The most famous meeting of the Formula 1 season. All the drivers on the grid dream of hanging the most legendary Monaco Grand Prix on their list. Maybe a little more Charles Leclerc, a native of rock. Jean Alesi, the former Ferrari driver and Canal + consultant who broadcasts the race this Sunday (3pm), said 20 minutes to have “confidence” in a victory for Charles in his homeland, while the Monegasque has never finished a GP in the principality.
Did you expect Max Verstappen and RedBull to regain the lead in the World Cup at the Barcelona Grand Prix?
By the way it happened, no. Seeing a Ferrari retire like this, immediately in the race, is quite traumatic for both the fans and Charles Leclerc. Obviously, we can’t expect that. But I’m sure we’ll see this hand-to-hand between Max and Charles all season.
The difference will be in reliability, do you think?
When you give up, you’re at 0. And with these competitors, you can quickly make a big difference. As was the case in Barcelona. We will not find ourselves in seasons with many modifications, due to the establishment of a “budget cap”. Teams will make small changes little by little to always stay very competitive, so it is more reliability that makes the big difference.
Should we worry about the first Ferrari withdrawal of the season due to mechanical problems?
I don’t think so. Because historically speaking, when there is a real concern, it is almost the domino effect of cars. You break one car first, then the other one breaks. There, it was not so, Carlos Sainz pushed until the end of the Grand Prix. The technical error occurred in Charles’ car, but it is an isolated problem that can happen to motoring. Unfortunately, Charles fell for it, but that’s not a design issue. Max Verstappen cursed the whole GP against his DRS, Mercedes told his drivers to slow down in the last laps … Today the level of competition and competitiveness is so high that reliability can change things quickly.
Does this change anything in the Ferrari and Leclerc title race?
No no. On the contrary, it gives a little more suspense. They are six points apart [Verstappen compte 110 points au classement pilote contre 104 pour Leclerc], is nothing. We will have them wheel to wheel until the end.
Are you impressed with Ferrari’s start to the season?
Yes. I’m a real fan of the Scuderia, and this good start to the season impresses me especially with the new regulations, everything has changed in the cars, nothing has been preserved, everything is different. When this is the case, alas, you can quickly go in the wrong direction, and really have a bad season, without getting good performances. After two difficult seasons, they could have been the first to miss out. But they introduced a hyper-competitive car. That is the merit of Mattia Binotto. Before the Imola Grand Prix I went to visit the factory where F1 cars are made. It’s awesome, even for a connoisseur like me. I grew up and spent five years at Ferrari, I know the locals. But the new buildings impressed me a lot and the director in any case is Mattia Binotto.
Do you see Charles Leclerc winning the Monaco GP, he who is so fast on this circuit, but at the same time so catchy?
That’s because he always came to Monaco with a car underneath. He came like a crazy dog to snatch pole position and the Grand Prix and it didn’t work in his favor. He also exaggerated, and the margin of error is so small in Monaco that he was going to make a mistake. Last year, he made a mistake after doing the pole. This year he has a competitive car, he doesn’t need overdrive because it will work. I’m pretty sure.
For Helmut Marko, Max Verstappen is a cut above Charles Leclerc, do you agree?
I have a lot of respect for Helmut Marko [responsable de la filière jeune chez RedBull] and his assessment is quite understandable, as he talks about his pilot. I followed the whole evolution of Charles because my son was at the Ferrari academy when he was in F3. In addition to his acting, Charles has class and I love him. I think this year may be his. They will fight with Max throughout every episode of the season and it’s great. They are a sublime generation and true ambassadors of F1.
Do you understand the questioning of certain historical GPs, such as Monaco?
The answer is very simple, I would like to see a Grand Prix of France and Monaco for the next 50 years in a row and not be questioned. New Grand Prix is approaching, Miami this year, Las Vegas next year, and promoters are paying a lot of money. I understand that there is a preferential treatment linked to antiquity, but there are too many differences between a circuit like Monaco and Miami. There are too many differences in the prices of the set and this is what the discussions are about. At the same time if you pay 30 euros for your steak in the same restaurant and I pay 150 euros for it, I will obviously not be happy when I see the bill.