Charles Leclerc will not start the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, following a driveshaft problem on his first reconnaissance lap in the build-up to the race.
The Ferrari driver had earned a stunning pole position, his and the team’s first since 2019, in qualifying on Saturday.
But his session ended in dramatic fashion when Leclerc crashed heavily on the exit of the Swimming Pool section.
Ferrari completed initial checks of the gearbox on Saturday and then an in-depth evaluation on Sunday morning.
It could find no signs of defects and opted not to change the gearbox so that Leclerc could start from pole instead of taking a five-place grid drop and lining up sixth.
But on his first reconnaissance lap once the pitlane opened in the final hour before the race start, Leclerc reported a problem, radioing to the team: “No, no, no, no, the gearbox guys.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2021
Leclerc, who briefly had his head in his hands on track, was able to return to the pitlane.
His car was wheeled into the garage while the rest of the field continued with reconnaissance laps and then took their place on the grid.
Ferrari appeared to be assessing the rear of the car but the team communicated to the FIA he would not make it and the pitlane was closed with Leclerc still in the garage.
The Scuderia then confirmed to the FIA that the car would not take the start at all.
A left driveshaft issue was cited as the reason for Leclerc failing to take the start.
That means Red Bull driver Max Verstappen starts alone on the front row of the grid, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr on the second row.