Charles Leclerc has backed Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur at the halfway point of the season, despite the team sitting fourth in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship after a difficult first eleven races.
Leclerc approaches the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix almost 100 points down on his tally from the same point in 2022, with little sign of improvement for Ferrari who’ve been leapfrogged by Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren in the intervening 12 months.
However, Leclerc promised improvements are coming at Ferrari under Vasseur, who he also worked with in his debut F1 season with Sauber.
“He’s adapting really well,” Leclerc told the media. “Ferrari‘s definitely a different beast to Alfa Romeo, many more people involved and a lot more pressure.
“But Fred straightaway understood what were the areas we should work on and he definitely makes a difference.
“I know Fred really well and he’s slowly implementing these new mindsets, which I think is positive and will make a difference in the medium-long term. But it’s also his first season within the team so we need to give him time to see these changes take form on track.”
Leclerc frustrated by small margins and big losses
As the clock ticks past 12 months since Leclerc‘s last win in F1, Ferrari look like they’re going backwards on the grid rather than forward.
Though Leclerc put in a dogged performance at the Hungarian GP qualifying sixth and finishing seventh, six teams qualified ahead of Carlos Sainz in the second car and McLaren‘s resurgence has pushed Ferrari further away from the podium.
Leclerc admitted Ferrari aren’t as fast enough right now but added they’ve found areas to improve from the Hungaroring.
“Every team’s super close now, especially in qualifying,” Leclerc added. “Look at Budapest qualifying and we were all within seven, eight hundredths in Q3 apart from the top three. So the smallest difference can have a big influence on your results and at the moment, that’s where we are as a car.
“At the track we need to focus on every single detail because now more than ever, it makes a big influence on your end result in qualifying especially. And in Budapest we probably left a bit of performance here and there which had a big consequence on our weekend.
“Then the big picture is that we aren’t fast enough and we know it, we’re putting all our effort to be back to where we want to be as quickly as possible.”