On Sunday, modern Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc had a chance to take Niki Lauda’s 1974 Ferrari 312B3 for a spin during the Monaco Historic Grand Prix — and subsequently crashed it at the Rascasse corner. There might be a little consolation for Leclerc now, as it’s been discovered that the crash came down to brake failure, not driver error.
If you haven’t seen the video of Leclerc’s crash, it’s a heartbreaking one. After the commentators note that the Monegasque driver has a chance to fulfill a boyhood dream without the pressure of a race weekend, Leclerc completely loses control. The rear steps out and makes contact with a barrier, ripping off the Ferrari’s rear wing.
It’s probably going to be tough for Leclerc to emotionally recover from this one, but he might be able to take a little solace in the fact that the crash wasn’t driver error — it was brake failure.
Motorsport.com secured exclusive photos of Leclerc in the Ferrari mere moments before the spin. In one close-up shot of the left front wheel, we can clearly see pieces of the left front brake disc falling away from the car. It seems the disc shattered while Leclerc was lapping. Head over to Motorsport.com to see the zoomed-in image of the shattered brake, but you can actually see a little flash in the video above as the disc fragments hit the pavement, about 19 seconds in.
Leclerc immediately knew that the crash was preceded by a brake failure, as Motorsport.com quoted the driver saying, “I lost the brakes. I lost the brakes! I braked, the pedal was hard, and it went to the floor,” in the wake of the accident. That’s probably little consolation, though; I know I’d be in shambles if I just happened to be behind the wheel of a 1970s F1 car that just happened to end up a little destroyed after I climbed out of the cockpit.
This isn’t the first time the 1974 Ferrari 312B3 has been involved in an exhibition crash. In 2021, Jean Alesi crashed the same car at the same Monaco Historic event — though Alesi crashed the car as a result of racing contact, not a brake failure.