Charles Leclerc unhappy with “incredibly difficult” SF-23

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco steers his car during the Formula One Grand Prix at the Baku circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, April 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Charles Leclerc was a dejected figure after the Miami GP, without answers for the inconsistencies he felt in the SF-23 machine.

Leclerc made several headlines after his incident in qualifying, but Ferrari’s performance over race trim is far more alarming for the Maranello squad.

Much like in Baku, Ferrari was capable of at least challenging Red Bull in qualifying – but the situation completely changed in the Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz’s pace was initially encouraging for Ferrari, staying within touching distance of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and even managing to undercut his fellow Spaniard.

However, his pace suffered significantly on the hard compound tyres – another example of the SF-23’s volatility and unpredictability.

Leclerc’s race was no better, spending much of his afternoon battling with Kevin Magnussen in his Haas.

MiamiGP, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc

Considering that Ferrari introduced a floor upgrade this weekend (one of the only teams to introduce updates), their performance in Miami is even more alarming.

Speaking post-race, Leclerc was open about his difficulties in the car:

“It was really difficult. I was just speaking with Carlos, and we basically agreed we have a car that is so incredibly difficult to be on the limit. 

“From my side, I don’t know what was going on, but in the high speed, the car was moving a lot. 

“We will check the car and everything, but it didn’t feel great. Yeah, I was saying with Carlos it was just a very inconsistent car today. 

“We need to check – I cannot speak for Carlos… for me, it was quite crazy, I don’t know what was going on, really.”

The Monagasque’s comments have been mirrored by his teammate, with Sainz also commenting on the inconsistencies of the SF-23.

Most teams will be introducing significant updates in Imola, so Ferrari will be under additional pressure to find solutions for their disappointing start to 2023.

Fighting Red Bull for the Championship is already out of the question, but the Scuderia still needs to work and close the gap to their Austrian adversaries.

Unless the team can find solutions to the unanswered questions about this year’s package, they will surely lack the foundation to challenge Red Bull next season.