Charles Leclerc crashed Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312B3 F1 race car

Ferrari Formula One driver Chalres Leclerc crashed one of three-time champion Niki Lauda’s Ferrari F1 cars during a demonstration run at the 2022 Monaco Historic Grand Prix on Sunday.

Leclerc was on his third lap in the 1973 Ferrari 312B3 when, owing to a suspected brake failure, he lost the rear end and backed the vintage F1 car into a wall at the famous La Rascasse turn.

The 2022 Bahrain and Australian Grand Prix winner set off again with some rear-end damage, but soon stopped again after the car began emitting smoke. That coincided with the end of the parade laps, though. 

Leclerc later said on Twitter that he lost the brakes coming into La Rascasse. It’s the second major humiliation for the Monegasque driver at his home track. Leclerc set pole position for the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix before crashing and missing the race due to the resulting car damage.

Driving alongside Leclerc during the demonstration laps was ex-Ferrari F1 driver and six-time Le Mans winner Jack Ickx in an earlier 312B. That’s noteworthy because Ickx quit the Ferrari F1 team in the middle of the 1973 season because of his dissatisfaction with the 312B3. 

Ferrari continued to improve the car, however. With Lauda and Clay Regazzoni driving, the 312B3-74 version introduced for the 1974 season achieved second in the F1 constructors’ championship behind McLaren. Lauda then won the first of his three drivers’ championships in the 312B3-74 the following season.

Leclerc also recently drove an ex-Gille Villeneuve Ferrari 312T at the Fiorano test track without incident, marking the 40th anniversary of the Canadian driver’s death. He’s also currently leading the F1 driver standings, with a 19-point lead over Max Verstappen. So things aren’t all bad for Leclerc.

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