Red Bull and McLaren ‘doing something weird’ with energy deployment, claims Charles Leclerc

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc on the Imola 2024 podium.

Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari need to figure out a “weird” trick which Red Bull and McLaren are using with energy deployment, which is their ticket back to the top step of the podium.

Ferrari had gone into their home race at Imola hoping to contend for the victory, but ultimately that battle was reserved for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris, Verstappen getting the job done as he withstood the late charge from Norris to win by just seven-tenths.

Ferrari need to work out Red Bull and McLaren energy trick

Leclerc would finish just over six seconds up the road from Norris’ McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, but 14 seconds off the win. However, he is confident that he knows where Verstappen and Norris are making that difference.

And he believes it comes down to how they are managing the energy deployment from their power unit. So, if Ferrari work that out, Leclerc thinks they will be fighting for wins too.

Asked by Sky F1 whether he felt like he could have done anything more to improve his race at Imola, Leclerc replied: “Honestly, I don’t think so.

“We had to cover for Oscar in the first stint. No way we can afford to lose track position on a track like this. So we had to stop.

“Oscar was pushing hard in the first few laps of the out and that made it quite difficult for me to manage tyres in the first part of the hard tyres.

“Then I saw I was coming back on Lando and I was like, ‘Okay, maybe I’m going to try and put him under pressure now’, but then obviously as soon as I got a bit closer, they started to push and then that was it. We never really saw Lando again.

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“So, they were strong. However, I really believe that today was all about track position. I think our race pace is very, very strong.

“I’m more optimistic than yesterday looking back at the qualifying, because this is where I think we are lacking on a weekend like this.

“And what makes me optimistic is that if I look back at the data, I thought we were losing in Turn 2, 3, 4, which would have been tyre related again, but that wasn’t the case. We lost everything in the straights and they are doing something weird with the energy engine-wise, McLaren and Red Bull.

“So we’ve got to look into it, but nothing that is not possible to change. So we’ll look into that. And once we fix that, I think we’ve got a real shot of going back on the top step of the podium.”

Leclerc has improved to P2 in the Drivers’ Championship after his Imola podium, moving ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

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