Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Leclerc admits concerns after Ferrari found no cause for “really bad” handling

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said Ferrari is in a “more worrying” situation after the team was unable to identify a cause for the handling problem he experience in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

He was eliminated in the first round of qualifying at the Circuit de Catalunya, taking 19th on the grid. He reported “really, really bad” cornering in left-handers which led the team to replace the entire rear end of his car before the race.

“We’ll have to check that out,” said Leclerc after qualifying. “I will be very, very surprised if we don’t find something on the car.”

However speaking ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Leclerc said the team had not identified a problem after inspecting his car and the parts they removed after qualifying.

“No,” he said in today’s FIA press conference, “we didn’t.”

He said he had never experienced a problem like it before. “To be honest it’s the first time that it happened in my career,” he said. “If I look in all the left-hand corners that’s where I was struggling.

“I said straightaway after qualifying and we can see that from data clearly I’m losing six-and-a-half, seven tenths in all the left-hand corners. But there are no real reasons for it yet so I cannot say much more, to be honest.”

Leclerc admitted he is concerned the team wasn’t able to identify a cause of the problem he experienced. It followed the introduction of a significant upgrade for the SF-23 which the team hoped would open up a new development direction and help it close the gap to Red Bull.

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“Overall I think all the team is not satisfied with the performance we are showing at the moment on-track,” he said. “It’s very far off our expectations at the beginning of the season. We are very clear with ourselves and it’s very clear for us.

“Qualifying in Barcelona was a very particular one. I think I wasn’t the only one to struggle then. We need to understand these things and for now we don’t have the reasons. So this is a little bit more worrying and that’s where we need to push and try to understand the reason of it, because obviously the feeling was really, really bad.”

A key aim of Ferrari’s upgrades was to improve its car’s performance over a race stint and reduce its tyre degradation problem. Leclerc said the last race showed this is an area where they still need to make gains, as his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr started second but finished fifth.

“We just need to keep pushing, try and bring upgrades as quickly as possible and regularly, which is our aim now to try and close the gap with the guys in front and also close the gap, especially in terms of race pace. Because even though I struggled a lot in qualifying on the Saturday, the Sunday wasn’t great either.

“If we look at Carlos that had a great weekend, he had a great Saturday, but then in Sunday we struggled again with the race pace. So that’s where we are trying to push at the moment.

“What gives me confidence, though, is that there is a clear direction in where we want to work and improve. And this is what makes me believe in the project.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Leclerc admits concerns after Ferrari found no cause for “really bad” handling”

  1. “Copy, We are checking”

  2. BW (@deliberator)
    16th June 2023, 0:21

    “The car is ok. Question?”

    1. It wouldn’t be impossible for the issue to have essentially disappeared up disassembly of that part of Leclerc’s car, but it’s still curious that they have no clue what was going on.

      Oh well, if it never happens again I doubt they’ll spend much more time on it.

  3. Swap in the Lemans pit wall.

  4. A two or thereabouts interval between two consecutive races should be enough, but I guess not always.

  5. It could be a tyre temp problem of not getting enough heat in the tyres (in a short time) so lacking grip losing speed losing heat ect. ect. So with the cold temperatures this weekend he could get the same problem.
    And weight as he had in the begin of the race with the hard same problems while when he swap into hards again at the end he didn’t had so much problems as he kept his speed up.

    As Sainz takes corners different (like Max and Perez expect perez having problems too) he gets enough heat to keep speed.

    1. CheeseBucket
      16th June 2023, 11:34

      Quick, email Ferrari. I’m sure they wouldn’t have thought of this.

      1. Don’t be snarky, CheeseBucket, MacLeod isn’t alone in this observation. Fact is more than one driver and car had issues finding laptime, and some drivers altered their driving style (in some cases quite a bit) to generate more heat. Things like that are hard to see form a monitor, because these changes are subtle. A few degrees extra initial steering angle combined with a slighly wider line and a bit extra drift won’t show up on the telemetry, but result in higher temperatures. A small blip on the brake pedal, or throttle, or both at the same time, whatever works.
        Compare the driving style from Alonso or Max onboards with about anyone else, and you’ll see that it’s quite different, but comparing the logs won’t show big differences in speeds, steering angles, brake points etc…
        In the past, teams had specialized spotters on the side of the track to compare drivers, nowadays it’s all about log-files and way too much computer-info that hides the craftmanship.

  6. They took it apart and didn’t find anomalies. So that is weird. I can’t see from the article but did they scan the chassis? If the tub has a crack this might be a reason. I guess they probably did but at the other hand, it is Ferrari… so…

Comments are closed.