Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc is pleased with the Maranello team’s recent progress but believes the budget cap is slowing down the “hunt” for Red Bull. The Italian side has improved in this latter part of the current season, managing to secure the only non-Red Bull victory of the entire year (with Carlos Sainz in Singapore).
The Maranello team seems to have resolved the main issue with the SF-23 single-seater, which was tire management. However, there is still a lot of instability in directional changes, which did not help at the Suzuka circuit and could affect the weekends in Austin and Mexico.
Nevertheless, Charles Leclerc is optimistic about the future, seeing the steps forward the team has taken in recent races: “After Monza, we understood different dynamics, which is positive for this year but especially for designing the 2024 car,” he said.
The Monegasque stated that the progress made by the Maranello team justifies the design direction taken for the upcoming Formula 1 season: “The project for next year is very different from the car we have this year. This [period of form] confirms that we have taken a good direction for the future. The more we learn, the better it is for the final details of the 2024 car, so it’s crucial.” – he pointed out.
The form achieved in the recent races will encourage the team to engage in the new project for next season, Charles Leclerc stated: “It’s really good to understand this even before the end of the season because we still have quite a few races, so we can push more in this direction.”
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Progress slowed down by the budget cap?
While satisfied with Scuderia Ferrari’s direction, Charles Leclerc realizes that the budget cap doesn’t allow progress at the same pace as before: “You have to be a bit more patient, but I think it’s the same for everyone. We still have the simulator to test these things, so I can be virtually excited until next year. In the meantime, I just have to do the best job possible with what we have at the moment,” he added.
With six races to go in this finale part of the season, the Monegasque driver has not yet seen much of what the team has in store for 2024, but he relies on the words of Fred Vasseur: “To be honest, I don’t have a clear idea yet because it’s still very early. I’m just relaying Fred’s (Vasseur, Team Principal) words, which suggest the project is very different for next year.”
“As drivers, of course, we wonder about the weaknesses of this car. The engineers are working hard on it, while I’m just waiting to test the car as soon as possible on the simulator,” he concluded.
Will Ferrari manage to become competitive again in the 2024 Formula 1 season? We’ll have to wait a few months for the answer.