Leclerc: Ferrari will focus on race pace in 2024 after missing another win from pole in F1 Mexico GP

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Charles Leclerc finished third at the 2023 Mexico City GP after starting from pole position, and whilst he was “surprised” he could still carry on despite the damage from the opening lap collision with Sergio Perez, he insisted Ferrari has to work on finding race pace for the 2024 season, after failing to convert another pole position into a race win.

Photo Credits: Scuderia Ferrari

The Monegasque scored his 22nd career pole on Saturday, but for a second consecutive weekend failed to convert it to a race win – something which he affirmed was his “focus after qualifying – due to damage in his Ferrari following contact with Sergio Perez at the first corner and a general lack of race pace from the SF-23.

Speaking after the race, Leclerc admitted some disappointment in the fact that once again he was unable to convert a good qualifying performance into a race win on Sunday, indicating Ferrari’s focus for their 2024 challenger will be on improving its race pace:

“Very pleased is not the word, because I mean, yesterday was again, a really good day, a really good Saturday. Really good pace in qualifying, but then we don’t quite have the car to win races on Sunday,” he said. “So, that’s where we are going to try and put all our effort into for next year, in order to be better for the Sunday.”

The 26-year-old explained he lost “10 or 15 points” of downforce due to the damage in his front wing, which could only be changed at the red flag for Kevin Magnussen’s stricken Haas, but his car “didn’t feel too bad” with the broken wing:

“Oh, well, I mean, we broke part of the front wing into Turn 1 and then on the radio, they told me that we were lacking, I think, 10 or 15 points. But to be honest, I managed to drive around it and it didn’t feel too bad. So that was positive.

“Of course, it’s never ideal to lose so many downforce points into Turn 1, but it’s like this, and then we managed to do a good race from that moment onwards. But of course, it compromised a little bit our race.”

Whilst he believes the damage did compromise the early part of his race, Leclerc pointed to a “peaky” car which made it difficult to get the hard tyres back up to temperature after the second standing start as the pivotal point in his race:

“I think it still confirms the weaknesses of our car, where it’s a very peaky car. And whenever we get out of the optimal window of the car, we are losing too much time. And that’s exactly what happened on the Hard.

“At first, I thought I could do quite a good job once we stopped. But then there was a red flag, the tyres cooled down, we went back out and the feeling was just not the same and I couldn’t find the feeling again with the tyres.

“So it’s a bit of a shame because before that it was really good, especially on the Medium. But we’ll look into it, again, on the Hard to try and understand what went wrong there, in order to improve that in the future.

“But I think short term, there’s no big fixes. I think every time we are, as I said, a bit out of the optimal window, we lose too much time.”