Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, is sent back to the pit after being smashed from the lead

Ferrari clears confusion over Leclerc’s stifling message in French Grand Prix crash

The Monegasque driver was in control of the race at Paul Ricard after fending off a challenge from his title rival Max Verstappen in the opening stages.

But shortly after Verstappen opted for an early tyre switch, something went wrong for Leclerc on lap 18 when he broke out on Turn 11 – knocking him out of the race.

Stuck in the bulkheads, he spoke to his team over the radio and was broadcast to give them a message: “I can’t keep on throttle.”

His reference to the throttle, just two weeks after his razor-thin accelerator pedal battles in the final stages of the Austrian Grand Prix, prompted wild theories that Leclerc had been extinguished due to a recurring problem.

despite Leclerc realized after the race that the accident was his faultThe conspiracies were fueled when Red Bull technical director Pierre Watch was caught on camera after the Dutchman’s win telling him he had heard over the radio that this was a throttle problem.

But Ferrari Team principal Mattia Binotto explained that Leclerc’s radio comment was entirely related to his attempts to break out of the fender, and had nothing to do with the incident itself.

“First there was no problem with the throttle itself, [it was] It has nothing to do with Austria.

“What happened was a real mistake by Charles and it’s things that can happen, and I think they don’t diminish how amazing he is as a driver and a great driver. But it was a real mistake.

“What I heard on the radio was around him when he was in reverse trying to get out of the barricades. There is a strategy without going into all the details [meant] He was on the throttle, but he did not feel enough torque from the engine. There was nothing wrong. Simply the strategy is there.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, is sent back to the pit after being smashed from the lead

Photography: Alistair Staley / motorsports pictures

Binotto explained that the cause of the throttle problems in Austria was completely resolved after it was placed in a stuck component.

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“Normally we don’t discuss much in detail about what is happening, but what happened in Austria is very simple,” he said.

“There was a damper that was a bit sticky. No more than that. And we had already taken some measures to avoid that in the future.”

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