Charles Leclerc drops out of Monaco Grand Prix due to gearbox failure
Ferrari driver was set to start race in pole position
Charles Leclerc has been forced to drop out of the Monaco Grand Prix due to a gearbox failure.
The Ferrari driver secured pole position in his home GP despite damaging his car after crashing into a wall during qualifying on Saturday.
Ferrari did not believe Leclerc's gearbox had been damaged and elected not to replace it in order to avoid a grid penalty.
After his crash at the end of qualifying, Leclerc admitted his worry over any potential punishment. "I am not feeling well," he told Sky Sports F1. "For now I'm just waiting on the mechanics to open the gearbox to know if there is damage or not."
But as the cars made their way to the grid on Sunday, an alarmed Leclerc said to his team: "No, no, no, no ... The gearbox, guys."
A member of the Ferrari team later confirmed to FIA director Michael Masi: "We have an issue and we will not make it to the grid."
It meant the front-row spot was left vacant and Max Verstappen for Red Bull was left leading the grid for the fifth race of the Formula One season.
Leclerc has yet to finish his home grand prix. He retired after collisions in 2018 and 2019, and also failed to finish two Formula Two races there in 2017, but had been hoping to become the first home winner since Louis Chiron in 1931.
"Now I'm getting used to this feeling here unfortunately. I've never finished a race here and this year I don't start it ... it's a difficult one to take," Leclerc told Sky Sports television.
"I also feel for the team. The mechanics have done such a hard job yesterday to try and check everything and they were finally a bit happy this morning to see that everything seems fine. And then this happens."
Updated: May 23, 2021 06:29 PM