Charles Leclerc has reportedly reached out to Ferrari president John Elkann after his disastrous start to the 2023 season at the Bahrain GP. The Monegasque driver dropped out of third place after suffering a reliability issue.
The incident has soured the current mood at Maranello. Leclerc ran comfortably in third place before suffering yet another reliability issue. Even before the DNF, the 25-year-old's pace was nowhere near that of Red Bull's Max Verstappen - his 2022 title rival.
Seeking reassurance of smooth sailing ahead, the Scuderia driver has reportedly directly approached Elkann in Maranello, hoping to find a remedy for his problems.
The Monegasque driver was expected to improve on his second-place finish in last year's title race but seems to have regressed in 2023.
Charles Leclerc's Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz fared better but was denied a podium place by the charging Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso. Sainz could only manage a fourth-place finish in the first race of the season.
It was nothing but smooth sailing for Max Verstappen, on the other hand. The Dutchman started the race in pole position and cruised to victory without significant difficulties.
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur wants to investigate Charles Leclerc's problems in Bahrain
New Scuderia team principal Fred Vasseur is advocating for a comprehensive inquiry to determine the root cause of Charles Leclerc's DNF during last weekend's Bahrain GP. The Monegasque driver's car experienced reliability problems, causing him to fall out of the podium positions and providing his competitors with an advantage.
Ferrari's issues from 2022 appear to have persisted into the current season, with the team currently appearing to be out of the running for the championship in their present state.
A string of reliability and strategic issues brought them down in 2022, and they risk succumbing to familiar demons this year unless they somehow understand their problems. The team changed some power unit components in Leclerc's car before the race but still suffered a DNF in Bahrain's season opener.
Speaking to RaceFans, Ferrari boss Frederic Vassuer said:
“Honestly, we don’t know yet what’s happened exactly. There’s been an issue this morning; we changed the parts; we don’t know where it’s coming from and we’ll have the investigation soon. But it’s too early a stage for me to give you a better answer.”
Charles Leclerc's title hopes lie in Ferrari's hands, and the team needs to regroup and understand the reasons behind their failures. It will be interesting to follow the Italian team's progress in the coming months.