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SBNation.com – All Posts: Charles Leclerc and Ferrari still searching for answers ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix


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Leclerc believed that Ferrari would find something wrong with his SF-23 following Spain, but did they?

Charles Leclerc is still searching for answers.

His 2023 Formula 1 season has gotten off to a rather uneven start. He currently sits seventh in the standings, 128 points behind leader Max Verstappen, and 16 points behind teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who sits ahead of him in sixth place.

And it is Sainz who has been the more consistent driver this season. Other than a 12th-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix — due to a penalty handed down after a collision with Fernando Alonso on a late-race restart that dropped him out of the top ten— Sainz has finished in the points in every race this season.

As for Leclerc, he has four points finishes (including a podium in Azerbaijan), a pair of retirements, and the 11th-place last weekend. All of which add to his reputation as a “win or bin” driver.

“I don’t understand what we are doing wrong but we are doing something wrong,” Leclerc told SkySportsF1 following the Spanish Grand Prix. “I went from a first hard (tyre), to a second hard in the last stint, did the same thing and the car is behaving in a completely different way,” added the Ferrari driver.

His frustrations were most evident ahead of the Spanish GP, following a qualifying effort that saw him fail to advance out of Q1.

“I don’t have the answer. For now, the only thing I can say is that the left-hand corners were undriveable,” he said following qualifying in Barcelona. “Through the right-hand corners the feeling was very similar to this morning, but there’s just something off in the left-hand corners that we need to analyse and understand because it was very far off what I expected.”

In fact, Leclerc believed that when the team had the time to examine the SF-23, they would certainly find something wrong with the car.

“I had so many moments and even during the first red flag I nearly lost it and put it into the gravel in a left-hand corner,” he explained. “This was just very, very weird behavior, so we’ll have to check the car.”

“I thought it was the tyres on the first set, but then we went on the second set, and the feeling was exactly the same,” he added. “I just had no grip in the left-hand corners from the rears, so we’ll check the car well and I would be very surprised if everything was fine.

“Even in the tricky conditions of this morning, I was feeling really good with the car, so there’s something off.”

Well, now that Ferrari has had some time to examine his SF-23, did they find any answers?

Apparently not.

Speaking at the FIA Press Conferences ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Leclerc was asked if the team found any flaws or problems with the SF-23 over the previous two weeks.

“The issue in Spain? Back in Maranello we didn’t find any issue,” said Leclerc on Thursday.

“Yeah Spain was especially difficult for me,” he added. “We don’t have upgrades here, so we have to maximize the package we have. I don’t think compared to Spain we’ll make a big step forward.”

“Overall the team isn’t happy with the performance so far this season,” continued Leclerc. “Quali in Spain was very particular, we don’t know the reason of it and we have to push to understand it.”

As for whether Ferrari can make the most of things this weekend, Leclerc believes in the team, and believes they will keep pushing to turn things around. “We just need to keep pushing, bring upgrades regularly and try to close the gap with teams in front and especially in terms of race pace,” said the Ferrari driver. “What gives me confidence is that we know where to work and improve and this is what makes me believe in the project.”

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