Leclerc promises very different Ferrari design in 2024

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23. 23.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images
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Ferrari came into this season with big plans to challenge Red Bull for the championship, only to be swept aside by their dominant rivals with the SF-23 not delivering the performance needed by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Sainz did emerge victorious in the Singapore Grand Prix, becoming first and so far only non-Red Bull driver to win this year, but that's still far off what the team had been hoping for in 2023.

Now attention is turning to next year's entry, and Leclerc says it should be a very different beast from this year's car

He explained that improvements stemming from recent upgrade packages which led to Sainz winning back-to-back poles at Monza and Singapore have helped inform the decisions they need to make.

“We learnt plenty during Monza especially about our weaknesses,” Leclerc noted. “After Monza we understood more things which are good for this year.

“We understood good things in the last few races. Whether this is all or not is difficult to say until we’ve actually achieved our development programme and confirmed it was that.

"I’m not confident this is everything we had to find to close the gap to Red Bull, but it’s a step in the right direction for sure," he noted. "Mostly for designing next year’s car, which is positive.

"It’s super important. It was really good to understand that before the end of the season, as we still have quite a few races so we can maybe push a bit more in that direction.

“There were things we tested in Monza to make sure that it was really the case, and it was. We learnt a lot in Zandvoort and Monza and that is good for this year, even though I don’t think it will turn our season around.

Race winner Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23 in parc ferme. 17.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

“It’s a good step forwards and for next year this is a really good step forwards. It will be easy to say that we’ve understood everything now," he added.

“The more we learn, the better it is for doing the last few details for next year’s car," he said. “The 2024 project is very different to the car we have this year.

"With everything we’ve learnt so far, it reaffirms that it’s a good choice what we’ve gone for next year."

Ferrari is currently third in the constructors championship, behind Mercedes, which is another team set to deliver a much-changed car next season after the failure of its 'zero sidepod' design introduced at the start of 2022.

Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Ferrari Team Principal on the grid. 24.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Mercedes originally tried to tough it out and stick with the approach, but finally dumped it at the Monaco GP and is now being urged to find a completely new design concept for next season by lead driver Lewis Hamilton.

The risk is that it could put the teams back to square one, once again behind their rivals and with a lot of ground to make up. But Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said his team would avoid that fate.

“I think we have to stay calm [and] not draw conclusions that everything is going badly, and that we have to change everything, and it’s not that after two weekends that we are world champion.

“We have to stay calm. We need to keep the same approach, to try and develop step by step, but there is nothing magic in this business and you won’t find a [magic] bullet to find four or five tenths

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari. 23.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"If you want to do a step you have to do tonnes of small steps and it is what I think I have appreciated into the direction of the team after a tough weekend.

"I think it was probably in Zandvoort that we unlocked something on the understanding of the set-up and we build up the pace at Monza," he continued.

"Mainly it is a step forwards in terms of confidence for everybody and this is the best way to prepare the future," he added. “For sure this will help for the future: a better understanding of the car, a better understanding of the set-up of the car."

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