Charles Leclerc offers details on Ferrari upgrades to close Red Bull gap

Ferrari are four points behind Red Bull in the F1 constructors championship after Carlos Sainz capitalised on Max Verstappen's Australia retirement

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Charles Leclerc refused to reveal when Ferrari will bring upgrades to the SF-24 but added the timeframe is constantly changing as the Scuderia attempt to close the gap to Red Bull starting at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz taking victory after Max Verstappen‘s retirement in Melbourne means the teams are separated by just four points in the constructors’ championship but Red Bull still hold a considerable pace advantage – particularly on race day.

Red Bull are bringing their own upgrades to Suzuka too with fears it could be another giant step forward masterminded by Adrian Newey to the team who recorded back-to-back 1-2s in the opening two races in the 2024 season.

“I don’t think I can say when we’ll bring the upgrades, however I can say that it changes based on what we try in the wind tunnel,” Leclerc told the media.

“Obviously we’re trying to squeeze the times to produce those parts, for it to be as early as possible in the season because every race, we gain that potential points, so we’re pushing to have them as early as possible in the season, I can’t answer when.”

Leclerc yearning for Suzuka confidence

Suzuka was the scene of Leclerc officially surrendering his biggest championship fight to date, in 2022 when a post-race demotion meant he could no longer catch Verstappen after winning two of the opening three races of the season.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari at the start 2022 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Ferrari also struggled there in 2023 compared to McLaren who recorded just their third double-podium of the V6 era, but Leclerc did manage a creditable fourth place.

However, McLaren predict their advantage to the rest of the chasing pack will have diminished in 2024 there’s hope that Ferrari can return to the Suzuka rostrum, at a track that’s a traditional favourite amongst the drivers.

“Like every track, it always feels better when you’ve got a nice car to drive,” Leclerc added, “and especially on such a confidence track like Suzuka.

“This track is absolutely amazing, the feeling you get in the first sector with the esses is amazing, if you get out of the right operational window of the car it becomes a lot more challenging, might be not as fun but it’s always something special to be driving F1 cars around Suzuka and yeah we’ll try to target the right balance for this weekend.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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