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Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari's Setup Woes

Ferrari Struggles with Setup, Leclerc Stays Hopeful

05/07/2024

Charles Leclerc remains hopeful despite acknowledging ongoing setup issues at Ferrari, promising swift improvements.

A hint of concern is beginning to surface at Maranello. The Ferrari upgrades brought to Barcelona have not fully met expectations: on the track at least, the balance of the SF-24 seems to have even deteriorated.

And the red car was only the fourth fastest at the Red Bull Ring, trailing behind McLaren F1, Red Bull, and even Mercedes F1.

“The package we received delivers what we expected from it,” Charles Leclerc tempers ahead of this Grand Prix in the UK.

So what’s wrong? The settings, apparently.

“However, we have struggled to find the ideal window to properly adjust the car to suit the new package, and we are working on it. It’s a learning process that, hopefully, will take as little time as possible so as not to lose too many points along the way.”

“In Austria, I think we learned quite a bit, we don’t yet have the magic solution but we are working on it. I hope that very soon we will have these results and that we will be at the top. To fight again for victories.”

The weather could of course be capricious in the UK, which could complicate the essential tuning of the Ferraris in free practice…

“If it rains, the test we wanted to do between the two cars, just to confirm certain things, will have to be postponed to the next race.”

“However, we are always trying to determine where to refine the car to maximize the potential of these updates because, as I’ve said many times, the figures we expect from this update are there. We already have some ideas on the direction we want to take, as we’ve seen big differences between the cars in the last race. I don’t think it’s something we can’t resolve in the short term.”

The example of Mercedes F1, which has returned to the fight for victories, is encouraging for Charles Leclerc: everything can change quickly from one Grand Prix to another.

“I am convinced that if we make the steps forward that we hope to make soon, then we will be able to fight for victory in the race. Indeed, once again, it’s just about 2 or 3 tenths. That makes a huge difference today. I am convinced that when we no longer have these issues and have optimized our package, the 2 or 3 tenths will be in the car.”

“We just need to find them and consistently place the car in the right window. In Montreal, I don’t think it was because of the package, we still had the old one. It was more related to other things, rather than the last two races where we have been battling with. We have worked very, very hard. There is work to be done, that’s for sure, and we are doing it, but I am confident that once we have resolved the issues, we will be back where we want to be.”

“My approach has always been the same. The only thing that changes now is that within two tenths, you can go from being a hero to a podium contender. In Austria, for example, two tenths behind means moving from the first to the third row. So, it makes a big difference.”

“Whenever you bring in a new package, you have to make sure to optimize it as quickly as possible, otherwise you end up trailing. So, it’s only by optimizing our package that we will make a step forward, not by staying where we were at the start of the season.”

Will we soon see Ferrari contending for wins again? As early as this weekend at Silverstone?

“That’s certainly what I want to see too. That’s why we are working so hard, to try to get back to the top and, unfortunately, it’s not good to watch these kinds of battles on TV (between Verstappen and Norris) and not be a part of them.”

“We are working incredibly hard on our side to return to a level where we can fight for these victories. For now, we are facing some issues that are slowing us down a bit.”

Moreover, Charles Leclerc suffered from new bad luck in Austria: his anti-stall kicked in during qualifications, preventing him from completing a final lap in Q3…

“I wouldn’t say it’s bad luck, to be honest, I think we are struggling as a team and more than luck, it’s up to us to do a better job and find a solution to the problems we are facing right now.”

Leclerc comments on the Verstappen-Norris incident

Charles Leclerc was inevitably asked about last Sunday’s big controversy: the accident between Lando Norris and Max Verstappen.

Who was more at fault? Was it the Red Bull driver 100%, as the FIA assessed? What advice could Charles Leclerc give to Lando Norris – since the Monegasque has already had many tussles with the Dutchman, notably at the Red Bull Ring in 2019…?

“You always learn to know the drivers better, and obviously, Max is probably the driver I know best on the grid, as we’ve been racing against each other for a long time. Since 2010, I think. You more or less know how things are going to unfold.”

“However, I don’t fight with others in different ways. I always try to proceed in the same way. It mostly depends on the situation you find yourself in: of course, if you’re fighting for sixth place and Max is 100 points ahead in the championship, you might not fight as hard. But when a victory is at stake, I will always fight as hard as possible, no matter who the opponent is.”

Sainz confirms that Ferrari suffers from bouncing

The updates have had one particular fault: causing the Ferrari to bounce more than reasonable. This seems to be particularly disturbing the performance of the Scuderia today.

Carlos Sainz confirms it too: the Ferrari bounces and it hurts him a lot in terms of time.

“We lose a lot more time than we think due to ‘porpoising’ [bouncing]. The time you lose in the corner and the time you can potentially lose in the rest of the corners.”

“The SF-24 is better in all respects, but the performance of a season is measured by the relative competitiveness against its opponents. My victory in 2022 will always be a great memory, but I prefer to focus on the present and on what we have to do. Our program consists of comparing the settings on the car, as we want to verify what the numbers tell us. It’s a job that needs to be done and I hope it will give us the keys so that the car can be as performant as we expect it to be.”

Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Setup Woes. f1 2024 Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Setup Woes. Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Setup Woes

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