Charles Leclerc expecting Red Bull strength to be ‘more visible’ upon European return

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc chatting on the press conference couch.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

After their recent F1 2024 struggles over the kerbs and bumps, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc believes Red Bull’s strength will be “more visible” at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

A traditional circuit with its mix of high- and low-speed corners, the Barcelona track is well known among the older drivers as it is used to be a venue for pre-season testing.

Charles Leclerc tips Red Bull to dominate in Spain

Dubbed an all-rounder circuit, it has often been said that if a car goes well at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, it will perform at most tracks.

Demanding of a car’s aerodynamic qualities, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill went as far as to call the Spanish track a “wind tunnel” and the “ultimate test” for a Formula 1 car.

It has Leclerc worried that Red Bull could once again stamp their mark as Formula 1’s most dominant car.

“I feel like the strength of Red Bull will be more visible on a track like Barcelona,” said the Ferrari driver. “But let’s wait and see.

“Behind [Red Bull] I think we’ll all be pretty close.”

And close is what it has been in recent weeks with Ferrari and McLaren winning races while in Canada Mercedes grabbed their first podium of the championship.

“It’s good for Formula 1,” added the Monegasque driver. “We still have some work to do. We need to be on it and maximise all the points.”

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And it’s not just Ferrari who expect Red Bull to excel in Spain.

The track’s layout does not include many high kerbs, which have been Red Bull’s Achiles Heel of late, with Oscar Piastri saying: “I think Red Bull will probably be a bit stronger than they have been.”

He is however hoping McLaren will be in the mix.

“I think we can still be confident, definitely,” said Piastri. “I wouldn’t say we’re weak in high speed, it’s just that others probably caught up a little bit. So we’ll see.”

George Russell also warned that the Barcelona circuit should suit the RB20 better.

“It’s no secret they’ve struggled a bit with their car these last three races. Yet they’ve still won two of the last three,” he said.

“So I expect them to probably take a small step when we go back to the European races on more conventional circuits.

“We need to see how their performance turns out in Barcelona, but this pace increase that we’ve seen from us this weekend, it hasn’t been a surprise to us because all the numbers back at the factory told us we’re going to be finding a big chunk of performance with these upgrades.

“So Barcelona is going to be interesting for everybody, but I’m confident we can be in the fight.”

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