Charles Leclerc admits that he’s now “feeling more comfortable” with Ferrari’s 2023 Formula 1 car but warns a greater performance step will only arrive next season.

Having seen its challenge completely crumble across the second half of 2022, Ferrari entered the current campaign aiming to string together a sustained F1 title bid.

However, the Italian marque’s prospects have been stymied by an inconsistent SF-23 car that both Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz have encountered trouble to tame.

But after being granted the platform to pursue a new setup direction, Sainz stormed to pole position in Monza and Singapore, converting the latter into a race victory.

Leclerc, in particular, detailed the struggles he had experienced with Ferrari’s 2023 charger, admitting he’s been unable to dial in the oversteer that he thrived with in 2022.

Since then, though, the Monegasque driver has had the measure of Sainz, outqualifying the Spaniard in each of the last four rounds, including for pole in Mexico last weekend.

Explaining the changes to adapt the current car to his liking, Leclerc said: “It’s a small step in the right direction, I think we have to wait for next year to make a bigger step.

“We are speaking about bigger things, but it’s a small step in the right direction, basically it allows me to feel more at ease with the car.

“But that’s even more difficult to accept when I have a very good weekend in the US [disqualification for technical infringement] and then I leave without any points.

“In the end it’s part of racing but the good thing is that we have the proof that I’m feeling more comfortable in the last few races and that we are pushing in the right direction and have managed to make me feel more comfortable with that.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari on the grid. 29.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Race Day.


Ferrari have already revealed that it will be pressing ahead with plans to assemble a “brand new” car in 2024 to remove the “crystal clear” flaws of the current concept.

But Leclerc insists the progress made throughout this season has encouraged him that the Maranello-based squad is heading in the right direction to compete at the top.

Asked whether Ferrari’s improvement this season has given him confidence next year’s car will be a step forward, Leclerc replied: “Yes, definitively, because what I’m saying it’s not only based on how comfortable I feel in the car, but also in the overall competitiveness of the package and where we are compared to our main competitors.

“The work done, especially in the second part of the season, confirms that this is the direction to go.”

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