Did Charles Leclerc’s comments prompt behind-closed-doors discussions at Ferrari?

Jamie Woodhouse
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc looks on from the garage during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2023.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc looks on from the garage during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2023.

Ex-F1 racer Ralf Schumacher believes Charles Leclerc’s damning criticism of Ferrari’s qualifying strategy in Canada prompted discussions with an improved race showing following.

Leclerc was left furious with his Ferrari team after dropping out at the Q2 stage at the Canadian Grand Prix, the team missing a brief window to set a lap on dry tyres before the rain returned.

He would speak to Sky Sports F1 after the session and made little attempt to conceal his grievances.

“When the track is so dry and we are staying on the inter tyres, we are not making our life any easier,” he said.

“So, we will, again, discuss with the team but we need to do a step forward now because it’s not the first time that it happens.

“We are quite often on the wrong side of making those decisions in those tricky situations.

“I had a clear opinion and a clear intuition and we went for something opposite.”

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Race day though was a more positive showing for Ferrari on the strategy front and when it came to pace as well. Leclerc started P10 with Carlos Sainz P11 due to a grid drop for impeding, with that becoming P4 and P5 finishes respectively as both drivers made the one-stop strategy work well.

And Schumacher believes Leclerc must have got his wish of some post-qualifying discussions in the Ferrari camp, though he warns “patience” is needed until the team can truly get themselves back on the right path, with their ambitions of fighting for F1 2023 title glory failing to materialise.

“For Ferrari, things went much better in the race after the messed-up qualifying,” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Germany column.

“Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz did not make any mistakes and the one-stop strategy worked, although it must be mentioned that Canada is not a tyre-killing track.

“I think there were some clarifying words in the background after Leclerc’s comments.

“If the Scuderia can calm down a bit and the development continues, they could find their way back to their old strengths. But until then, a lot of patience is needed.”

Next up is the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, the venue where Leclerc claimed his and Ferrari’s most recent victory in 2022.

And if Ferrari and Leclerc can ensure they start in the top four this time around, then Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has tipped Leclerc to challenge their runaway Championship leader Max Verstappen for the win.