Despite less convincing recent results, Charles Leclerc is optimistic for Austria

After two consecutive Grands Prix in which Ferrari was beaten by Red Bull, McLaren and even Mercedes, Charles Leclerc showed his optimism regarding the return to a level of performance more in line with his expectations in Austria.

Published on 27/06/2024 à 16:23

Jeremy Satis

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Despite less convincing recent results, Charles Leclerc is optimistic for Austria

Charles Leclerc intends to bounce back at Spielberg. © Eric Alonso / DPPI

The day after his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26, the questions to be answered Charles Leclerc concerned his title chances at the end of the season, after having returned to 31 small units of Max Verstappen. It must be said that beyond his victory at home, the Monegasque had shown relentless consistency, with 4th places as his worst results since the start of the season, and a harvest of five podiums including his success in Principality.

A state of form which also applied to the Team Ferrari, which had scored at least one podium in every race apart from the Chinese Grand Prix, where Leclerc and Sainz had failed in 4th and 5th respective places. A month almost to the day after the Monaco Grand Prix, the Italian team is no longer escorted by the same dynamic and there is no longer talk of a title for Leclerc, where he has 71 units of expenditure on Mad Max. Set back compared to Red Bull in McLaren and even to Mercedes during the last two races, the structure led by Frédéric Vasseur left Montreal with a double retirement, and Barcelona with only 5th and 6th place.

Problems in the long slow turns pointed out by Charles Leclerc

The French boss is not getting excited after these two disappointing results, and puts them down to the increased competitiveness between the manufacturers, with qualifying and podiums sometimes decided by a thousandth of a second in recent weeks. In Catalonia last week, the prancing horse presented itself with a new evolutionary package, supposed to bring a few additional performance points to the two red single-seaters. It was not the case. Or at least not as much as expected.

“We wanted to be back at the forefront, confided Charles Leclerc this Thursday in Austria. In Montreal we didn't manage it because the conditions and the tires were outside our operating window and in Barcelona we simply weren't fast enough. The Monegasque has a clear idea of ​​what went wrong at Montmelo. “Overall, the long, slow corners were problematic for us. In qualifying, it was at turns 5 and 10, particularly turn 10. That’s where we need to improve.”

Following the times during the Grand Prix, the Ferraris also seemed to be behind the competition at turns 9 and 13, but Leclerc did not see this as a weakness. “I don’t confirm that., he slipped. In racing specification, it's difficult to say because of the tire management. Maybe we managed more than the others in those corners. In qualifying, it was really T5 and T10 in which we struggled the most. The 10 being a really long slow turn. Once again, this is where we must progress. On T9 and T13 in qualifying, it was fine.” 

These two less satisfactory results have, however, dampened neither the optimism nor the ambition of No. 16, who is determined to shine on one of his favorite tracks. “As for Austria, in the simulator, the preparation went well so I am confident that it will go well. There are quite a few fast turns here so we'll know more about where we really are. Let's not forget that we just had this update, there is only one race. We must understand it, and see how to optimize the settings around it. I hope that for Silverstone we will have understood all that and that we will be able to fight for pole and victory. Charles would happily look back on good memories of 2022, where he won the race after overtaking Max Verstappen three times on track.

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Jeremy Satis

Great F1 reporter & passionate about promotional formulas

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