Leclerc: Ferrari failed to find operating window in Barcelona

Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, SpanishGP

The Canadian Grand Prix will be an important stage for many teams, especially as they look for crucial data to better understand their updates.

Mercedes is an obvious example, with the German squad looking to confirm the promising signs of progress shown in Barcelonawhilst Ferrari continues to struggle with the SF-23, which was especially problematic for Leclerc – even after the team’s recent important aerodynamic package.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin, after a disappointing weekend in Spain, is hopeful of the major upgrade package they will introduce in Montreal. The highly variable weather conditions could hinder the programmes the top three teams will carry out this weekend.

In Barcelona, “a car outside the operating window” ruined Leclerc’s weekend

Leclerc’s disastrous result in qualifying in Barcelona was a shock for both the driver and team, with technicians failing to find an answer for the SF-23’s lack of performance. The decision taken in Spain was to make a total change of the rear axle and postpone the analysis to the return to Maranello. 

As we anticipatedthese checks had given negative results, i.e. no problems of a physical-structural nature emerged on his SF-23, something that, however, does not place Charles Leclerc at the centre of the problem.

Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Spanish GP

Leclerc confirmed that his car has never been in the right operating window, i.e. it ran with a non-optimal setup, which affected him on Saturday and Sunday, with his SF-23 not performing as well as it should. In addition, qualifying in Spain was certainly the most technically difficult day of the season so far, with a wet track and very cold temperatures. 

There was great difficulty in getting the tyes up to temperature at the same time, precisely doing it at the same time on the two axles. With unbalanced temperatures between front and rear, Leclerc was never able to express the potential of his Ferrari SF-23 and was a ‘passenger’ waiting for the end of a disastrous Q1.

This was a problem encountered by other drivers such as George Russell, who had to start from P12 on the grid – and even Checo Perez with the spaceship RB19. However, the English driver showed that his W14 was free from setup problems,

Leclerc “I expect a very strong Aston Martin.”

In the usual pre-weekend press conference, among the drivers involved, there were the two bearers of Ferrari and Aston Martin, and the visions were quite similar. It is inevitable to ask Charles Leclerc what happened in qualifying in Barcelona, and the Monegasque, in the various replies, confirmed our preview, namely that no problems were encountered in Maranello. 

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s action, the Monegasque stated that in addition to Red Bull, a very strong Aston Martin is expected. At Ferrari, they will have to concentrate on “better understanding the updates brought to Barcelona and finding a better set-up because, at Barcelona, we were not at all in the right window.”

The weather will be unknown, and this is one of the fears, especially for Aston Martin. In fact, Fernando Alonso said he expected “a good weekend”, also thanks to the updates that the team will bring to the track. And they will be consistent. 

During the week, Lawrence Stroll also spoke about how he expects to see his drivers very high up in this Grand Prix and, as we anticipated, the rest of the innovations that were not anticipated in Spain will make their debut in Canada. 

A new floor is an important part of this package, which has given extremely positive results in the wind tunnel, raising hopes and expectations in the Silverstone team.

Authors: Piergiuseppe Donadoni & Paolo D’Alessandro

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang