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Charles Leclerc reveals Ferrari's qualifying tactics, which hide car issue

Charles Leclerc sheds light on Ferrari's 2023 season, unravelling the mysteries behind the team's qualifying prowess and the subsequent struggles in races.

Leclerc, securing five poles in the season, second only to Red Bulls Max Verstappen, faced a curious dilemma as his exceptional one-lap speed failed to translate into victories. The Monegasque driver delved into the intricacies of Ferrari's SF-23, emphasizing its sensitivity to tire dynamics.

"New tires in qualifying act as a disguise for the car's weaknesses," Leclerc revealed to Auto Motor und Sport. "The additional grip compensates for underlying issues. However, as the tires age, and fuel accumulates, challenges arise. In traffic, changing winds, or shifting temperatures, the weaknesses become pronounced, making it challenging to navigate the car effectively."

Leclerc's honest assessment highlighted the fine balance upon which the SF-23 operated. Unlike Red Bull, where this masking effect was less prevalent, Ferrari grappled with a delicate equilibrium. The driver pinpointed specific scenarios, such as the Mexico City Grand Prix, where performance disparities on different tire compounds became glaringly evident.

"Our speed on medium tires in Mexico was impressive, but when we switched to hard tires, everything fell apart," Leclerc explained, exemplifying the team's struggle to adapt to varying tyre conditions.

As the curtain falls on the 2023 F1 season, teams and drivers embark on a well-deserved break before gearing up for the 2024 campaign. The action kicks off with official pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit from February 23-25, promising a fresh start and renewed strategies for the teams aiming to conquer the challenges of the upcoming season.

 

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