Sports can be strange. There are bitter victories and defeats that paradoxically are worth more, and this also applies to Formula 1, where teams – especially if they are struggling – experiment to draw lessons for the future. This happened, for example, to Ferrari, which realized it had the wrong car from the early tests in Bahrain (with all the disappointment of Charles Leclerc, who just can’t lie), but worked from that point onward to get out of the technical quagmire. According to Charles Leclerc, after a series of attempts, the SF-23 finally emerged from the technical swamp at the Zandvoort circuit.
Charles Leclerc’s comments
In that Dutch Grand Prix, which represents the lowest point of Charles Leclerc’s 2023 Formula 1 season (an incident in qualifying and retirement in the race), Leclerc found the key: “The turning point of the season happened at Zandvoort. We tried completely different things with the two cars and learned a lot. Even in the first part of the season, we experimented a lot. Some were helpful, others not. Sometimes Carlos did well, sometimes I did well. Sometimes nothing worked. That’s why it seemed like we didn’t know what we were doing. But we learned from each of these steps,” Leclerc’s words to Auto Motor und Sport.
“It hasn’t been an exceptional season because our car wasn’t as good as expected,” continued the Monegasque. “On the other hand, we learned a lot for 2024. And that’s the best you can hope for in a difficult year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t change much this season, but in the medium term, we can take a step forward.” – the Ferrari man pointed out.
Pros and cons on a personal level
Charles Leclerc is satisfied not only with the path Ferrari has taken but also with how he has found the key to interpreting a car that, at the beginning of the year, did not suit his driving style: “I am quite satisfied with myself. The characteristics of this car did not suit my driving style. We worked on this aspect throughout the season, and gradually, we found a direction that suits me better. The new floor introduced in Japan helped me a lot. Among the negatives were some flaws at the beginning of the season and, of course, the disqualification in Austin.” – the Monegasque driver concluded.