Charles Leclerc addresses Ferrari problems ahead of 2024 Austrian GP

Ferrari suffered an out-of-sorts Spanish GP that saw them finish as the fourth fastest car

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Charles Leclerc is confident in Ferrari can address their problems and fight at the 2024 Austrian GP after a dismal race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya saw the team beaten by Mercedes for the second Formula 1 round in a row.

The Monegasque driver, and his teammate Carlos Sainz, were both jumped by the Silver Arrows in qualifying and could not make up the ground in the race 24 hours later as they finished a distant 22 and 31 seconds behind Max Verstappen’s triumphant Red Bull.

Such a time gap represented a very disappointing performance by Ferrari, who recently won the 2024 Monaco GP, and perhaps more worryingly, they finished five and 14 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton in the final podium spot.

But Leclerc is confident the margins will be substantially closer for Ferrari at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg from June 28-30 for the 2024 Austrian GP, at a track where he has finished on the podium four times since joining back in 2019.

“The gap there was from us to pole position, which was two or three tenths in Barcelona,” Leclerc told media, including Total-Motorsport.com, when asked about how much performance Ferrari needs to find. “However, I feel like the potential is in the car.

“We just need to optimise our package and then we’ll be back to where we want. We didn’t do that in Montreal [Canada], especially with tyres, and the conditions were a bit outside of our operating window.

“Then in Barcelona, we were just not fast enough, but the preparation on the simulator for this track [Red Bull Ring] went well. So, I feel confident we’ll be back in the in the fight.”

Charles Leclerc ahead of the 2024 Canadian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Charles Leclerc ahead of the 2024 Canadian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Why did Ferrari struggle in Spain?

Red Bull have been surprisingly vulnerable through 2024 as they’ve dropped three race wins through 10 rounds of the season, and although Verstappen maintains a 70% success rate, his season hasn’t been nearly as leisurely as 2023.

The wake of that weakness in the armour of Christian Horner’s team has seen McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari look to kick on their development programs to upgrade their cars to see if they can finally leapfrog the defending world champions.

It’s here that Leclerc believes is the cause for Ferrari’s problems, although he doesn’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing that they’ve had two slower aces as the reason for the off-colour performances gives his team the chance to take a big step forwards in the future.

“We’ve been struggling mostly with long slow speed corners,” Leclerc added to the gathered press at the 2024 Austrian GP. “Which here [Austria], they are a little bit less [common], so that’s a good sign for us.

“We are working on that in order to have a better car in those corners, which I think we’ve seen some good steps forward in the last few races. However, we were struggling then in the other corners, so we’ve just got to put everything together.”

Leclerc concluded, “We are working on it and I’m confident it will be fine this weekend.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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