Ferrari issues pushed Charles Leclerc into major change in Austria

Rear grip was a major problem for Ferrari at the Red Bull Ring

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Charles Leclerc has revealed that he adapted his driving style to cope with the demands of the Ferrari car as he finished second in the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Leclerc returned to the podium for the first weekend since the Azerbaijan GP in April and managed to remain ahead of the fast-charging Sergio Perez. The Mexican hunted down the SF-23 in his RB19 in the closing stages at the Red Bull Ring, but the Monegasque driver had built up a sufficient buffer to get to the end of the race comfortably.

Despite the strong drive, Leclerc noted that the Ferrari still struggled with rear grip and feels the team possibly left more time on the table.

“I had the rear stepping out a bit too much,” Leclerc said to the media. “And I was struggling with rear degradation but on the second and last stint, it was a little bit better as I modified my driving but maybe we lost a little bit of performance there.”

Considering the dominance of Verstappen at the Austrian GP, it’s unlikely that the small amount of time would have made a big difference in the race but Leclerc believes that the updates are working and that this is encouraging for the team.

“We need to work extremely hard to catch up to Red Bull, they are still quite a bit faster on race day,” Leclerc said.

“But the feeling is better and the team is pushing like I’ve never seen before, in terms of bringing upgrades earlier than planned. Overall, we had a more consistent car today which was good to see.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during 2023 Austrian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Ferrari updates are working

Ferrari introduced upgrades for the Red Bull Ring, after an earlier package was introduced in the USA.

The updates aimed to improve the aerodynamic balance of the Ferrari, which was bizarrely inconsistent at the Spanish GP where Leclerc was dumped out of qualifying in Q1.

And it appears that the performance of the car has improved, so Leclerc looks to add a third podium at the British GP.

“This is the target [finishing on the podium], if not doing better,” Leclerc. “Yes, it’s [Silverstone] is a different track and it’s going to be interesting to see where we are.

“I feel like maybe the weakness of the car is still high speed corners, and in Silverstone there are lots of high-speed corners.”

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circuit finished in Austria, we move on to the 2023 British Grand Prix which will be held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England over the weekend of July 7-9.

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