Leclerc reveals what to expect from Ferrari’s Barcelona updates

Jaden Diaz

The Spanish GP begins with the usual Thursday driver interviews. F1 has moved quickly from Monaco to the Iberian land, where Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz will compete in a home Grand Prix. The track, however, offers opportunities for data collection and confirmation for engineers. 

Those who introduced updates in Monaco will want to understand the real value of these upgrades, such as the Mercedes with new sidepods and front suspension,

Ferrari will likely be one of the teams to introduce new parts to Spain, with Charles Leclerc giving hit first statements on what he anticipates.

Leclerc: “Updates a first step in the right direction”

The first voice to arrive from Spain is that of Charles Leclerc, with the Monegasque echoing what Team Principal Fred Vasseur said earlier this week:

In Barcelona, we will have a package of updates which will not aim to increase the downforce of the car, but to make it more consistent and more drivable in the race,” said Frederic Vasseur. 

This description is similar to the feedback from Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who use precisely the same terms to define what the Maranello squad will introduce to the SF-23 this weekend in Barcelona.

Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc

“We don’t expect a miracle, we won’t go from sixth to first with this update, but it’s a small step in the right direction. Our car is very picky: in qualifying, when everything works, with new tyres, it’s ok.

“But when we go outside this window, we lose downforce and consistency. We are working on this to improve the car,” making no secret of his current frustration – though still hopeful for the long term.

“Expectations were to fight for the world championship after 2022, but the start of the season was disappointing, but I don’t think there’s a need to start all over again.”

A small step in the right direction, without revolutionizing but getting closer to the Red Bull concept. Ferrari is chasing consistency in the race that, for some reason, the SF-23 never had. “We didn’t understand why this was happening either, but then we started to understand, and we focused on this aspect, and the updates from Barcelona should help us improve.”

The Monegasque has already tried the updates to the simulator “Nothing revolutionary, but it looks good, even if these are updates that can give more advantages on the track than in the simulator – because they concern driveability and there are many more variations on the track than in the simulator.”

Leclerc: “Good race management in Monaco. Vasseur is changing so many little things that make a difference”

Charles’ home Grand Prix did not go as he expected. On Saturday, not only did the SF-23 not allow him the chance to go to Pole Position – despite arriving just over a tenth from the lap of Max Verstappen – but the error on the pit wall, in particular by Xavi Marcos – caused an impedance on Lando Norris which resulted in him being penalized 3 places on the grid.

A few days later, the Ferrari driver analysed the situation, also talking about race management, saying he was satisfied with the team’s work.

A mistake was made on Saturday, which we have reviewed, and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but the race management, on my side of the garage, was very good, with no mistakes. Last year the strategy was our problem, but this year it went better, even if at some weekends it was a little worse than normal, but I’m happy with how things are going this year.”

Ferrari Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur & Ferrari Drivers, Charles Leclerc

The questions about the relationship between the Monegasque and his new boss, Frederic Vasseur, with whom he has already had the opportunity to work at Alfa Romeo, return cyclically. “Our relationship is very good. We have known each other for some time. He is very honest and direct, I like this, and I think it helps me to grow in the long run. His entry into Ferrari was delicate.

“There was no need for big changes, but little things that put together make the difference.

However, the Monegasque also confirmed TP’s willingness to reinforce the team with engineers from other teams:

Fred was very clear in wanting to reinforce the team with people who come from other teams, and this is also important to have different points of view new.”

Authors: Paolo D’Alessandro & Giuliano Duchess

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang