F1 News: Leclerc admits first half of 2023 “didn’t go well” for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc has no intentions of covering up Ferrari’s difficult season, admitting the Maranello squad has failed to reach most of the targets it established before the start of 2023.

Plenty of anticipation surrounded Ferrari over the winter break, not least because of the encouraging numbers emerging from the wind tunnel and simulator – indicating a very competitive SF-23 machine.

The decision to focus on this year’s car relatively in 2022 (after the French GP, according to former team principal Mattia Binotto) meant that a step forward was generally expected of the Italian team.

However, a variety of issues have impacted the Scuderia’s progress. Early reliability concerns, tyre management woes and an inconsistent car have all produced unwanted headlines this season.

Speaking after the Belgian GP, Charles Leclerc spoke openly in his analysis of Ferrari’s performance in 2023:

“It didn’t go well. Before the first race, the target was to do a step better compared to last year, which was to win the World Championship.

“If we look at the first half of the year, we are very far from where we put our expectations before the season.

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“So, on the other hand, as soon as we understood that, we reset it and there was an incredible reaction from the team. They brought upgrades, sometimes a month and a half earlier, and this requires a lot of effort from everybody at Maranello.

“I think we still need to try to understand – because if I take a step back in the last two races, I think we expected to be much more competitive in Budapest than on a track like here, and at the end, it’s the opposite.

“So, these are things that we need to look at because maybe we haven’t optimised the package in races like Budapest, and maybe we’ve done something that was surprisingly good on a track like here.

“So, it’s good, anyway, to finish on a positive note the first part of the season, and now we will take the time of the summer break – or at least whenever the guys can work again – to try to analyse those two last races and hopefully maximise the package at all races for the second half of the season.

With rivals such as Mercedes, Aston Martin and even McLaren showing fluctuations, it will be imperative for Fred Vasser and his personnel to extract the maximum potential from the SF-23 moving forward.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang