Ferrari experienced by far the worst race of the season on the Paul Ricard track. For the first time in 2021, none of the red cars were among the top ten, and the reason was excessive tire consumption. On the eve of the French Grand Prix, Ferrari did not have high expectations.
They calculated that they would not be as competitive as in the previous street races, but they did not expect such a catastrophe from the results, especially after they qualified for the fifth and seventh positions. Charles Leclerc started from seventh place and went to the pits before the drivers who were surrounding him at the time.
He earned several positions with the Undercut and that looked pretty good, but later in the race, he just sank in the standings. The team then switched him to a two-boxing strategy, but that didn’t help either. He finished in a very poor 16th place.
“We really need to understand [what happened], as with both cars we’ve been struggling massively, dropping massively,” said Leclerc. “The pace is there the first two laps on the tyres and then everyone keeps going on this pace and both of our cars are starting to drop.
That’s where we need to work out at the moment and we really need to understand this issue”. “We tried a second stop at one point just to see if we could understand something more [by] going on the medium again, but there was no way to do anything better managing those tyres.
We were just degrading them very, very quickly”. Leclerc explained.
He was very satisfied after the fifth place in the qualifications of Carlos Sainz, but in the end he also failed to win points. He finished the race in 11th place.
In the first part, he managed to defend himself against Pierre Gasly, but with the transition to a harder tire mixture, he only sank. “On Friday we looked okay. But clearly the conditions changed and our car, just the way we treat the tyres, we are not very resilient to condition changes,” said Sainz.
“We are on the limit of graining the front tyres always and as soon as we grain them, basically we go backwards. “Right from the laps to the grid, and honestly, the race pace from Lap 1 wasn’t there and we were degrading the tyres massively,” Sainz added.
“It’s something I haven’t experienced before and it’s something that we really need to understand as it’s quite evident that in some of these Sunday conditions, we are not treating the tyres very well and we are going backwards”.