Charles Leclerc concerning verdict on Ferrari’s 2024 development compared to Red Bull’s

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton chatting to Charles Leclerc at a press conference at the 2023 British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton chatting to Charles Leclerc.

Charles Leclerc concedes Red Bull’s getting the jump on their rivals with the development of next year’s car is “part of the game”, they have an advantage and now they can use it going forward.

Running rampant over their rivals this season with nine wins from nine races, Red Bull have raced out to a lead of almost 200 points in the Constructors’ Championship with Max Verstappen 98 up on the best non-Red Bull driver of Fernando Alonso in the Drivers’ standings.

Such is their lead both on the track and in the standings that the Milton Keynes squad will soon be able to call time on upgrading today’s car and instead turn their full attention to next season’s edition.

Charles Leclerc accepts it’s ‘part of the game’

It had Lewis Hamilton recently suggesting Formula 1 should set a 1 August date as the earliest in which teams can begin working on the following year’s car in order to negate some of Red Bull’s advantage as it “sucks” for their rivals.

That was put to Leclerc in Thursday’s driver press conference at Silverstone where he was asked if he was worried Red Bull are ‘going to get a jump on starting to develop for 2024 before you can switch to that’.

He replied: “I’m not particularly worried, it’s part of the game, no?

“Whenever you have an edge in one season, then obviously the risk for the other teams is that this team is trying to take time in order to develop next year’s car. But, in the end, it’s quite linked in a way.”

The Monégasque driver conceded Ferrari are not in a position to switch focus as they first need to eradicate the weaknesses in this year’s car or risk carrying that over into next season’s.

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“We are still mainly focussed on this year’s car,” he said, “because we’ve got clear weaknesses and we know that we need to address those, and when we will have addressed those, then it goes together: next year’s car will be much better – so, yeah.

“But again, what gives me confidence in this time is that we have a very clear plan in what we want to improve. We’ve already done steps forward in the last three races.

“There are many more things coming in the next races, in order to not only be in front of Mercedes and Aston but to be fighting the Red Bulls as quickly as possible and we are on the right track, I’m sure.”

The same question was put to Hamilton, who opted for a more neutral stance.

“Not much more for me to add to that. It’s very much the same,” he said after Leclerc. “It wouldn’t be helpful for us to just stop working on this car and focus on next year’s car.

“We’ve got to utilise the time we have to track to develop the car that we have and fix those problems, just as Charles was saying. And I’m confident we will get there. It’s just a question of how long that will take.”

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