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I Said Cat, Not Cut – Leclerc Clarifies Radio Confusion

  • 2 min read

Charles Leclerc caused some concern when he reported a ‘cut’ while leading Saturday’s Formula One sprint race in Baku but the Ferrari driver later clarified he was referring to a cat.

Asked whether there had been any recurrence of what had sounded like an engine cutout, Leclerc told reporters: “Absolutely not. I said a cat — which is different.

“There was a cat in the middle of the road and the safety car had to stop, but I think I was probably the only one who saw that.

“In the exit of Turn One there was a cat and the safety car braked.”

Leclerc, who started on pole position, finished second. Mexican Sergio Perez, the winner for Red Bull who was following Leclerc at the time, said he had not been aware of the cat.

The Baku street circuit snakes through the old town, with the track ringed with metal fences designed more for safety than to keep out resident felines determined to overcome any obstacle.

Cats, feral or otherwise, have been a problem in the past at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with one caught on the television feed darting across the track in front of Lewis Hamilton in 2016.

Formula One’s race in Turkey, now no longer on the calendar, had more of a problem with stray dogs on track. In 2008 one was hit by Brazilian Bruno Senna’s car in a GP2 support race at Istanbul Park.

Viewers of the Canadian Grand Prix are also used to seeing groundhogs making a dash for safety at Montreal’s island Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.