Charles Leclerc is bracing himself for another tough Formula 1 weekend in Canada, not expecting any miracles as he will be basically driving the same car from Spain, the previous race.
Ferrari brought a raft of upgrades for their SF-23 in the previous race in Barcelona, Spain, but failed to hit the sweet spot with it, evident from Leclerc’s shock elimination from Q1 in Qualifying, and while Carlos Sainz qualified second, he dropped to fifth by the end of the race.
Leclerc complained about the rear end of his car, prompting Ferrari to replace it in parc ferme which meant he started the race from the pitlane finishing 11th, and the rear of his SF-23 sent back to Maranello for inspection.
Speaking to the media in Canada on Thursday, Leclerc was asked if the team found any issue with his car that could explain his struggles; he responded: “No, no, we didn’t.”
Elaborating, he added: “Qualifying in Barcelona was a very particular one. I think I wasn’t the only one to struggle, and we need to understand these things. And for now, we don’t have the reason. So this is a little bit more worrying, and that’s where we need to push and try to understand the reason for it.
“It is the first time that it happened in my career,” the Monegasque added. “I mean, if I look on the left-hand corners, that’s where I was struggling. I said it straightaway after Qualifying, and we can see that on data clearly. I’m losing some six-and-a-half or seven-tenths in all the left-hand corner – but there are no real reasons for it yet. So yeah, for now, I cannot say much more, to be honest.”
Nothing new for Ferrari this weekend
Ferrari basically have the same car from the previous race, as they continue to try and understand the upgraded package, despite Frederic Vasseur insisting the SF-23 has become more consistent.
“It was a very difficult weekend for me especially,” Leclerc said of the race in Spain. “On this track we don’t have anything new, so I don’t think we’ll have any miracles, but we need to just try and maximise our package, understand more this package, the way we should set up the car in order to maximise it.
“In Spain we were quite easily off the window and then we were losing quite a lot of performance. So we’ve learnt a lot. And I’m pretty sure we’ll be in a better place for this weekend. But I don’t think it will be a huge step forward,” he admitted.
Leclerc raced from the back of the grid to fifth in the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix, and when asked if he could repeat such a strong performance this weekend; he said: “Last year we were in a very different situation.
“And again, I think we expect Aston Martin to be very strong this weekend. We expect Red Bull to be very strong this weekend. We struggle to understand exactly where Mercedes will be compared to us. But again, we have to focus on ourselves and try to maximise our package.
“It’s a very challenging track, with the weather, also, we don’t really know which side it is going to go. So yeah, we’ll just focus on ourselves and see what we can do,” Leclerc concluded.