Charles Leclerc talks ‘trust’ amidst rumours of growing tension

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc speaks to the media at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Charles Leclerc speaks to the media at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

With tension rumoured to be growing between the Ferrari drivers as well as the team-mates and the pit wall, Charles Leclerc says “trust” is not an issue.

Ferrari went into this year’s championship with Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna proclaiming the SF-23 to be a “single-seater that will be unprecedented in terms of speed”.

That quickly proved to be a false promise with Carlos Sainz conceding they knew in pre-season testing already they hadn’t achieved the same gains made by their rivals, most notably Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc balancing pressure and patience

While the Milton Keynes squad has gone on a ten-race winning streak, Leclerc has managed just two podiums this season while Sainz has yet to even bag one leaving Ferrari a distant P4 in the championship with 157 to Red Bull’s 411.

Ferrari’s inability to challenge Red Bull for the race lead, or even regularly fight for the podium, has seen both drivers question the Scuderia’s strategies with Leclerc insisting it’s not a case of mistrusting the team, rather the drivers have a different perspective.

“I say to the team what I think and the team say what they think,” he told the Guardian. “This is the way to move forward.

“I don’t think the trust has ever been an issue. We have a very different vision inside the car than what the team has on the pit wall, so these things happen.”

But as it was last season, reliability and driver errors have also played a role in Ferrari being where they are in the standings.

Leclerc is down in seventh place with 74 points on the board to Sainz’s P5, nine points ahead. Neither driver is even close to runaway championship leader Max Verstappen with his 255 points.

But Leclerc is not giving up, even if at times that does lead to a driver error.

“My mentality has always been to push at the maximum and not leave anything on the table,” he said.

“When you have a trickier car to drive, as is the case for the first part of this season, mistakes happen. I know this.

“Whenever there is something missing I am trying to find something that is not there, I will always try to push the limit.”

He, however, has called for patience as Ferrari seek their first World title since Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 success.

“I am the first one who wants to be in a title fight,” he said. “But it’s not frustrating, it motivates me a lot.

“I am even more motivated to change that, to bring Ferrari back to where it deserves to be, which is consistently on top. Once we get there I am sure it will be a very, very special moment.

“This year is far away from where we expected it to be but being a Ferrari driver is something very special. I don’t feel the outside pressure but I am putting myself under a lot of pressure in order to succeed, the responsibility of bringing Ferrari back to the top.

“The passion people have for the team is like nobody else. This comes with the good side that there is so much enthusiasm but it comes with things more difficult to manage, that because of this passion people are quite impatient.”

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