Engines are still silent, but curiosity about the Scuderia’s performance for this weekend is naturally very high. Ferrari is coming off a rather weak weekend in Qatar in terms of performance, and it is expected that the SF23 will be faster on the Austin track, as Charles Leclerc hopes.
The Monegasque driver for Ferrari maximized his result in Sunday’s race in Losail with a solid fifth-place finish. After a more challenging weekend in Singapore, Charles Leclerc had two excellent races in Japan and Qatar, earning him the “Overtake of the Month” award. Furthermore, there has been a lot of talk about #16 regarding the renewal of his contract with Ferrari.
As for Ferrari as a team, the Prancing Horse limited the damage in the battle against Mercedes for second place in the constructors’ championship, helped by the crash between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in turn 1.
In Austin, just like in Qatar, the sprint format returns, which has favored Ferrari throughout the season. Can we, therefore, expect a stronger Ferrari compared to Qatar? “I hope so! On paper, Qatar was probably one of the worst tracks for us, both due to the conditions and the track’s characteristics,” Charles Leclerc stated during a press conference on Thursday.
Hence, from the words of the Ferrari driver – pending the verdict from the track – nothing but hope and optimism transpire, stemming from the fact that in Maranello, they expected to struggle in the previous race.
Charles Leclerc then emphasized the factors on which Ferrari will need to focus to be genuinely stronger at the COTA: “I believe that, during a Sprint weekend, the most influential factor will be the outcome of the free practice, as there won’t be any more chances to change the car afterward. So, we need to approach the first practice well and find a good setup immediately; achieving this will be much more critical than having a car with characteristics suitable for this track.”
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“In high-speed corners, we need confidence, but what we’ve been lacking in the past races is medium-to-low-speed performance. So, we will focus more on that,” added the former Sauber driver, delving into the specifics of the American track ahead of Friday’s practice session for the United States Grand Prix.