Charles Leclerc Crashes Niki Lauda's Historic F1 Car

Crash / 4 Comments

The Monegasque driver was caught out by Rascasse corner.

The next round of the Formula 1 season will take place this weekend in Barcelona, followed by the famous Monaco Grand Prix.

A lot of the newer F1 fans might not know about the Historic Grand Prix, which usually takes place two weeks before the actual Grand Prix. It's essentially a fancier version of the Goodwood Revival and consists of several races in classic vehicles.

Charles Leclerc was also in attendance, as he's a local. He's not one of the F1 drivers who have a flat there to dodge taxes either. Leclerc is a born and bred Monegasque, and he knows the streets better than the palm of his hand.

Still, even top-tier drivers mess up sometimes. Poor Charles snuffed a Ferrari at Rascasse corner, which doesn't sound so bad. He's put quite a few cars in the barriers during his career, and crashing a Ferrari isn't so bad if you're Scuderia Ferrari's golden child.

Unfortunately for Charles, he wasn't driving his own Ferrari 488 Pista, which he usually uses to get around Monaco.

Motor Racing Clips/YouTube Motor Racing Clips/YouTube Motor Racing Clips/YouTube

This time Leclerc was behind the wheel of a very special Ferrari, once driven by the late Niki Lauda. The car in question was the 1974 Ferrari F1 car. The same car Lauda drove to a second-place finish in his first race for Ferrari.

Later that same year, he won the Spanish Grand Prix and got six consecutive pole positions out of the car. The team kept on developing the car and the 1975 car won both the driver's and constructor's championship with Niki Lauda behind the wheel.

While the '74 is not as special as the 1975 car, it's still significant. In terms of messing up, this is a few steps above taking a clipper to Mattia Binotto's famously curly and luscious hairdo.

Motor Racing Clips/YouTube Motor Racing Clips/YouTube Motor Racing Clips/YouTube

To be fair, the 312B was famously terrible to drive. Niki Lauda was quite vocal about how tricky it was to drive, as depicted in the film Rush.

It was powered by a 2,992 cc flat-12 producing close to 500 horsepower in a car that weighed next to nothing. In those days downforce was a dark art. The engineers just kept on tacking new wings to the car, hoping that it would improve the handling.

And as you can see from the video above, Leclerc was hardly pushing the car, which seems to be running on period-correct rubber. Thankfully, the car managed to scrub enough speed to mitigate the damage.

The engine seems fine, though the rear wing is a bit mangled. Charles likely received a few frowns, most notably from the team charged with taking care of Ferrari's heritage fleet, but to be entirely fair, the cause of the crash was not his, but rather an unexpected brake failure. In fact, you can even see the brake disc of the left rear wheel shatter if you watch this in slow motion. Leclerc also drove Gilles Villeneuve's F1 car at Fiorano a week ago, and no incidents were reported.

Charles Leclerc/Instagram Charles Leclerc/Instagram Charles Leclerc/Instagram

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