Charles Leclerc shuts down race engineer swap theory as new partnership starts at Imola

Jamie Woodhouse
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the Imola paddock in 2024.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

Charles Leclerc insists communication with former Ferrari race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros was not an issue after the decision to move him to a different role.

The duo had worked together since Leclerc’s Ferrari debut back in 2019, but that union is now over with Xavier Marcos, affectionately referred to as ‘Xavi’, having moved to a different department at Ferrari as Leclerc’s performance engineer Bryan Bozz takes on the role of race engineer.

Charles Leclerc plays down impact of race engineer change

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Imola will be the first test of the partnership between Leclerc and Bozz, though with this change coming in-season, and at a time where Ferrari are introducing a heavily-upgraded SF-24 in the battle against Red Bull and McLaren, Leclerc was asked by media including’s Thomas Maher how big of a risk this switch is?

Leclerc batted away that way of thinking though, pointing out that he is not “starting from zero” with Bozz and expects them to hit “100 per cent” already at Imola.

“Obviously, it’s very, very tight in the front and everything makes a difference. However, the decision was made between the team and Xavi,” Leclerc began.

“They’ve had other plans in mind, I guess and it was communicated to me right after Miami.

“But having said that, Bryan, that will take the role of Xavi from now onwards, is a person I have been working with since I arrived in Ferrari, he’s always been my performance engineer, so he knows exactly how everything works and it’s not like I’m starting from zero and that is going to be a complete adaptation.

“It’s been super smooth until now and I’m sure that it will continue that way and that we’ll be at our 100 per cent already from this weekend.”

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During Xavi’s time as Leclerc’s race engineer, he became famous for his unorthodox radio messages, though as recently as the Chinese Grand Prix, Leclerc was left struggling to understand what he meant with his “try original line Turns 7 and 8 for comparison” message.

Leclerc then was asked whether improving communication was a goal behind this race engineer swap, to which he denied that communication was a problem with Xavi.

“I think communication has always been a big thing since we worked with Xavi,” said Leclerc, “but we always try and communicate as much as possible and this is the way I work to try and have the best picture overall.

“So yeah, as I said, I think we’re focused on having the smoothest transition possible. And then we’ll focus on the things that matter to us. But I don’t think it was a particular problem in the past.”

Ferrari head into the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, 52 points behind Red Bull.

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