Leclerc hoping to score points if degradation is good; Vasseur confirms car issue for his driver

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The painful start to 2023 continues for Charles Leclerc as a problem with his SF-23 destroyed any hopes of a good qualifying result in Barcelona.

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

It will be a P19 start for the Monegasque driver tomorrow if his car isn’t taken out of parc fermé before then.

Speaking after qualifying, Leclerc explained what was going on to explain such a nightmare Saturday.

“I don’t have the answers now. I think we’ll have to check the data. But most of all, check the car because there was definitely something strange.

“I nearly lost it during the red flag and I was at 70kph and there was just no warning.

“The left-hand corners were really, really bad with the rear right I first thought that it was the tyres, so we went for a new set of tyres. On the new set of tires, it was exactly the same feeling. Right-hand corners really good, left-hand corners completely off.

“We’ll have to check. But I would be very, very surprised if we don’t find something on the car.

“I am quite confident that there’s something not the way it should be.”

Such was the difficulties he was facing with the unbalanced car, Leclerc admitted that he wasn’t shocked when he was told what position he was in.

“I was not even that surprised when they told me I was out of Q1. I was very surprised with the feeling, which is why I said ‘unbelievable’.

“But when they told me I was out of Q1 with the car I had today, I was not that surprised.

Asked if he believed it was a problem on the mechanical or aero side, the 25-year-old said it was mechanical.

“I think mechanical because it wasn’t linear. And the aero package is the new one since yesterday and it worked really well. So I don’t think it is aero-wise.”

Starting at the back around a track that is difficult to overtake on means the chances of even reaching the top 10 looks set to be extremely difficult.

Nevertheless, Leclerc has a little bit of hope that tyre deg can play a factor to help him tomorrow.

“It’s going to be an uphill weekend, to be honest. But on the other hand, it’s a track where I think we’ll see quite a few stops.

“Degradation is going to be a big thing tomorrow, so if we do a good job on that, we’ve got our chances.”

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur backed up his driver after qualifying, confirming that the data showed something is not right with the Monegasque’s car.

“Looking at the data, it’s clear that there was something wrong with Charles [Leclerc’s] car.

“I will always trust Charles. If he says the car has a problem, he’s right,” he concluded.