Despite how excellent his 2022 season has been thus far, Formula 1 world championship leader Charles Leclerc just can’t seem to shake his Monaco curse — not even to prevent crashing the 1974 Ferrari 312B3 previously piloted by the legendary Niki Lauda during a demonstration at this year’s Grand Prix de Monaco Historique (Monaco Historic Grand Prix).
Under any other circumstance, getting behind the wheel of such a car would’ve been a dream come true. But as we know – and Leclerc himself knows all too well – dreams can turn into a nightmare within a millisecond when it comes to motorsports. During his third lap in Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312B3, Leclerc lost control at the Rascasse corner located towards the end of the circuit, backing into the barrier with some considerable force, and damaging the rear. Suffice it to say, that won’t buff right out.
“I lost the brakes! I lost the brakes! I braked, the pedal was hard, and it went to the floor,” says Charles Leclerc.
“I was lucky to have it at that moment, because if I had had it at another place, it was no good… the problem is that I got scared. I arrived normally in the corner.”
The current Scuderia Ferrari-signed talent later tweeted the following:
“When you thought you already had all the bad luck of the world in Monaco and you lose the brakes into Rascasse with one of the most iconic historical Ferrari Formula 1 car.”
Incidentally, this marks the second consecutive year Niki Lauda’s 1974 Ferrari 312B3 has been smashed at the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco. Around this time in 2021, former Ferrari F1 driver Jean Alesi planted the red-hot ride straight into the wall on Lap 15 of a race.
The crash was widely believed to have been caused by three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Marco Werner, who was competing in a black Lotus 77. Werner eventually won the race, before said win was stripped from him by race officials due to the close contact in question. Although not everyone was convinced Werner was the sole culprit here. In an incredibly sportsman-like move, the winner – Michael Lyons, who came second in a McLaren M26 – even left the trophy on Werner’s car.
As for Charles Leclerc, while the accident which transpired at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix would certainly be devestating for anyone, like we mentioned earlier, it’s nothing new for the fella. Excluding this latest chapter vis-a-vis the 1974 Ferrari 312B3 of Niki Lauda, there have been a total of four occassions wherein tragedy has struck:
- 2017 – During the Monagaque’s first appearance at this hometown track in GP2 machinery, Charles Leclerc cinched pole position and even controlled the early stages of the Feature race… only for a botched pit-stop to force him into retirement.
- 2018 – His debut season in Formula 1 with Alfa Romeo would see the rookie experience a brake failure that effectively sent him into the back of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso.
- 2019 – A tyre mishap and terminal crash damage would cause Charles Leclerc to drop out of Q1.
- 2021 – And perhaps the most heartbreaking twist of fate to date, immediately after securing pole position, which would have probably also meant a race win, Charles Leclerc would hit the barriers, resulting in gearbox damage that prevented him from participating in the main event entirely.
Check out Charles Leclerc crashing the 1974 Ferrari 312B3 of Niki Lauda during this year’s Grand Prix de Monaco Historique (Monaco Historic Grand Prix) above.