Disheartened Leclerc expresses frustration with his Ferrari. Charles Leclerc was clearly dejected after the conclusion of the Formula 1 sprint race in Austria. The Ferrari driver finished in 11th place, which means he won’t be able to secure any points in a crucial Grand Prix for both himself and Ferrari.
In the rainy conditions of Austria, the Monegasque driver faced difficulties and openly displayed his lack of confidence in his team and car.
One possible reason for Charles Leclerc’s 11th place finish in the Austrian sprint session could be attributed to the tyres on his Ferrari. The Monegasque driver struggled to find comfort in his car during wet conditions.
The SF-23’s grip on slick tyres was challenging, preventing Leclerc from delivering a strong performance. This situation understandably frustrated him.
A History of Criticism of Ferrari
Charles Leclerc has not been shy about expressing his criticism of Ferrari in the past, and the Sprint F1 race in Austria yesterday was yet another entry into this lengthy tome.
Following a dominant period in the early 2000s, the team has struggled in recent years to maintain their winning form. Leclerc has openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the team’s lack of competitiveness, particularly during the 2020 season when Ferrari faced significant challenges with their car’s performance. Downforce and reliability in particular have been the focus of Leclercs’ annoyance with the team.
Another aspect that Leclerc has been critical of is the team’s decision-making process. He has expressed his frustration with strategic choices made by the team, believing that some decisions have hindered his race results.
Grid penalty didn’t help
Charles Leclerc had received a three-place grid penalty for obstructing Oscar Piastri during the Sprint Shootout at the F1 Austrian Grand Prix. The session determines the grid positions for the Sprint race.
As a result of the penalty, the Ferrari driver had been demoted from sixth to ninth on the starting grid for the Sprint race. The stewards conducted an investigation into the incident during SQ1 and determined that Leclerc had “unnecessarily impeded” the McLaren driver of Oscar Piastri.
Stewards decision in full
“The driver of Car 81 stated that as he approached Turn 9 he saw that Car 16 was travelling slowly and had to brake, reducing his speed by approximately 45 km/h over the previous push lap. This was verified by the Stewards referencing the telemetry of Car 81. It was confirmed Car 81 lost approximately 0.5 of a second in that mini-sector (5.3s v 4.8s).
“The driver of Car 16 stated that the last call he had from his team was when he was approaching Turn 4 (“Piastri 6 seconds”) and that he saw Car 81 in his mirrors as he was in Turn 8 and Car 81 was in Turn 7.
“The Team Representative of Car 16 stated that the team “could have done better” in communicating the rapid approach of Car 81 and its drivers stated that “If I had been warned I could have done something earlier”.
“Accordingly we determine that although this was not entirely the fault of the driver, and that the team’s lack of communication was the major contributing factor, a grid position penalty must be imposed as Car 81 was “unnecessarily impeded”, because there is no doubt that the situation could have been avoided.
“It should also be noted that this penalty is to apply ONLY to the Sprint and should the driver be unable to contest the Sprint at this event, the penalty shall carry over to the next Sprint (and not the Grand Prix).”
“We lack speed!”
Expressing his disappointment yet again with Ferrari, Charles Leclerc stated after the Sprint yesterday:
“In these conditions, we simply cannot perform. Well, when I say ‘we,’ I mean my side of the garage because I believe Carlos is having a good race with a good pace,
“But I’m really struggling. I need to focus on my side and understand what’s going wrong in these conditions because, honestly, we lack speed. It’s not a matter of strategy or anything else; it’s simply that we are not fast enough.”
Leclerc swipes at Ferrari
Furthermore, Charles Leclerc took a swipe at Ferrari, saying, “Unfortunately, we have been encountering these conditions for three weekends now, with slick tires on a track that is partially wet and partially dry. I have absolutely no feeling with the car; it’s incredibly challenging for me to drive it, and my lack of confidence is clearly impacting my performance.”