Charles Leclerc says Ferrari is not anticipating “big miracles” from the upgrades it has brought to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Following a disappointing beginning to the campaign that has the Scuderia winless and languishing a distant fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari is introducing a series of updates in a bid to turn around its flailing fortunes.
Rumours suggest that the Italian side will revert from the inwash sidepod concept it has run since the start of last year under the current rules cycle and opt for the downwash solution pioneered by Red Bull.
However, Leclerc concedes that Ferrari can’t expect a miraculous improvement with the addition of new parts – but does hope it will provide a step in the right direction.
“We are not expecting any big miracles, to be honest,” he said. “From now on, we want to try and bring some small upgrades every race. This one should go in the right direction. But I don’t think it will be a massive change.”
While Ferrari has been regularly competitive in qualifying – Leclerc claiming the sole non-Red Bull pole position in Azerbaijan – its SF-23 car has struggled considerably to translate that speed over to a Sunday.
Both Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz have repeatedly issued that the car is exceptionally susceptible to unpredictable behaviour over a race stint.
Aside from aiming to gain performance with the upgrades, Leclerc is hopeful that it will grant the drivers a more consistent platform to push the limits of the car.
“At the moment, the thing is that we have extremely peaky car that in qualifying on the one lap pace with new tyres, the wind that we know exactly how to drive the car, it’s okay, as soon as we go a little bit out of those conditions, the car loses so much downforce overall,” he explained.
“So we have been working a lot on that with this new car. So this should help us to not gain that much performance, but to at least be a bit more consistent throughout the weekend, which hopefully will help us to have a better result on the Sunday.”
Having been unable to unveil development parts at the last two rounds due to the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and the Monaco circuit providing an outlier on the calendar, this weekend’s visit to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya marks a return to a more conventional venue.
Asked how important it is to get answers on the potential of Ferrari’s upgrades on a track that provides a reasonable measure of a car’s underlying performance capabilities, Leclerc replied: “It’s really important, especially because Barcelona is known for probably being the best track to understand exactly where you are with the car.”
“So I think it’s really good to have this new upgrades here and to understand where are we and so we can confirm still our weaknesses.
“I think in our mind, even though we’ve had very different tracks, it’s very clear for us where we need to work. And that is mostly on race pace, and having a car that is a bit easier to drive. And now I think is a perfect track to see whether this upgrade is going in the right direction or not.