McLaren: Ferrari put 'everyone else at risk' with Charles Leclerc pit delay
Seidl not impressed Ferrari left Leclerc on track with broken wing after flying debris ruined Norris' promising race; stewards penalised Scuderia driver and team for the incident after Hamilton's Mercedes wing mirror was also broken
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 14/10/19 8:06pm
McLaren boss Andreas Seidl criticised Ferrari after Lando Norris' Japanese GP's hopes were wrecked by debris from Charles Leclerc's car.
Stewards punished Leclerc and Ferrari after Sunday's race in Suzuka for staying out on track with a damaged car for two laps beyond the Monegasque's first-lap collision with Max Verstappen.
Leclerc was handed 10s time penalty - adding to a 5s sanction for the crash itself - while the team were fined €25,000.
On lap two, parts of the flailing wing twice broke off Leclerc's car - with the flying debris breaking the wing mirror of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes and also lodging in the brake duct of Norris' McLaren, who was two cars further back.
"We obviously strongly disagree with competitors leaving cars on track with entire front wing endplates hanging off and putting everyone else at risk," said Seidl.
"After Leclerc's endplate finally exploded, Lando unfortunately caught some of the debris in his right front brake duct.
"This meant he had to box early, and his race was pretty much done. Even then, he gave it everything and put in a great performance."
Norris pitted at the end of lap four and eventually finished 13th after dropping to the back of the field.
What happened with Leclerc and his wing?
While Verstappen sustained what would prove race-ending damage to his Red Bull in the turn-two clash with Leclerc, the Ferrari did not emerge unscathed either with the left portion of its front wing taking a hit.
"I've got damage," reported Leclerc over team radio.
"Copy, we are checking it," replied his race engineer.
But Leclerc, running just ahead of Hamilton in third place, continued on into the second lap with his wing now sparking against the ground on Suzuka's pit straight.
He was then heard saying: "Why don't we continue a little bit more?"
But Leclerc's wing deposited debris at the hairpin and then, more dramatically, on the fast approach to 130R, breaking the right-hand wing mirror on Hamilton's Mercedes and scattering more carbon-fibre on the track for oncoming cars, including the McLarens.
"How's he not been given a warning flag I don't know," said Hamilton on his team radio.
In the race stewards' verdict on the incident, they revealed "the team told the race director they were calling the car into the pits at the end of lap 2" but "after this second piece detached, the team felt the car was now in a safe condition and despite previously telling the race director that the car would be called to the pits, they told car 16 to remain out and not to pit".
Stewards ruled that Ferrari's actions "created an unsafe condition on the circuit which only narrowly avoided being a major incident and also increased the likelihood of additional incidents after the one noted".
Leclerc eventually pitted on lap three and, after dropping down the field, fought back to sixth place at the chequered flag, although his double time penalty meant he was classified seventh.