Leclerc: Car is not the problem

Leclerc says he has full confidence in his new boss at Ferrari: Charles Leclerc believes Frederic Vasseur is the right person to lead the Ferrari team back to success and has full confidence in the Frenchman. The Ferrari driver also alluded to the fact that upgrades aren’t going to help them reach the front of the Formula 1 grid.

Charles Leclerc says he is fully behind Scuderia Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur as the French manager is given the tough task of ensuring the Maranello team can fight for the world championship again.


Debate about Leclerc

For some, the Mongasque F1 driver hasn’t performed this season, and cannot solely blame the team for this. Charles reportedly sent a letter to the board of Ferrari some months ago.

According to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Leclerc sent a letter to Ferrari bosses asking for a meeting with chief executive officer John Elkann. Leclerc was said to be “very unhappy” with the car’s pace after the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he retired with a power unit failure.

For Sky Sport F1 pundit and former driver, Martin Brundle, the Ferrari drivers’ performances haven’t reflected well on Leclerc.

“Leclerc must stop crashing his car, it’s holding him and the team back.” says Brundle.

“He is unbelievably fast and committed,” confirms Brundle, “..and he can afford to trade a fraction of that to build a better race weekend, and so a better season. He must lead the team to higher things and not keep the repair shop so busy.”



Coulthard condemns Leclerc errors

David Coulthard concurs, and believes Charles Leclerc’s recent mistakes prove that he is currently “driving beyond his capabilities”.

“It’s not acceptable and that’s a chink in his armour,” Coulthard said of Leclerc’s errors on Channel 4.

“He’s brilliantly fast, he extracts a lot from that car, but he makes too many mistakes and there’s too much damage. He knows it, the team will know it, they’ll accept it because what else can you do? You know, you’re not going to fire him, he’s the strongest asset they have there in terms of extracting the last little bit from the car.

“But I think that all he needs is a World Championship and then he will be the complete package.

“Right now, he doesn’t have that World Championship. Therefore, he’s driving a little bit desperate and driving beyond his own capabilities.”


Norris: Piastri better than Ricciardo


Ferrari not happy with Leclerc

Obviously sending a letter to the board of Ferrari pinning blame on the car itself and then subsequently making multiple driving errors that result in crashes, is probably not the best way to deal with the Italian outfit. Historically drivers have been sacked for less in Maranello, or at least the team / driver relationship deteriorated beyond repair. One gets the sense the Leclerc is aware of this now as he has recently backed the new team boss fully.



New boss vote of confidence

Frederic Vasseur left his position as Alfa Romeo team boss, which he had been in charge of since 2017, to take the reins at Ferrari ahead of the start of the 2023 campaign, following the departure of former team boss Mattia Binotto.

However, the start of his tenure at Ferrari is not all smooth sailing with the team clearly lacking competitiveness at the start of the 2023 season.

But when asked about Vasseur’s approach since he joined Ferrari, Charles Leclerc said he is 100% behind him and believes he is currently doing everything he can to bring the team back to success.

“He is just starting this process and so far he has tried to analyse the situation as quickly as possible to make the best possible changes for the future,” said Charles Leclerc.

“So I think most of the work will be done from now on, so we will see. Obviously, I talk to Fred [Vasseur] a lot and I know what his medium and long term plans are for the team, and I’m completely behind him and I trust him completely.”

“So I’m sure that these are the right choices and that this is going in the right direction for the team. So, I’m looking forward to it all, but yeah, we have to wait and see [changes].”


READ MORE: Red Bull boss vetoes Marko’s demands


Car is not the problem

Since the start of the season, both Ferrari drivers have complained about the SF-23’s inconsistency between good qualifying pace on Saturday and a lack of competitiveness on Sunday in the race.

Leclerc is now seemingly and publically reneging on his position of ‘blaming the car’, saying the car should be able to perform at the front, once Vassuer gets his team in order operationally. 

But although Ferrari will introduce several new features to its car in the next few races, Leclerc believes that no miracles can be expected, as he believes the problem is deeper.

“We will have updates, but honestly, the problem is not the potential of the car, I think that when we put everything in place we are there,” said the Monegasque, who took two poles in Baku [one in the Sprint and one in the main race].

“It’s more about using the tools we have rather than upgrading. Of course, we will bring updates, but that’s not the issue…”

A canny statement indeed.

Ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy, which takes place on Ferrari’s home turf from May 19-21, the Maranello-based team sits fourth in the constructors’ championship, already 146 points behind leader Red Bull.

READ MORE: Bitter news for Mick Schumacher



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