messed up” in their final lap of qualifying.
“We knew we were not too competitive today, especially losing a lot of time in the last sector,” Ferrari team principal Binotto told Sky Sports.
“On the last attempt we tried to do whatever we could, taking some risks.
“We saw as well the track at the very last minute with track improvement so being the last going out of the garage [was the tactic].
“Going out we knew it was already tight but that was a conscious choice. But then too tight for the traffic we found, and we screwed up.”
During the final run Leclerc was heard saying “we’re not going to make it, Seb is slowing down” on the team radio.
“It’s life sometimes, it happens,” Leclerc said afterwards. “I don’t know whether the situation was unlucky or if we could have done anything better.
“But we will analyse it and understand for it to happen again because it’s a big shame.”
On the race itself he vowed: “I will take quite a bit of risk at the start.
“I need to take some risk and finish in front of Max for the championship, So I will give it all and see what happens.”