Charles Leclerc Isn’t ‘Satisfied’ As He Awaits Ferrari Upgrades

Charles Leclerc has admitted that he isn’t “satisfied” following a challenging Chinese Grand Prix where Ferrari struggled to fully contend with frontrunners Red Bull and – for that one weekend – McLaren, despite their strategic efforts. The Monegasque driver is particularly keen on the imminent car upgrades which he’s hoping will push them further up the grid.

The Shanghai International Circuit proved to be a testing ground for Scuderia Ferrari’s tactical acumen in the latest round of the F1 2023 season. The Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, secured fourth and fifth places respectively, but the outcome left the team desiring more despite impressive pace from both. They amassed a total of 31 points, sitting behind Red Bull in the points table for the event, inclusive of the sprint race points.

Starting from sixth and seventh on the grid, Leclerc and Sainz faced an uphill battle from the onset. The early parts of the race saw both drivers lose ground, particularly to a charging George Russell in the Mercedes. However, strategic plays during the race, which included a well-timed pit stop under the virtual safety car, momentarily boosted Leclerc to third before settling into fourth by race end. The Spaniard encountered his own challenges, fighting hard in the midfield after an early pit stop pushed him back to tenth, only to claw back up to fifth by leveraging advantage from the pit stops during the Safety Car period.

Despite their valiant efforts, the post-race comments from the scarlet-clad Monegasque conveyed a sense of frustration over the team’s inability to capitalize fully over the weekend.

Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-24
Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. Charles Leclerc looks forward to…

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

“We’re not completely satisfied with our result as a team today. We have two things to focus on leaving Shanghai, one is our qualifying trim and the other our pace on the Hards, which was our main challenge today,” Leclerc said in a press release from the team.

“Our strategy and performance were strong until the Safety Car, but after that we were all on the same strategy and it was a bit more difficult for us to get back to speed on the Hard tyres.”

The Scuderia cars spent the majority of their race trying to put heat into their tyres, with Leclerc suffering less than his teammate. Unfortunately, when the tyres reached the optimum temperature, they were far too deep into their life to return decent performance. There was untapped potential in the Italian machinery last weekend.

“What will be essential is the upcoming upgrades, as they will define the direction we will take for the next part of the season,” he added.

The exact details of this imminent upgrade are currently unknown, but it will likely revolve around the floor of the car which creates the majority of the downforce and is, arguably, the most important part of the overall aerodynamic system.

With the European leg of the championship on the horizon, the pressure intensifies for teams to solidify their standings and iron out any persisting kinks. For Ferrari, and particularly for Charles Leclerc, the path forward is clear. The team is at a pivotal point where the success of their upcoming technical revisions could well dictate their competitiveness for the rest of the season.