A morale-boosting podium
Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc secured his third podium of the 2023 Formula One season in Belgium at the 7.004-kilometre Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Stavelot, following his third-place finish at the Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan and second-place finish at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
During the Sprint weekends, the Ferrari SF-23 consistently managed to secure a spot in the top 3, which is no small feat considering the tight competition between Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and McLaren, all closely trailing the missile-like Red Bull RB19.
In terms of the championship standings, second place for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari is still a distant goal. However, the calendar is long, and if Maranello can find the key to make the SF-23 competitive every weekend, the chance to make up ground and match the results achieved in 2022 may still be within reach for the men in red. During the press conference at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc openly acknowledged that the expectations at the beginning of the season were quite different from what transpired after Bahrain.
Nonetheless, Maranello has already worked tirelessly to overhaul the SF-23 and find an acceptable compromise, despite the flaws that can only be addressed by changing the project starting from 2024. Ferrari has disappointed when they were expected to impress, and surprised when they were deemed as underdogs.
Charles Leclerc’s comments:
“Before the first race, the goal was to make progress compared to last year, namely to win the World Championship,” stated the Ferrari driver during the press conference after the Spa event. “If we look at the first half of the year, we are far from the expectations we had at the beginning of the season. However, as soon as we realized this, we reset everything, and there was an incredible reaction from the team. They provided upgrades, sometimes even a month and a half ahead of schedule, and this requires a great effort from everyone in Maranello. As we have seen, it helped us achieve great results.” – the Monegasque driver pointed out.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
“I think we still need to understand, because if I look back at the last two races, we expected to be much more competitive in Budapest than on a track like this, but it turned out to be the opposite. So, these are things we need to examine because maybe we didn’t optimize the package in races like Budapest, and perhaps we did something surprisingly good on a track like this. In any case, it’s positive to end the first part of the season on a positive note, and now we’ll take the time during the summer break – or at least whenever the guys can work again – to analyze these last two races and hopefully maximize the package in all the races for the second half of the season.” – the Ferrari driver concluded.