Charles Leclerc has dismissed suggestions that Ferrari should call time on the 2023 F1 title battle and switch focus to the 2024 campaign. The Ferrari driver did not have a great race in Bahrain. He was more than half a second slower than Max Verstappen in the race trim and was running P3 when the power unit gave up.
To exacerbate things, Leclerc has a ten-place grid penalty to cater to in Saudi Arabia as his season has not been off to a great start. When suggested by Motorsport.com that Ferrari could start focussing on the 2024 season, Leclerc shot back:
"We are only at the beginning of the World Championship, and there are so many races before the end of this season; we have to fight like crazy to get back to the top and keep pushing. I really believe we can fight this season, because we only did the first race."
"Sure, it didn't go as we wanted, and when Ferrari doesn't go as it should, then there are many rumours around the team, but we have to be positive and spend our energies wisely. We have to push in the same direction, make a difference and come back stronger. I think all of this has been the case over the last few weeks, so I can't wait to get back on track, stop talking and get back to riding.
No issues with simulator correlation - Charles Leclerc
Ferrari had made all the right noises heading into the 2023 season. There had been multiple reports of significant time being found compared to the previous car.
When these reports did not materialise into on-track performance, questions were raised. When asked if simulator correlation remains an issue, Leclerc disagreed and said that there are no surprises in terms of performance. He said:
"In Bahrain, there was nothing unrelated (between the track and the simulations). However, yes, in the race we struggled more than I would have liked with the balance, with the tyre degradation. But, as I said, Sakhir is a quite one of a kind track".
It will be interesting to see how well Ferrari perform in Jeddah as they hope to rekindle their championship hopes after a disappointing start.