Charles Leclerc explains that recent changes to the SF-23 have given him more confidence to push in the Ferrari. After claiming Pole Position in COTA, the Monegasque outlined some of the forward steps in Maranello.
Ferrari has shown several flashes of performances since the summer break, having taken multiple Pole Positions and even a race victory. Moreover, the Italian outfit is a far more reliable force on race day – not experiencing the Sunday drop-off from early 2023.
Despite Carlos Sainz being unable to start the last race in Losail, Fred Vasseur’s team is still in contention for P2 in the standings. Although Mercedes are strong, the Scuderia is holding its own in the season’s final stretch.
Ferrari hasn’t brought any upgrades since the Japanese GP, and none are scheduled for the remaining five rounds. Despite this, they are still unlocking performance in the SF-23.
Speaking after qualifying in Texas, Charles Leclerc believes he is benefiting from the most recent tweaks implemented by Maranello:
“All in all, it’s exactly what I’ve been complaining about since the beginning of the season, where we had a car that was very inconsistent.
“Once we get oversteer, we lose a lot of overall grip, and this upgrade was exactly for that.
“And that helped us, or that helped me to gain a bit more confidence and to set up the car in a way that I prefer.
“And to have a bit of a stronger front, which normally is something that I enjoy.
“So yeah, I just feel more at ease with the car since then. But there are still quite a few races left. And there’s still quite a lot of work to do.
“So we need to keep pushing, but we did some steps forward for sure.”
Previously, the SF-23 suffered from immense unpredictability. At certain points, the Italian machine would suffer from a combination of oversteer and understeer.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) October 20, 2023
Not only was this a headache for the drivers, but it also compromised the engineers’ ability to set up the car optimally. Ferrari has overcome this hurdle, which is crucial for their development over winter and into 2024.
In the short term, these changes have also improved Charles Leclerc’s ability to perform. More comfortable with pushing the car and attacking, the 26-year-old is again a force to be reckoned with during qualifying.
Additionally, the SF-23 is more gentle with its tyres on race day. All things considered, the Prancing Horses will be a more consistent and well-rounded opponent for rivals to face in what remains of 2023.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang