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F1 driver Charles Leclerc isn’t known for crashing cars like some drivers might be. In fact, that might be what got him behind the wheel of Niki Lauda’s 1974 Ferrari 312B3 in the first place. Unfortunately, Leclerc crashed the Ferrari 312B3 this weekend at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. How important was this piece of Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team history, and what went wrong?

Charles Leclerc crashed Niki Lauda’s historic 1974 Ferrari 312B3 this weekend

The Niki Lauda Ferrari 312B3 was crashed by Charles Leclerc crashed
Niki Lauda driving his Ferrari 312B3 at the French Grand Prix | Debraine/Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images

This weekend, the Monaco Historic Grand Prix event took place. This was the 13th time the historic race took place, on the same Formula 1 Grand Prix street circuit as always. The Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM) puts on the event every two years.

There are a variety of classes and races that take place. Race A consists of a class of Grand Prix cars and Pre-war Voiturettes. Vehicles from January 1st, 1946, and December 31st, 1953, are part of Race B. There are also Formula 2 cars built before 1953 and Formula 1 cars built between 1954 and 1960.

The 1974 Ferrari 312B3 was part of Race F, the Niki Lauda Formula 1 cars from 1973 to 1976. Class 1 had cars equipped with a Ford-Cosworth DFV engine, while Class 2 had cars equipped with other engines.

What led to Charles Leclerc crashing the Ferrari 312B3?

Charles Leclerc went around the track twice in Niki Lauda’s 1974 Ferrari 312B3. Leclerc had issues with the brakes and spun backward into a wall going around a corner. It wasn’t immediately clear what happened at first as the back end slid out while going around a corner. Commenters noted this was a common occurrence at this corner.

The Formula 1 driver could get the Ferrari moving again, but it was emitting smoke by the time Leclerc made it to the main straight. One commenter noted there was oil on the street course, which could have caused the car to slide. Later on social media, both Ferrari and Charles Leclerc commented that a brake failure led to the crash.

According to a Scuderia Ferrari tweet, “Charles was having a great time in the #MonacoHistorique show run, really enjoying driving Niki Lauda’s 312 B3-74, until a brake problem ended the run on his last lap.” Whoops.

Niki Lauda drove this F1 car during an iconic period of wins

Lauda drove the 1974 Ferrari 312B3 as he won the World Drivers’ Championship in 1975. It was also the car he drove for his first year with the Ferrari team. According to a Formula 1 Tech Tuesday article, the Ferrari 312B3 helped the Ferrari team win three consecutive constructors’ championships from 1975.

Ferrari’s principal designer at the time, Mauro Forghieri, helped modify the 312B3 a bit behind the scenes. “Forghieri’s theme with these modifications was to more fully centralise the car’s mass. The more the mass can be centralised, the more agile the car will be. The cornering forces will build up more quickly but with less momentum, giving better direction change,” Formula 1 says.

The Ferrari 312B3 doesn’t get the opportunity to compete in Formula 1 races much anymore, but hopefully, someone can fix it up. Charles Leclerc and the Scuderia Ferrari team are due back in Monaco at the end of the month for the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco. After the Miami Grand Prix, Leclerc and Ferrari are still in the top spot for the Driver and World Constructors’ Championship. No pressure or anything.


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